Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Put in perspective...

As you may have heard through my many blog and FB postings and various tweets, my daughter is leaving for college. I have wailed, I have gnashed my teeth, I have done the ugly cry…and yet the day of her departure moves inexorably closer. In about 36 hours we’re going to be loaded up and headed to T-town. Where she will become part of the University of Alabama student body. Which has a headcount of roughly 35,000 students. Tuscaloosa itself has a population of approx. 100,000.

Our hometown has a population of approx. 21,000 and the kiddo’s graduating class was 280. She has accomplished a whole bunch in her short life…graduated 5th in her class…varsity cheerleader…various clubs and honors societies etc., etc. She’s been a pretty good-sized fish in a pretty moderate-sized pond.

And then there’s her family. She was the first grandchild on both sides. She was her Papaw Gary’s ONLY grandchild. She is mine and Jeff’s only child. We live in a 2800 sq ft 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bath home…and she occupies 3 of the bedrooms and a bath by herself (I’m guessing 1250 sq ft).

Sidebar: Here’s how this happened…so she has a bedroom and a bathroom, right? Well, we turned one of the spare bedrooms into her “TV room” so that she could have a place where she could have her friends over and not commandeer the whole living room, but that wasn’t her bedroom. Also…she would go into this room to do her hair and makeup because for some reason, the lighting our bathrooms (there are rows of big, huge bulbs that are back-lit with brass, because it was decorated in the early 90s and I can’t bring myself to undertake a remodel, so here we are) causes the room after a shower to be just shy of the temperature of the hammered down hinges of Hell. So I couldn’t really fault her there. All of her shoes live in the TV room. It is utter chaos. I can’t even look in there without a complete meltdown. I quit letting her invite her friends up there because I just didn’t feel like our liability insurance could cover it. It really isn’t safe to enter without a tether. Then…when she reached the age of 12 and essentially stopped getting any taller, her wardrobe grew…and grew…and grew. She ended up buying a rolling clothes rack, which she moved into the other guest room. I know, I KNOW. Starving orphans in China would love just ONE room to leave in a state of complete disor
der. I’m not justifying…I’m just explaining how she has spread out across so much of the house.

In Douglas Adam’s book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, there’s a thing called the Total Perspective Vortex. It’s a torture mechanism that no one can survive because it shows you your relative importance in the universe. An infinitesimal dot on an infinitesimal dot with a sign that says “You are here” or something. (Invented by a man who’s wife was always telling him to get a sense of perspective.)

I think you are probably getting the drift of my concern.
I'm afraid that we've raised this kiddo to believe that she's the center of the universe.  And really, nothing she's experienced in her life has given her any evidence to the contrary.
Is she going to be alright when she steps into a lecture hall that has the same number of students as she had in her whole senior class?
Of course, in TRatEotU, our hero was not annihalated in the Total Perspective Vortex because it turned out he was actually in an alternate universe built to keep him safe...so he WAS, in that universe, the most important thing EVER.
Would not surprise me if this doesn't turn out the same.
(I am her mother.)


  1. Okay...a Douglas Adams reference is always good.

    Your daughter will be fine. My youngest son is academically advanced, he always has been...he's smart, funny and extremely quick witted..he's also got a little too much arrogance...He's experienced a few failures recently that broke my heart...BUT..they did give him perspective and it didn't kill him. :)

  2. I have three teen-aged daughters. That picture of the room looks pretty standard to me.

    1. It makes me a crazy person. I'm all "Those boots cost $200! WTH?"