It’s been a wild and wacky summer. There’s a nip in the air, a shifting of the sun and back to school ads on the airwaves. I still feel a queasiness at these signs of a back to school feel, even though it’s been a very long time since my own enrollment days. For years I have written about the trials and tribulations of balancing the care and nurturing of 3 daughters, a rotating stable of multiple dogs and cats and running my own pet and service dog training business. Not to mention taking an idea and turning it into Har-Vest, a patented product I’m almost as proud of as those aforementioned 3 daughters.
But now there are transitions afoot in that same nipping air.
My oldest leaves in less than a week for college as an entering freshman at The University of Rochester with an eye towards majoring in American Sign Language. Zena earned her way there (where the average GPA of the entering freshman class is a reported 3.87) through hard work, self discipline, great academic performance, kind deeds and a unique spirit nurtured in great part by the eclectic environment of our local public schools. She earned substantial merit scholarships and I am awed by the ease in which she has matured into such a capable and decent young woman. Especially since I still remember readying her for her first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday.
My middle daughter, Callie, an entering high school freshman, was, until less than a month ago, slated to attend the same public high school as her older sister. But then something magical happened. She was invited to apply to Idyllwild Arts Academy in their creative writing program as a h.s. boarding student. She was offered a significant scholarship to attend, and the director of the creative writing program personally assured me her writing gifts were very real. This kid recognized in herself a passion for reading and writing triggered by a 3rd grade writing task – a 2 page assignment morphed into a 10 page opus. With the support and guidance of her aunt, my sister, and much internal emotional wrestling, her dream to immerse herself in that world is coming true. In a few short weeks she and I head out to the pristine beauty of the aptly named Idyllwild so I can deposit her in her own personal Hogwarts. And while her scholarship is substantial, there are still significant costs involved to which end we have created a website to appeal to those who recognize the “it takes a village adage”. People can choose to support her dream with kind words and if feasible, monetary donations. But somehow, some way, we will carve out a way to pay for the opportunity so that for at least one year Callie can get the guidance and support she needs to follow her own unique dream.
So in less than a month I’ll return from a sojourn to Los Angeles and Idyllwild and have but one daughter, 12 year old Sophie. She is drooling at the prospect of being an only child. She’s taking room measurements, color swatches and decorating ideas from a variety of sources and I can only imagine what she envisions. I’ve already told her all modifications have to wait until I return!
There are still the dogs and cats and the same chaos of running a company. I anticipate downsizing from 3 kids to 1 will create a greater time allowance for the business of dog training — educating new trainers, completing multiple writing and video projects in various phases of development, promoting and expanding the sales of Har-Vest and continue the goal of teaching people how to teach dogs one positive step at a time.