The First Day of School has a long history of sentimentality in the Quinn family, perhaps because we are people who value the meaning of education, or PERHAPS because I was the first born and also the most reluctant human IN THE WORLD to ever want to go to school or do anything new, etc. This has not changed. Since birth (I was breached– “hell no, I am not coming out”, and my mom had a C-section to extract me.), I have always had a great trepidation about the unknown, change, new situations. My first day of kindergarten was no exception. I wailed before allowing my mother to manhandle me onto the bus, even though I loved to read and draw and learn, but can’t I just do this at home with you, plz?
Typically, before making various decisions or life-steps, I spend between one week and two years worrying about each potential outcome or aspect. For all my fervor and unabashed enthusiasm for most things, boy am I nervous!
Perhaps to combat these obvious problems, my mom started making the first day of school into an event for us, taking first day of school pictures in front of our home>>
and making first day of school cakes, wondrous treats that ranged in shape from a big yellow bus to a schoolhouse, ones which usually involved icing renderings of we three Quinn children waving happily, expressing, in confection, our love for school. (Wishful thinking, but delicious nonetheless.)
These traditions carried on throughout grade school, middle school, high school….in college, I even hired other people, ranging from Ryan Johnson to Roy, to photograph me in my first day of school outfits to send home to Momcat.
Well, today is my first day of graduate school– here you go, Momcat.
I have been nervous about this day for about 1.5 years. In fact, I was SO nervous that, upon being accepted to Pratt, I deferred my position for a year and ran off to New Zealand with my bearded companion where I worked at a totally rad art gallery and started this cat blog in a fit of desperation one middle-of-the-night when I couldn’t fall asleep and Jake’s plaintive moans and murmurs kept making me feel guilty for having the light on so I couldn’t read.
Approximately five months ago, I was at our local coffee shop with Suzanne and Karen Rosell when I decided, somewhat reluctantly, “why not”? And later that day, Jake said, “sounds good”. And I filed the appropriate paperwork to enroll in MFA classes, thinking in the back of my mind that, if I hated it, I could always duck out early.
A few months later, I started looking for apartments, shaking out the “okay looking” ones from the “this is totally depressing” ones and, one fateful day, Mike Shea had the time to see the 1BR from which I currently write, in my fashionable sweatsuit and it’s-still-technically-morning-fluffhead-hairdo.
Each day from this year that I put up as a buffer passed quickly, bringing me closer to this very morning, and I grew increasingly anxious. There were days I was convinced that I was making the wrong decision (mostly the days I spent filling out the totally intimidating financial paperwork), but people like the Tutens and Monika would say “hey, it’s okay, this is the right way, you’re doing it, this will be good for you, you’re great” and I would go home feeling a little less frenzied. (Thank you.)
Pieces have fallen into place and I am here, finally, after so much deliberation and late night sobbing and midday wanting-to-throw-up and avoiding the subject and dwelling on the subject and not-wanting-to-talk-about-it and I am… calm. I am not fighting to get off the bus. I am not nervous and I just finished a healthful breakfast. (When I am truly nervous, I stop eating– in fact, after we moved from Huntingdon, Erin called me to make sure I wasn’t on a self-induced hunger-strike. I wasn’t.)
I am sitting here, writing to you, listening to L&O (which is so much more real when you are living in the very sinful city in which it is set), and soon I will take a shower and hop on my cheerful red bicycle and set forth to become one of my generation’s artistic elite (or so the president of Pratt tells me).
It’s nice to know that there are PRATT CATS waiting for me!! (I bet you were wondering when the cats would come in.)
Here we go!
(Dear Mom and Dad: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your prevailing support and understanding of my sad squishy self.)