Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The First of Forever

Suzanne - who turned 25 on her most recent birthday (in the spirit of the occasion I gave her a quarter) - has worked at a myriad of jobs for the better part of the past decade. They have all shared one common thread: they have been jobs. Nothing more, nothing less. She has been a bit busy during that same time period completing first high school then college and most recently her Master's Program.

Today, all of that changes. Suzanne arises this morning to do something seemingly familiar yet completely new. Today truly is the first day of the rest of her life. For today, she is not "going to work". Rather she is going to her first day in her chosen profession as she officially enjoys the family of skilled therapists in a dizzying array of disciplines at Kessler Rehabilitation Institute. While I doubt not for a moment that she will love what she does and that she will be a scorching success at it - for she is her mother's daughter and is simply not programmed to fail - I have no doubt that this morning some first day butterflies are competing for time and attention in her belly alongside her green tea and mini-wheats. As it should be. Nothing worth achieving or having would be so if the thought of not having it did not scare us just a little.

The trick is of course keeping the butterflies under wraps enough to enable you to perform the tasks at hand. And if you're scared of the future tonight, we'll take it each hour one at a time. I am already looking forward to the end of my day today. I have no doubt that at the end of her first day, Suz will come home with what sounds like a month's worth of things that she loved about her first day to share with Margaret and me. While there are any number of things in this world about which Suzanne cares not at all (and if you do not believe me ask her yourself but be prepared to be a while) she has unrivaled enthusiasm for those things, those pursuits that she loves. And she loves doing what it is today she will do for the first time as a full-time professional person: helping individuals entrusted to her care.

When your kids are young you listen to them tell you as a parent any number of things that they want to do "when they grow up". Some are fanciful. Some are impractical. Some simply fall by the wayside as they do in fact grow and their interests change. All you really hope for - if you have done your job adequately - is that you have done all you can do for them to put them in a position where once they figure out what it is they truly want to make their life's pursuit they can go ahead and pursue it. And once that make that decision, all you want for them is to be happy. Life is a tough enough game without the added encumbrance of arising every morning to go off to earn your living doing something you hate. Or worse, something for which you have no passion at all.

Today, Suzanne does more than simply dip her toe into the water. Today, she cannonballs off of the high board. I am sure that for a moment or two she will struggle to get her bearings and make her way to the surface. Once she does she will realize that there is not a single spot in this pool where she cannot simultaneously touch the bottom with her feet while keeping her head squarely above the water safe and dry.

Jump on in kiddo. The water's fine.


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