Jun 01, 2012 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Seventeen years ago, my daughter sat with my parents in the Solvay High School auditorium as I walked across stage to receive my diploma. This June, the cycle will come full circle as I watch her walk across the stage to get hers.
I think I can safely say watching your child prepare for graduation is an emotional time for all parents. It is acknowledging that you have guided them to this point in their life and accepting that they are ready to make their own way into the world as young adults. As the parent of a graduating senior, I feel privileged to share my story as well as the pride I feel as she embarks upon the next chapter in her life.
Our journey together has been a lesson in what really matters and what carries on; I not only helped mold her into the person she is, but she made me into the person I am today. And it has been an enlightening journey.
Since the day I learned about Cassie, my daughter has served as my driving force to be the best person I could be and hopefully a worthy role model. Before earning my degree and landing my current position as editor, I worked through college at various positions (postal worker, sheet metal worker, bus driver) occasionally losing focus on my goals, but Cassie served as a reminder. When working the night shift and evenings at the post office, I would see Cassie when I got home in the morning to put her on the school bus, then for a short while in the evening after she returned from school before I headed off to work. While this situation worked before she entered school, it no longer sufficed. I needed to watch her grow and learn so I focused on school and getting my degree then finding a position that allowed more quality time with her.
As I think back about the little things that make an impression, a number of events, school projects and memories fondly come to mind. Like the day she came home with her role model project in which she wrote about her mom and said if she could do anything for me, it would be to buy me a new pair of brown pants. I laughed at the time not realizing it wouldn’t be long until I was turning to her for fashion advice.
When my husband, Brian, first entered our life, 6-year-old Cassie happily welcomed him. One of our first outings was to the New York State Fair where Brian suggested we get her face painted and encouraged her to pick whichever design she wanted. I have a picture of the three of us, Cassie front and center with her pink streaks, glitter face, sparkling wand and ear-to-ear smile. Later, during preparation for our 2007 wedding, Cassie made what could have been a tough transition into a smooth one, glowing that day as my junior bridesmaid.
While assuming her new role as step daughter to Brian, her once close relationship with her father became strained. As a child, she would enjoy weekends with her father, visiting Sylvan Beach and spending time with her cousins. However, as her interests changed as she became a young lady, wanting to exert her independence and spend more time with friends, their relationship deteriorated through no fault of her own. She lost her father at the end of her freshman year and will carry that pain with her for the rest of her life. But, as with everything she does, it will be carried in a manner beyond her years.
I’ve watched her grow into a nurturing individual as she cared for, entertained and gently disciplined four younger and boisterous boy cousins. And now, I watch her motherly tendencies toward her little sister, Cora, who turns 2 in July. This same concern is extended to others she cares about and her ability to act on reason rather than emotion never ceases to amaze me.
Her little sister will be sitting in the crowd June 24 as Cassie crosses the stage. And things really have come full circle as she now takes on the position of being Cora’s role model.
My little rock is moving on. Thank you, Cassie, for everything you taught me.
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