Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alma Mater

Yesterday, it rained and then it snowed. Two inches in October. My girl and I were visiting Barnard College. God, how beautiful the campus looked in the falling snow. We have toured colleges all over the Northeast and this little gem just up the street felt like a corner of heaven right in our backyard. I didn't go on the tour. I waited with my friend, whose daughter was also touring while her mother sipped coffee with me in the Liz Cafe. I didn't want to keep smiling at my daughter with an Isn't this just great? look on my face. I didn't want to trigger any resistance.

I went to that school. I loved it, and being there yesterday, I remembered it all. The sense of purpose and possibility. The freedom to express and explore. The connections with other women. The lovers and playmates with whom I roamed the city. The professors who provoked me to question easy assumptions and the thrill of a world expanding. I loved it all and yesterday, I wanted it for my daughter. But if she goes to that school, she will have to choose it for herself. She has resisted choosing it. She says, Really, Mom? A school just up the street? Not even another neighborhood? She wants to go away to college, which I fully understand. Which is why I laughed at the text she sent me halfway through the tour.

I hate myself for liking this so much. 

I am at peace now. All along I have been feeling there is a college she has not seen that will be perfect for her, and I am failing because I have not managed to bring it to her attention. Well, there are a few colleges she has seen that will be perfect for her. Including Barnard. Now she has seen it and I am at peace with whatever she chooses. I've done my part.


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