Last Friday Jennie/Bente suggested that the Working Stiffs’ theme for the month of August be “new beginnings.” So in keeping with our theme, today I’m attending my daughter’s White Coat Ceremony. She’s beginning her first year of medical school and is receiving her first “white coat.” This is most certainly a new beginning for her that is also turning out to be a new beginning of sorts for me. A beginning for me, of what, I’m not quite sure.
For anyone who knows me, you already know this, so I apologize for sounding like a broken record. By the way, does anyone still use that expression or am I dating myself?
My daughter graduated from college this spring. While in college she stayed in the dorms; however, she was actually only a little under an hour’s drive away from home and we were able to frequently visit. In hindsight, it was a nice transition for us both. Okay, okay, maybe I needed the transitional period more than she. Since my daughter was a little over a year old, our immediate family has consisted of just her and me. So I’ve definitely had to do some adjusting to my empty nest.
In July I helped her move to medical school -- a MapQuest estimated nine hour drive south from our home in northeast Ohio. Considering the amount of coffee I drink and my frequent desire to eat, I have to face it; I’ll never make that drive in nine hours. Ten hours at a very minimum is more than likely my reality. College was an adjustment and now the geographical distance between us while she attends medical school is an even bigger adjustment for me.
I’ve become very reflective since her college graduation and recall that when I was also twenty-two years old and also a new college graduate that summer many years ago I, too, drove south for my “new beginning” (my drive was a bit further though as it took about fifteen hours). I was attending law enforcement training as I had just been hired as a criminal investigator. So there I was at the age of twenty-two adjusting to the same heat and humidity of the south during the month of August that today my daughter is also adjusting to (during the hottest summer on record, unfortunately for her).
When I began my career in the early eighties (I retired in early 2009), females were in the distinct minority in my profession. Several instances stand out in my mind to this day; but I’ll just tell you about one of them. On the range I was singled out by the range instructor over the bullhorn to “quit standing like a model!” Mind you, I didn’t have any idea how a model might stand nor was I standing any differently than any of the males as we all stood waiting for the instructor to give the next command to “Fire!”
With my easy to freckle and redden face, now beet red, I observed that day on the range that none of the guys were singled out and similarly told to not stand “like a model.” Anyhow, you get the picture-- it wasn’t always a bed of roses being a new young female investigator in the early eighties, even if my face was often a similar shade of red.
All of this brings me back to my daughter, whose medical school class has more females than males for the first time in its history. Here’s what I have to say about that.
“You Go, Girl!” I’m very proud of you, honey.