… in more ways than one today. I’m in my downstairs den, which is livable once more, after having been offline for a month after the deluge. I’m thankful for that. Mrs. M is upstairs, having her coffee before she gets rolling on the dinner — when we woke up a little while ago, we mentioned we were grateful for one another. The Spawn is sleeping in, as befits a college student home on break.
Getting home from break will be much easier for her in the coming semesters. While Flagship offers numerous good things, and while the Spawn has been doing well academically, she hasn’t been happy there. It’s no one’s fault — just a bad fit. Consequently, she’s decided to transfer home to Mondoville, and received her acceptance letter and admission packet on Tuesday (hand-delivered by our admission rep down the street — thanks, Barbara!). This is a blessing in several regards: She’ll be able to finish her B.A. without taking on debt (and assuming she can earn assistantships, may well be able to avoid it in grad school as well); she’ll be dealing with faculty members who are passionate about teaching and who will be excited to have a sharp, motivated kid in class; and as it turns out, she really wanted to go to Mondoville all along.
Because the Spawn’s smart and performed well in high school, she said she felt like she was “supposed to go to one of the big schools, because that’s what smart kids from here do.” I get that — that’s why I started out my undergrad with a triple major in math, physics, and computer science, even though I wasn’t passionate about any of them. But what she wanted was the small college experience, and for her, Mondoville unsurprisingly feels like home. She’s walked the campus for years, had lunch with my circle of friends on a regular basis, and when she was little, attended enough faculty meetings to qualify for tenure. She has ridden with the cheerleaders in the Homecoming parade and grown up within sound of our marching band and stadium P.A.. She’s darned near the epitome of our fight song, which begins, “I’m Newberry born and Newberry bred/ And when I die, I’ll be Newberry dead.”
So she’s coming home, as families so often do this time of year, and we’re grateful both to have her returning and that I have a job that makes this a viable option.
And speaking of that job, I’m in the first wave of Gradeapalooza this weekend, with wave two roaring in next week. And I’m grateful for that opportunity, and for a job I love. I was at a committee meeting a week or two back, and somehow the subject of retirement came up. I said something along the lines of “Well, I just turned fifty, so I’ve got another twenty years to go, health permitting.” A colleague raised her eyebrows, and asked if I really wanted to be doing what I do when I’m pushing seventy. Why wouldn’t I? I talk about writers, work, and ideas that matter, and sometimes I get to see kids catch on to that. I give people tools and ideas that they’re going to use for the rest of their lives (even when they don’t think so at the time). I get to be remembered, and I get the satisfaction of believing I’m being remembered for something I do well.
What’s not to like? What’s not to inspire gratitude, especially on this day, a day of gratitude? And I get to share it with you, when you swing by this blog. Thanks for that, and I’ll see you soon!