The past three weeks have been something, something special. The day after Thanksgiving my parents left for Hawaii – they went on vacation to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, and I stayed home. What with midterms, university, extracurriculars, and well, life, there was no way I could join them. As much as I love my parents I’m happy that I had that time to myself. I’m also grateful that they left me the car to use at my leisure.
Being on your own teaches you more about who you are than a lifetime of schooling ever could. I do not say that lightly, academics are a large part of my life but they’re not everything.
Nothing is everything.
My parents just came home this past evening. However, that wasn’t the first “homecoming” that occurred since they left. Two weeks ago I drove to Montreal and back. Until two weeks ago I’d never driven past Richmond but I rose to the challenge and transported myself, along with two of my sorority sisters to attend an anniversary celebration for the McGill chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi.
I wasn’t sure that I was capable of doing it. Sure, I’d driven before – up streets, down streets, up and down side streets, but still something in my head told me I couldn’t handle it. But I did. I even parallel parked on a Montreal hill in traffic – those of you familiar with the city know how difficult and terrifying that feat can be for any driver. Granted I was a little far from the curb – I still did it though.
I don’t regret it. At all. Not the early 5:00am wake up, the two hour drive there, or even the two hour drive back when my sisters were asleep, and all I wanted to do was join them. We made it home in one piece.
I came home confident. Happier. Facing a dragon must fill a knight with adrenaline but until the beast is vanquished I can only imagine that fear must also tinge that high. Well, I definitely conquered my dragon – highways don’t scare me.
That evening, starry eyed over my successful journey ‘across the border’ I offered one of my sisters a ride home from chapter that night. As I dropped her off we both noticed a strange light on the dashboard of the car – the low tire pressure indicator had flicked on and was staring me mockingly in the face. I panicked, just a little, but I panicked all the same. The idea that my freedom could be so easily curbed was a tough pill to swallow. Thankfully, in the morning I was able to take the car into the dealership and everything was taken care of, the recent cold snap had done in the tire pressure.
When I related the story to a dear friend she remarked, “You’re so grown up.” Usually, I would brush off a comment like that with a laugh or a pithy remark – instead I just thanked her because she wasn’t wrong. Somehow, between the essays, formal committee meetings and sorority events I had grown, and I am still growing. I am becoming myself – I am coming home to myself, becoming the person I am supposed to be, and the person I am making myself into.
The Tuesday after that Sunday I found myself with a larger family tree – sorority family tree that is – I am now the proud Big Sister (a.k.a. Big) of two New Members (a.k.a. my Twiddles or Twin Littles) from Carleton’s AOII chapter. I have TWINS!
When I found out I was so ecstatic, I don’t think I screeched so much as squealed with delight! My relationship with my Big last year did not work out, full stop. But I swore to myself that if I was ever lucky enough to be blessed with Littles that I would help them have the best possible experience with AOII, and life at large.
I came home the night of Big/Little Reveal, actually the next morning since when I was on the road the clock clicked to midnight, a Big. I came home a sister with more responsibilities, people to take care of, and expectations to uphold. I came home happy and feeling loved.