The summer went by in a flurry of activity. Getting a college freshman ready to go to school clear across the contiguous United States wasn’t easy and we were doing it without DH around to help. That wasn’t unusual but, at times like this, I would get mad at him because he’d left. Not angry. Mad. Spitting, screaming mad. It wasn’t pretty and I’d mostly vent when I was in the car alone. Oh, I had a temper and I still do to a point but not as much now since eating raw food evens out so many things, that included. There were some times when I’d get frustrated and take it out on poor DD. I do hope she’s forgiven me for those outbursts. Before she came along, I’d direct it toward DS1 & 2. They must’ve forgiven me because they still associate with me.
There was luggage to buy, clothes to get together, a reservation to make. Fortunately, as the counselor had predicted, she ended up the school year with a credit balance. That was mostly because of her hard work during the summers for four years. I did find out that there were people who had helped on her bill, too. I had contributed but it was nothing like it would have had to be if she hadn’t worked any job she could find. She had worked making carpet sample books, as a floor monitor in the dorm and finally landed the job she’d wanted from the beginning—making stained glass ornaments. When one of the other girls wanted some time off, she would always say yes, she’d fill in. She cleaned toilets and (wo)manned the desk just off the dorm lobby. Once, she confided in me that she was tired. She’d really rather not work. I asked her why she didn’t say no. She said she didn’t know how. I told her she put her tongue behind her upper front teeth, formed her lips into an “O” and said, “NO!” Her response? “That would be RUDE.” I didn’t think so but she wouldn’t be swayed.
Besides working so hard, she had managed to keep a decent enough GPA to make the recruiters interested in her going to their colleges. Unfortunately, it wasn’t high enough for her to be eligible for many scholarships. One of her classmates was what is known as a “brain”. She was awarded not one but two full four year scholarships. Later, I asked DD which college the girl had chosen and she said neither one. She sat on the couch all day and played video games. What a waste! DD could have used one of them quite handily but nothing was ever handed to her. She had to work for everything she ever got. That was to be to her benefit.
July came and I was determined to be at DS1’s for my granddaughter’s second birthday. I had missed her first one because we were late and DIL’s family had taken them on out to dinner. It wasn’t going to happen again. She was a cute little thing. She loved the camera and it loved her.
Being born on July 3 had its advantages. The fireworks extravaganza at the university was usually the night before the 4th and it was a natural celebration. DD and I loaded up to go with the little family. While DIL and I were waiting on a blanket for DS1 to join us and the fireworks to begin, my granddaughter played with the toys her mother had brought for her. DD had found some of her friends and was off catching up with what they’d been doing since school was out.
It wasn’t long until DS1 got there and we started telling the Birthday Girl about how much fun the fireworks were going to be. At two years of age, the concept was lost on her. She’d never seen fireworks of that scope. Firecrackers and sparklers were nothing compared to what we were going to witness.
When the fireworks start, I lose all track of time. I’m living right in the moment and the clocks could stop completely and I’d never know it. I just knew my granddaughter would love the experience as much as I did. Well, I didn’t know much. Not long after DS1 arrived, the display started. With the first “BOOM!!!” and shower of stars, the little girl jumped and started wailing. With each succeeding one, she cried louder until she could hardly catch her breath. When she saw how much everyone else was enjoying it, she finally calmed down and she and I would throw our hands up and shout, “BOOM!!!” every time a new one would be set off. Her introduction to fireworks was complete.
It was late when the fireworks were over but I didn’t have to go to work the next day. It was a Thursday and I was taking Friday off, too. We were staying for the weekend.
The rest of July marched on and we were into August. It had become a tradition for us to go to North Carolina for my mother’s birthday. She would be 94 that summer. Still living alone, she coveted her independence. Her entertainment was watching Good Morning America and playing the piano. Oh, and perusing the Penney’s catalog to see what she could order. Invariably, my sister would have to package whatever she’d taken a fancy to and send it back.
It was to North Carolina and another birthday. It would be the last time for DD as a pre-college student.