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Rosie’s back!

Yes, school’s out for summer and I just made the trek down to Santa Cruz in my sister’s SUV to load up Rosie’s bicycle and assorted necessary junk. We made the journey up 101 with her red cruiser standing at attention like a figurehead on top of the car, driving through rain showers. Now I once again get to drift off to sleep with the sound of excited teenage voices babbling in the room below.

In the intervening months I’ve taken over her bedroom (the largest in the house, meant originally to be the master bedroom) and converted it into a home office. A work still in progress, and the subject of a future blog post. What a luxury to actually have an office! So now her new smaller bedroom is cluttered knee-deep in clothing, boxes, plastic storage containers, makeup and books. The overflow spills out into the hallway and dining room. Yep – nest not so empty anymore.

But I’ll happily tolerate the additional mess, the missing water glasses, the random shoes placed in the middle of the floor, and the dried pasta stuck to the edge of the stove and coffee grounds scattered on the counter – for the pleasure of hearing her soaring tones singing her latest favorite Broadway tune. Now, THAT I missed.

Boston University It Is!

“Don’t open the envelope when it comes,” she told me on the phone last week. “I want that pleasure.”

Luckily the long anticipated big envelope arrived the day before I left, so I packed it in with my stuff and brought it down to Santa Cruz. Got photo opp of the big moment.

The long-awaited fat envelope!

There were two oversized envelopes actually – the other was a hard copy of the financial aid offer. Since the good news came we’ve both been struggling with the reality of the decision. There is a definitely shortfall between grant and full cost of attendance. Here it is: Finally the realization of her dream, the confirmation of her talent, the validation of her ambition. BU is one of the top BFA schools in the country.

But, but but. Do we really want to take on so much debt for her to do this? It’s that “live your dreams” versus “be sensible and practical” conundrum that seems to dog this lifetime for me. I’ve tried to find a balance, my practical side is strong. But those set aside dreams have a way of circling back to haunt you.

Surprisingly, her sister Ciel inherited that practical, serious side of me. She is so right-brain in other ways, I was a bit stunned to hear her concerns about money and debt. “If it was me,” she said. “I definitely wouldn’t do it.”

Hearing that voice of reason, of caution coming from her brought me up short a bit. But then it  just made me even more want to throw all concerns to the winds and just go for the dream.

And there wasn’t much time to dicker around with decision-making. They want a confirmation deposit early this week. Rosie thought of asking if she could defer admission for a year, and then going to France, trying to save money while working and living with a family. That idea sounded slightly appealing because it would basically give us an extra year to decide. She could always choose to do the California college route upon her return, thereby saving SOME money/debt (although we’d still have to fork up some serious cash for UC).

But, it turns out, transfers are not allowed to defer. And, frankly, that was sort of a relief for both of us. She wants this badly. My gut tells me we will both regret turning away the opportunity more than we will regret the debt (oh, how I hope those words don’t come back to haunt me!)

So – it’s confirmed. Rosie is off to Boston come late August! And so much to pull together in the meantime. In fact, so much to pull together in the next two days before I leave for two weeks on my long-planned anniversary trip.

I do truly believe that Rosie can make the most of this opportunity and create a fulfilling career for herself. And she is willing to make the sacrifices to do it. She will work long hours to help pay a share of this. She will pack her days and nights with studying, rehearsing, working. She will succeed.

I have these warring sensations of bubbling excitement for Rosie (and the prospect of vicariously experiencing this adventure with her) and this profound anxiety at the prospect of paying off government loans for who knows how many years.

And, oh how I wish the system wasn’t set up so that only those privileged enough to have money, or access to loans can even take advantage of such opportunities.