Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Looking back | TheUnion.com

Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Looking back

Though like none other, this school year is ending. For those with graduating seniors, the pomp and circumstance make for an especially sentimental time. The seniors, themselves, ride a rollercoaster of emotion as they plan their next steps toward vocation, education and other life choices. It’s been nine years since the last of our brood received their diplomas. The residual stress is finally waning. Life these days looks a bit different but there are still times when I wonder if the dynamics of our school days ever end.

Long before I was writing a column here, I took to social media to share my thoughts as the last of our offspring was set to graduate: “My husband and I officially tied the knot in 2001. We had seven children between us. At the time, the oldest was 15 and the youngest (the only girl) was six. Along the way our children attended Bell Hill, Hennessey, Alta Sierra Elementary, NCE, Deer Creek, Union Hill, Magnolia, Cottage Hill, 7 Hills, a short run at home schooling (voluntarily), as well as Bear River and Nevada Union high schools. To say we touched base with the Nevada County School System is an understatement! On Saturday, his youngest and my youngest will be part of the Nevada Union Graduating Class of 2012. Seven and done!

It is a bit surreal to realize we can stop making every decision around practice schedules and school holidays. Our conversations with our children will not be based on homework, late assignments, overdue library books, or getting to class on time.

I know the people in the attendance office will miss us, as we will miss the semi-regular telephone call that begins, ’Hello. This is the attendance office at Nevada Union High School. Your child (fill in the blank) has been marked absent for one or more periods today. To clear this absence …’ Sadly, that is from memory!

My sincere appreciation to all who helped along the way. I know we are never really done parenting, but I am so ready for what comes next!“

What came next was as varied as they are – they earned degrees or certifications, traveled, joined the military, started and stopped careers, left home, came back home, left home again.

Their lives continue to unfold.

The end of high school means no longer being at the mercy of academic mandates. It also means more choice and more responsibility. I am certain none of them long to go back to their high school days, but if they did, they would find many aspects still available to them in slightly altered forms right here in “real life.”

There are adult choirs, dance troupes, theater groups, and adult leagues for most sports. The artists have myriad opportunities to display their work (though I understand now that may require a permit).

And while the social constructs change, there are still plenty of societal landmines to avoid. Finding a new circle of friends, trying to fit in, navigating new parameters for what that means is also part of the adulting experience.

After graduating from my own high school many decades ago, I sputtered. I moved away, tried college, moved back to my hometown, moved away again. I returned to college and moved further away, eventually bringing me to California, where I moved another half dozen times. I didn’t pay too much attention to the actual community in which I lived. I was not involved in that way, but each of those moves meant finding new ways to support myself and new relationships to develop.

I hang on to people I care about. I maintain and cherish friendships from those early days of school and have held onto a few from many of those earlier moves. Some connections were lost for a time and have been recently renewed. Others simply faded away. There have been a few painful goodbyes and a couple that ended badly. It took me a long, long time to understand it is OK to let go of people who are not good. And that for others, an apology for wrongdoing was not enough. Some damage can not be repaired. Some relationships simply run their course. Grown up revelations, indeed.

Unlike with my earlier moves, when I came to Nevada County, I dug in. I became involved. I expected to be here for the rest of my days. I looked for connections. Naively, I used to think, this community was better than any other. This past year and a half have shown me that is not necessarily true and that is disconcerting. More accurately, this community is a microcosm of the country. Plenty of folks sitting left of center with a surprising number sitting on the right. That was fine with me when we were all looking out for each other.

The disappointment came with recognizing not everyone was as interested in the greater good as they were in taking care of their own and their own alone. That, for me, was a sad realization. I hope we find our way back to looking out for one another and lifting up those who need a hand. I hope we can forgive the transgressions. I understand everyone is not going to be a friend, and not everyone cares about the same things, but we do still need to get along.

Now, as we graduate back to “normal” life, we have our own choices to make. Just like in high school, we do get to decide who to sit next to at lunch. As adults, we also get to decide where to spend our allowance.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com


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