It’s done. We are DONE! I almost can’t believe we are here, at this juncture. Finished with all the applications, essays, auditions, travel, school tours, rejections, acceptances, and finally, the choice! It’s now time to get excited, to think about dorm life, roomates, and supplies for moving across the country to Manhattan!
The final leg of the journey was completed by May first. My daughter had to decide between two schools, one in NYC, one in Connecticut. We are lucky to have good friends living in Manhattan so it made the four-day whirlwind trip affordable and fun too. The choice was clear once she visited the school in Manhattan. My daughter has loved New York since she was ten years old and I took her for a visit during the holiday season. It was a crowded time to be there but we saw all the sights, went to the top of the Empire State Building, took a boat to the Statue of Liberty, went shopping on 5th Avenue, walked through snowy Central Park, and we even saw a Broadway show, (A Chorus Line). We visited again last April to look at schools in New York and Boston. Last year we walked endlessly, went shopping, sang Karaoke, and saw Jersey Boys. My daughter told me then that she knew she had to live there.
But this final trip sealed the deal. She wasn’t sure if the school in the Upper East side of Manhattan was going to be the right fit so we had to visit to get the feel of the place. She knew the moment she walked into the building that this was her school, the place she will spend the next four years. The people we spoke with all had a friendly purposeful manner. The buildings were bright and airy, as well as clean and cheerful. The student who took us on a tour was also a theater major, and described what she loved about the school, her professors, and the individual attention she received. She described the “stress down days” during final exams when students can go to the counseling office where they eat cupcakes, relax and play with puppies! All of my daughter’s questions were answered and I could tell she was falling in love with the school. After that, everything seemed to fall into place. She even met someone on the school’s Facebook page who is going to be her roommate. They bonded over their love of Disney princesses and being gluten free.
The contrast when we visited Hartford was extreme. As soon as we left the train station in a taxi to get to the school I could tell this was not the place for my daughter. The town was flat, run down, and when we arrived at the building where the theater arts are held we noticed a used car lot across the street. The theater arts program is held a mile away from campus, and although it was a nice building and the people were friendly it felt wrong to my daughter, who later told me there was no way she could choose this school. She could not see herself living in the town or being at the school.
I have felt such a range of emotions since coming home from the East Coast. I feel proud of the way my daughter is going after her dreams, and proud of myself for supporting her to do so. I feel immensely excited for her to be moving to such a dynamic and fabulous city, and to be living there making connections and doing what she loves to do. I feel a great sense of relief – having mothered, nagged, loved, supported, pressured, and guided my daughter for the past 18 years, I have gotten to the place where I have no choice but to let her go. The relief is in knowing that for now, my job is done, and done well. Her path for the next four years is clear, and will not involve me on a daily basis.