Sunday, April 06, 2008

Doors: Closing, Opening, and Somewhere In-Between

A letter came for Kat from the University of Washington Office of Admissions. It was most decidedly a letter and not a big purple envelope. The mail was brought into the house while Kat was at work, so we all saw it and pondered -- not really what it was, but more how she'd take the news.

Kat is a wonderful combination of strength, balance, compassion, optimism and grace. She plans instead of frets and she thinks before she acts. She can be serene and goofy within the same five minutes, and while she tends to be more private than the other three kids, she is anything but a stranger to anyone who's ever met her. But of all her endearing qualities, I'd have to say that Kat's positive and optimistic approach to life describe her best.

As she came home and greeted the family, she was upbeat and energetic. Aleks looked at me and said quietly, "Um, are you gonna...?" And then, before I could answer, he handed Kat the letter. As I watched Aleks' face, I saw more compassion and sympathy than is characteristic of him (he's our most cynical and sarcastic kid) and he truly looked pained. Kat didn't miss a beat as she took the letter, maintained her smile and announced, "Well, I don't think it's much of a surprise what this is..."

I asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else to open it, instead of having the whole family peer over her shoulder. "Nah," she said nonchalantly, "This is fine." She read the letter silently and announced with a smile (which still seemed completely genuine), "Well, I didn't get in."

"Joe was wait-listed," Aleks announced. "Are you sure you're not on the waiting list?" Kat scanned the letter again and then announced calmly, "Oh yeah. I guess I am wait-listed."

So that's where things are. Kat might or might not go to the University of Washington next year.
Today she announced some other things she might or might not do next year:

  1. She might take part in a program in Africa that introduces wild animals back into the wild after they've been captured.
  2. She might work as an NAC nurse (through a high school program, she'll be certified next month) at an orphanage in Thailand.
  3. She might apply to University of Queenland's (Australia!) world famous program in conservation ecology.
  4. She might live with Elisabeth in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood and work at Woodland Park, Seattle's wonderful zoo which is a half a mile from Elisabeth's house.
  5. And she might go to UW -- if she is taken off the dang waiting list and admitted -- and if she darn well feels like it!
Of course she'll eventually go to college and graduate; I'm not at all worried about that! I'm not worried about Kat at all! Whatever she chooses to do next year, she'll do it with passion and commitment and flair. And it will likely be the education of her life -- on a university campus or not.

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Anonymous said...

Wow, the alternate plans sound fantastic and show how amazing your daughter is. Sounds like she'll do fine next year whether it's at college or on an adventure that will benefit the world!

G in Berlin said...

Wow. What a wonderful lot of opportunities. I have always regretted my straight through work school work school life and I will make my kids take a gap year, so I definitely say that whatever goes on, Kat should take one ofthose wonderful opportunities and run with it. College can wait a year and will be better for it.

Maria said...

I think the alternatives sound a million times more exciting than UW! call me crazy... Anyway, from what you have written about her in this post and others, I am sure she will land on her feet and be successful in all she does. After all, when things get shady, she has a wonderful support system-- you all!

anno said...

What an amazing attitude... and a wonderful list of alternatives! I can only echo what everyone else has said -- whatever she ends up doing next year will be fabulous.

Princess Cat's Pajamas said...


Any one of those plans sounds absolutely amazing. Whatever she ends up doing, I'm sure she won't regret it!

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