Thursday, September 23, 2010

private benjamin???

I very rarely mention my two daughters on this public journal anymore, at least not since they technically became "adults". I feel that its really not my place to determine what portion of their lives should be made available for public consumption. The moment that they decided they were ready to take on the big bad world they became independent from us. Now as long as they were minors living under our roof, following our rules, their proverbial arses were ours and were fair game. Now that they are both in their twenties, I do try to respect their privacy - for the most part! Like everything else in life though, there are exceptions to every rule. This would be one of those times.

Plus, anytime a parent is bursting with pride, they get to tell everyone and anyone who will listen the reasons. After completing high school, Sara decided that she didn't want to go directly to any post-secondary institution. She felt that a break away from studying would be the best course of action for her. Obviously, both Jim and I had very mixed reactions to this announcement, but what could we really do to change her very set and stubborn mind? By far, I was the most supportive of her decision. In fact, I think it would be pretty safe to say that Jim and I were in fact, diametrically opposed to it.

Personally, I could empathize with her desire for a break and a change in routine. I went directly from high school to an unbreakable and continuous period of 7 years university and college combined. During this time, I did manage to complete my Honours Bachelors of Art in History at University as well as my Business Management Diploma with a Marketing Certificate at College. By the time I was through all of this, I was exhausted. I did make one futile attempt to take a break for one semester, but that never did work out.

Between my second and third year at Uni, my best friend and I decided to spend that summer exploring the British Isles. We had an amazing time and as the summer started to fade making ready for the fall, I decided that I wasn't ready to return to Canada so I made arrangements to stay an additional few months. My intention was to leave at the very earliest just before the Christmas holidays. I'd found a bar job in London, and one of my cousins got me a bed-sit. All of my Mom's family lived in London, while all of my Dad's lived in Dublin, Ireland so even though I was a few thousand miles from home, family was never too far if I needed anything.

Just before the fall semester was to start in Canada, I got word that my Dad had a massive coronary and was in very poor health. He was due for open surgery by the end of that September. With this bit of news, all my plans instantly disappeared, but then, they no longer seemed quite as important. I figured the British Isles would end up being around a long time after my Dad had gone, so I decided to return to Canada with the intention of going back overseas once he had left us. Even though he'd been given less than five years to live, they hadn't factored in what a stubborn Mic he could be at times. didn't he go on to live an additional eighteen years once he'd had the open heart surgery?

Anyway, I seem to have gotten off topic...Now Jim dropped out of high school before his sixteenth birthday, and while he didn't immediately regret this decision, by the time he was in his early to mid-twenties, he knew that it certainly hadn't been one of the better decisions he'd made in the past. While he did eventually go back to complete his high school education, he had to do this while working full time and a family at home. This didn't seem to matter to Sara as nothing he said could make her change her mind. So, off she went to join the workforce.

Luckily she had been forced to attend a bilingual public and secondary school so she was fluent in both English and French which gave her a bit of an edge over others. she managed to get a nice enough office job with a starting wage of almost$14 an hour. Unfortunately at the end of May of this year, she fell victim to company layoffs and found herself suddenly without a job. To make matters even worse, her former employer was beyond negligent in issuing her Separation Papers, an absolute crucial document required to receive any amount of Employment Insurance - used to be called plain old Unemployment Insurance. Whatever. She ended up having to wait nearly three full months before she managed to get this paperwork released. While one will not receive any monies until this document arrives and is entered into the recipients file, the lack of the document doesn't prevent someone from at least getting their claim started.

Now in the interim, she still needed money to get by so who do you suppose got this honour? Yup, me and Jim. By the time these three months finally came to their end, her father and I had forked over a grand total of just over $4000 - three months rent at $525/month, her personal hydro payments, telephone bill, groceries, some summer clothing as well as a few slightly more formal articles of clothing appropriate for future job interviews, an air conditioner for her frightfully boiling hot apt, and a boatload of cash for misc crap.

By the end of all this, this education vacation, I mean break, was not looking quite as attractive as it previously had. Of course, the moment we started handing over a substantial amount of money to her on a regular basis, Jim felt that this now gave him the right to start pressuring her to return to school - these kind of favours never seem to be given without some sort of strings being attached. Like Jim said to me "what goes around, comes around..." obviously referring to all of the crap we'd been forced to endure every time we got money from his parents. Ironic, isn't it?

Again though, Sara would not waver. She felt confident that she'd be able to get another decent job and had no intention of returning to school just yet. While I admired her tenacity, and was so very grateful and happy with the decorous way she handled herself through all of this, I've never really been able to understand her aversion to being a student. If I could have gotten paid, I'd still be a student. I truly loved school, loved to learn, loved being intellectually stimulated, couldn't ever get enough. I also know that I was fairly unique and pretty much alone when it came to this, but that never seemed to matter. Discovering computers and the internet just over a decade ago turned into being a near religious experience for me personally. I still think the internet is one big encyclopedia dying to be read. Some of my bookmarks are downright embarrassing and definitely nerdy.

And once again, it would seem that my daughter had made the right decision regarding her future after all. She obviously knows what she likes and doesn't like, and isn't prepared to settle or compromise in achieving these. Good on her. Recently, one of her friends mentioned that there were going to be five civilian internships with the army available. She researched the specifics, and once satisfied that this could be something she'd, enjoy submitted cover letters and her resume. She'd been advised to apply for all five of these positions even though each one was different.

First she had to attend an orientation session to become familiar with what this position would entail and to determine whether or not the applicant wanted to continue with their application. She came home excited beyond belief eager to continue. Her initial interviews went so well, that even before she got home from the first one, there was a call made to her praising her interview. She was advised by the Interviewer that, while she could not officially offer her one of the positions at this time, she could say with absolute confidence that Sara would definitely be receiving an offer of employment for one of the five. she said that of all the people she had interviewed, Sara stood head and shoulders above the rest. She said she couldn't remember an interview with an applicant ever going as well as theirs did.

After I got over the shock that it was indeed my daughter they were talking about, I was over the moon. What Mother wouldn't be proud to hear all of this about their child? She starts her new position on October 22, 2010. She still does not know exactly which of the five will be hers, but she has been told it will be one of two. She will either be an Admin Assistant to one of the senior officers stationed at Wolsey Barracks here in London, Ontario or she will be working in one of the Army's labs as a Technician. She says she is glad that the final choice is not hers as she wouldn't be able to choose between the two as she'd like either one of them equally. Starting pay is just over $30 000/annually and after her three month probation ends, she will receive benefits as well as be eligible for funding should she decide to pursue a post secondary education while employed with them. How's that for a wee bit of irony?

Obviously, I'm now more than pretty confident that she'll be able to navigate and manage her way through life on her own fairly successfully. Looks like her head is screwed on right - certainly better than mine has been during specific periods of my adult life... hangs head in shame for a moment...Can't imagine anyone who has recently graduated from Uni with just a general 3yr or honours 4yr degree getting much more than what she shall receive for a starting salary either - unless graduating from one of the Uni's professional schools but that's an entirely different universe.

So, a toast to my beloved daughter. I hope you know how truly proud and supportive I am of you. I've got faith that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind and heart towards with great ease. Good luck...

peace, love and happiness..

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