Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy times, part 1

So much has happened! We have two exciting announcements: my older stepdaughter was accepted to her first choice college, the University of St. Thomas, and I’m pregnant! Both of these happy events came to light last week and will take place next summer. Hopefully I will be available for her high school graduation!

Let’s talk first about this adventure called “I have a child in college.” Wow, I did not anticipate this so early in my marriage! Nonetheless, my husband and I are determined to give her a leg up on life. You may remember that a year ago, we were worried that things wouldn’t fall into place for her, or worse that she would decide not to go to college. I’m so glad that she’s decided this is the right thing to do, and has put her energy behind it. In fact, going after a good college is just a side effect of a great change in her: she is now taking action in anticipation of life, rather than observing or waiting to see what happens. I am getting to know a whole new person, a proactive girl who has taken hold of her own life. Good job!

This makes me think more about a concept brought up frequently by a professor who happens to teach at the same University of St. Thomas, Dr. Deborah Savage. She explains that as part of the natural complementarity of male and female, the female is, by nature, actively receptive.

Actively receptive. Hmm. That’s a tough concept, and until I watched my stepdaughter go through these past couple years, my understanding of “actively receptive” was limited to acknowledging that there is a choice the woman should make. I guessed making a choice is active.

Now though, I understand that the action of receptivity is much greater. There is preparation, for example, and that means grooming my soul and my intellect daily so that when the deciding times arrive, I’m able and ready to receive God’s challenges and my husband’s protection.

There is also a responsibility on the part of a woman to actively seek out knowledge, challenges, and things that stretch my physical and intellectual abilities. In my case, nothing but that vigorous expansion of my body and mind will prepare me to meet the increasing hurdles of work, pregnancy, motherhood etc. In my stepdaughter’s case, the next challenges will be physical and sexual discipline during college, not to mention intellectual difficulty of a higher education.

And, there is the discipline and subtlety involved in the moments right after a choice is made. How much do I throw myself into new pursuits and opportunities that I receive? Should I put most of my resources behind my stepdaughter’s college education, for example; how much should we reserve for other needs?

But I digress. I’m so happy for my stepdaughter and my nurturing instincts are in high gear as I watch her prepare for this new phase of life. My dreamer’s imagination is in high gear too, dreaming up perfect classwork and friendships and crushes and vacation travels for her. I can’t wait to see her gain an advantage in life!

-Michelle Gracia