Gentle fall breezes brush the loose strands of my hair onto my face. I didn't care if those strands of hair got in my face, I was experiencing most parents' rough time: Watching my 19-year old daughter Madeline go off for college. Despite the fact that I've been through this before, seeing my eldest sons part ways for their future...I felt a nerve gently tug at my heart. Along with the proud feeling to see your own child achieve what they want for their future, it was emotionally hard to let them go on the world ahead of them. Was it because I raised Madeline with the most I could give her? Was it because I would be alone now?
Those questions are critically deep into my life...but, it was dramatically hard for me to watch her go. Only because I intentionally....secretly....gave her the wish she said to me one night, 12 years ago.
As everyone else slept, I caught Madeline up in the middle of the night, watching the night sky from our living room window. I didn't want to punish her for staying up late, as I saw this as a chance to privately talk to her. That's when I saw what she saw: a shooting star. A truly fascinating sight. I could tell now why she decided to stay up late in the first place. Incidentally, the 7-year old didn't know what a shooting star was and it's resembleance. I simply told her, for the sake of her childhood knowledge, that a shooting star was generally phrased as a wish giver. After my explanation, Madeline only gazed at the shooting star again, and said the "life-changing" wish that affected both her and myself.
"I wish, that when I grow up to be like you mom, I'm going to have a great future. Not just the jobs, but I'm going to have a family like ours and have my name be remembered as my children go through the same thing." Those were the exact words she told me that night. I didn't want to break her spirits, but I gave her a light smile and took her back to bed for the night.
From then and on, I noticed that she was potentially becoming an ace student in school, which was a huge change considering that she had trouble with school before. Then after a few years ahead, she volunteered for many things the chance she got it in our community. It was hard to think that someone like her would go through all of this willingly and not seem to complain in any way. Madeline would also mention things about the night with the shooting star with me in secret, as my husband and her brothers didn't know a thing about it. Even at a time, her friends mentioned to me during Madeline's 12th birthday party that she was going for a goal in life, which Madeline spoke about when sharing to her class for an assignment. As Madeline progressed in her way towards senior year in high school, I was beginning to think that she would make to college just like her brothers. No. It was only the peak of her progress...and it was going to drift down slowly.
Halfway in her senior year, Madeline began to be teased a lot, in or out of school, as an internet rumor began to pass on rather quickly. I didn't know about it at first since I, again, did not like the idea of techonology and only sticked to my cell phone. They teased her about her "habit" of being single, and that it was abnormal for her to be without a boyfriend during this time in high school. I'm not going to blame her, but she didn't want to jump to a relationship at the time since she felt like she wasn't ready yet. Despite her reasoning for her "single" status, everyone kept this rumor up against her...including her own friends. Then, my husband was arrested a month later because on New Year's Day, he was caught drunk driving while heading back from a party. It was devastating for Madeline, as the support from her own dad helped her go through her life events and now he was taken into custody for this. It sent her into depression for a long time, and that she wasn't able to focus on her final projects to wrap up high school for her.
In addition to that, two months later I paid the bail money to get him out of prison...only to see that he truly doesn't love me or our family. He cursed me out, saying that it was my fault that I let him go to that party in the first place. I didn't want to see him after I kicked him out of the household, and requested a divorce from him. However, when I bailed him out then, Madeline requested for me to use her college fund to pay the bail. She was dead serious about it, and wanted to sacrifice her own ticket to college to get her dad out. A few weeks later, she found out about the divorce while cleaning out the house, and fell into deeper depression. I couldn't do anything about it, everything just seemed to aim towards Madeline to take her down. Though, that didn't mean I couldn't allow her to fall from her word, her wish that she told me about once we saw that shooting star.
So, since she sacrificed her college fund for the bail money, I decided it was my turn to return the favor without her knowledge of it. Knowing that my job as an office supervisor would help me achieve the money to give back to her, so I took every chance I could get for overtime and receive that extra pay. Unfortunately, I saw that the extra pay money I got wasn't enough, and I still had a lot more to sacrifice for Madeline's future. that's when I did the last and final thing to ensure her future...take most of the money in my bank account savings and into her college fund. I knew it was a risky move, but I had no other choice if she were to keep that wish in mind.
As she went through her graduation ceremony, I could tell from her face that she was afraid for the next few moments. Either way, I only gave her a smile, and I knew that she would make it from what I did to help her. Despite the lack of scholarships she had from her downfall in school from the result of my husband's arrest and the divorce, the money I put back in to her college fund was enough to qualify her into college.
So that's where I stand now, and snapped out of my memories as I heard the trunk of the car slammed shut. Madeline was all set and ready to go for college once her bags were packed inside her car.
"Hey, mom. Wish me luck," Madeline spoke up from the silence, giving a grin that I haven't seen in a long time. I could honestly feel the nostalgia that grin gave me, and felt heartfelt from it.
"Of course, do what you can," I immediately replied to her, and I sounded shaky as I held back the tears in my eyes. Madeline only chuckled a bit, and then went into the driver's seat of her car and ignited the engine. I only waved to her silently, and she waved me back. Like that, she smoothly drove off of the driveway and into the streets ahead. Don't know why, but I am surprised at both her and myself on how far everything's gone. Well...Madeline, your wish is granted....