it's been a long time since i can single out one particular week as an example of what makes me the person i feel i am.
i am a very driven and determined individual, perhaps even to a fault at times. i have goals in college and in life which i've repeatedly and proudly told others are my primal focus in life. i'm talking about my future and those things which i want to attain in my professional life. with focus, i know there's nothing i can't accomplish. i feel as if i have all the tools to reach these things; genetic intelligence, determination, and the personal support of those closest to me. to simplify, i will not let anything derail my plans.
of all those tools, one in particular is pushing me and is at the front of my mind right now.
other than my oldest brother, Brian, the last i'd seen my parents and siblings had been the second week of september when i said goodbye to Angela, Jessica, Keith, Brandon and Kevin at our house in milwaukie, oregon – then shared endless hugs with my baby sister, Monika, and my parents right before they drove away from leaving me at stanford the following day.
my relationship with my dorm mate has been an incredible one. we share many things in common and have gotten along incredibly well. Julie and i have formed this little foursome with our neighbors across the hall which has served as a wonderful foundation as i began my freshman year.
but the obvious lingering absence from my life has been my family. i probably seem to show more affection for my sisters than brothers, but i feel as much love for each of them as any other. i have a special connection with each of them. i feel fortunate to find a common denominator with each. this does not even mention my parents who have been everything for which i could have hoped. through successes and tragedies, my parents have been the rocks to which i can cling. they've allowed me to grow without letting that growth get out of hand.
my mama will always be my biggest supporter. i truly don't know how she juggles a husband, eight kids, service to her country and overseeing a business into which we recently became partners. one day i may ask her that … if i ever think she can find time to respond to that question. actually, i know she would always make time for the inquiry. she's just amazing like that.
my father told me something as he saw me off at stanford on that september 14th morning which took me aback. i had no response to it then, and i'm still not so sure what my response would be if i had to come up with one. when it came our turn to say goodbye to each other that morning, i said some things thanking him for his love, patience, instruction, lessons and everything else which has made me feel confident in my life. in response, he said the following: “thank you, Kassandra, for truly teaching me how to be a father.” i am as speechless today as i was in the two-and-a-half months since he said that.
i can only assume that after having two sons, he had to learn a few things when it came to having a daughter. he learned them in abundance; and it's a good thing since he would have three more of them!
thanksgiving break from school was this past week and the plan always has been for me to drive up from school and spend the week at home. true to plan, i made the trip north for the holiday (refer to previous blog). i knew they would all have their lives and priorities and, in a way, it was really interesting to see that from outside of the immediate situation.
i spent a lot of time with my sisters and youngest brothers. Brandon was busy with search and rescue events (including serving meals to abandoned children), but we had a nice portion of the day on friday where we were able to really catch up. he's a senior this year and pondering college or entry into the county's firefighter training program following graduation. i basically told him two things. the first that it is early and he's got some time to decide, but to apply to those colleges in which he might be interested; no matter what, to keep his options open. the second was to ask his big sister (he's 14 inches taller and nearly 100 pounds heavier!) for any advice at any time, and that she'd be there for him whenever.
Angela is really focusing on writing and tae kwon do; two things which she really enjoys. she's also been a tremendously wonderful surrogate mother to my cat, Nikki. i couldn't have made a better choice. Keith informed me that he decided not to play basketball at school so that he is able to be at his best for when baseball season comes around. he continues to collaborate with Jessica on their shared love for music, and continues to perfect his skills on the guitar.
Kevin, my second-oldest brother lives on his own and was somewhat in and out of the house during the week. he's actually doing quite well with small remodel jobs such as bathrooms and kitchens. it can't be easy with the economy the way it is.
Monika, almost like a daughter to me, is so precious. i had begun teaching her to read about a year and a half ago, and she made it a point to show me the progress she's making under the tutelage of Jessica and Angela, reading the entire Book of Mark from the New Testament to me the day after i got home, and she knew what it said. i'm very impressed with her comprehension.
i've always felt that my sweet sister, Jessica, is the strength of all of us. i know that when there have been times when i've needed to tap into some of that, and she's never failed to be there for me, or her other siblings for that matter. i had a lot of time to talk to Jessi about how things were going. with me gone, she's pretty much running the household when my parents aren't there and she admitted that it's a bit daunting. all i could do is reassure her that everything seemed to be going smoothly and that our parents trust her judgment as much, if not more than they trusted mine. she's also reinvested in writing her own compositions and is a major force in her high school's band, serving her second year as first piano. i'm so proud of her.
my parents are solid. i've mentioned them before here, and i was able to have some long discussions with each of them. it was really a give-and-take, as they opened up about what's going on with the new business, my dad's national guard base, my mom's reserve duties and the family. i opened up to them with the things which are of concern to me. we had one very long and comprehensive conversation which really made me feel good about their confidence in me. i knew of that confidence, but it's always nice to be reminded of it from them.
i would be remiss if i failed to mention seeing my best friends from high school on wednesday night. it all started with Shawna when we met for dinner. we then went to a club to hang out, and were joined by Ted, Lori and a few others. It was like nothing had changed, but that we were older and more mature. forget that we didn't get home until about three in the morning; it was these connections that i had hoped to maintain on this trip. i also had a chance to do some shopping with Shawna on friday. When it comes to shopping with her, let's just say we're very good at that!
while i've missed everyone, i've not been lonely the first months at school. however, this was a trip home i really needed to make. i think in a way it was therapeutic for me. i feel as if i keep proving to myself that i can do all this. there's never been much doubt; this serves more as a confirmation than anything else.
i learned a lot this trip, and i don't know that it could have been any better. it was relaxing, comfortable and exactly what i needed.
and to think, i'll be back there in just a couple of weeks.
ps: for those who read my last blog; dad has my car purring like a kitten!
- i'm Kassandra an oregon girl at heart. recent college graduate. heading off to law school in summer of 2014. my parents are both u.s. army veterans and continue to serve in the military in other capacities. i have four brothers (two older, two younger) and three sisters (all younger). i love each of them for both their individuality and their commitment to the example set by our parents. aside from my family, i have several friends who mean a great deal to me, one as much as my best friend from high school. she's my kindred spirit and i would do anything for her. i would also do anything for Julie, my roommate for three of my four years of college and my best friend; she's amazing and it's wonderful to have shared this experience with her. i'm extremely strong in academics and tend to think of things in analytical terms. i'm open and honest. note: i'm interested in receiving feedback on this blog, but i request that the comments pertain to the actual blog itself, and i do not approve anonymous comments.