I have been thrown back to the days of applying for scholarships, of prepping for my first year (which I was doing 14 years ago. EEP!)
Rachel, my Aunt Pat's oldest daughter, is in her last year of high school and heading to University next year. She's been nominated for some very competitive scholarships, and she wanted some help reviewing her responses for the application. After spending 3 years coordinating one of the GoC's elite post secondary leadership development programs (yep. That's what I did pre-maternity leave), and having graduated from one of the other programs, I am GREAT at crafting an illustrative narrative for these sorts of questions.
But wow! When I look back, I can hardly believe that she's nearly ready to go off to school.
Rachel is the last of the "14 years apart" babies - there are 14 years between my Mom and Aunt Pat, my Aunt Pat and me, and between us. And she is the first baby I had any meaningful contact with, the first one I just LOVED. She was born during a particularly rough time - my Dad and Nonna had just had heart attacks, my Nonno had just died - and she was like a ray of sunshine. She would stop crying when I sang to her, so I spent hours walking with her, singing whatever came into my head. Who says that "Hotel California" can't be a lullabye?!? She was one of the chubbiest babies I have ever seen. You'd never know it now - she's a 5 ft 11 dancer, and she looks like a mannequin. No kidding - she can tell if something will look good on her by if it looks good on a mannequin. That has never/will never happen to me.
She's always loved Dave. She was 3 when we first started dating, and she's loved him since day one. When we had our break, my Aunt Pat could not tell Rachel about it for fear she'd be crushed. She finally found out, but was beyond thrilled when we reconciled and when we got engaged. She was one of my bridesmaids when Dave and I got married.
About 10 years ago, my Aunt and I had taken the girls to a part near my childhood home. The girls played and my Aunt and I were gabbing. Rachel looked at us and said "It's funny. You are family, but you talk like you're good friends."
"That's because we are," I told her. "But wait 5 or so years, Rach, and you and I will talk like this." We reflected on that this spring - we're there. We're friends now, too.
She is an amazing person. She's sweet and generous and lots of fun. Her favourite actor is Alan Rickman (!?!?) and she'd love to spend a semester in England. She wants to be a history teacher and I have no doubt she'll succeed. She's great with Teddy. It's a total trip seeing her holding Teddy, as it wasn't that long ago that I was holding her.
Good luck with the scholarships, Rachel. I cannot wait to watch your triumphant run through University!