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August 14, 2015

Starting a New Chapter College

Joe Charlebois

Our first child is nervous. She is prepared in so many ways, but unprepared in so many others. This weekend marks the departure of our first borne – Julie.

She is heading off to college to begin writing a new chapter in the book that is her life. She aspires to be a great writer. I’m confident that she’ll succeed.

As the older sister of triplet siblings, much has been expected of my daughter. At the age of three-and-a-half, this little girl became a big, big, big sister. When the triplets were born, she was never so ego-centric that she got in the way of our care for her siblings. Instead she stepped in to aid her parents, doing whatever she could to help. As we were dealing with the overwhelming task of caring for three tiny infants, she would be there with us and would grab a diaper, bottle or “binky.” The extra pair of hands made life that much easier for my wife and me.

Somewhat shy, with a quiet confidence, is how I would describe my daughter. She has always worked hard at whatever she has sought out to participate in. Whether it was academics or sports, Julie has fought to become the best she could be. Her work ethic is extraordinary, and her positive attitude makes for a dynamic combination that will take care of her long after she graduates from college and strikes out on her own.

Like her parents, Julie has a habit of adding activity upon activity to her schedule until there is little to no time to catch her breath. This lifestyle works for her mother, strangely it works for me, and it is what keeps her at her best.

Her first big challenge will be learning how to deal with all of the unstructured time that college offers. My daughter will have some consistency in her college life. She will be attending both marching band practices as well as those for the baton twirling corps. I am pretty sure that her “available” time won’t be wasted.

The worst part for Julie will be this week. Anticipation and anxiety go hand-in-hand with her. Before sixth grade she was overly anxious, before ninth grade she was overly anxious, and she is now as well. She can’t see it, but once things have settled down she will be fine. She’ll do well just as she has done in the past.

Her biggest success to date isn’t her academic or baton twirling accolades, but rather it is the inner strength she developed surviving a campaign of vicious bullying late in middle school. Unwarranted and unprovoked physical and verbal attacks as well as cyberbullying created an environment that destroys many people. Through perseverance and strength, she overcame the onslaught and became an even stronger individual. To that point, on her own, she lobbied to become the first baton twirler to twirl at her high school in decades and as a junior she won the talent show at her high school.

Julie has always been able to keep a good balance in her life of God, family, friends and herself. It was several months after the triplets were born when Julie approached my wife and me and asked if it was okay if she didn’t have to help anymore. She wanted to do something for herself for a change.

She hasn’t changed much, always being one to give of herself. It is now time for her to do something for herself.


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