Returning to Notre Dame as a student this fall took a lot of planning, effort, and faith. I’m not going to call it miraculous- I’ll save that kind of talk for when I’m feeling well again. I will, however, say, it required mountains to be moved. I wanted nothing more than to be reunited with my friends and reenrolled in an enriching academic setting. Yes, I’m a nerd! I love to learn, I get a thrill from writing term papers, and I thoroughly enjoy test taking. Getting to this place where it is possible for me to attend classes and live away from home, was only made possible by the works of Wonder woman and Superman, informally referred to as mom and dad. From day one of my life they have done everything in their power to make my dreams come true; from day one of my illness, they have done everything in their power to help me lead a life for which I never stop dreaming.
It is nerve-wracking for my parents to have a sick daughter 700 miles away. They’ve lost countless nights’ sleep from receiving hysterical phone calls from me; or less dramatic, but no less terrifying, phone calls from my Rector informing them that I was taken to the ER in South Bend, Indiana. Despite the fact their anxiety could be exponentially lessened by my willingness to remain home, or transfer to a local school, they have never tried to push me into abandoning my goal of graduating from ND.
Paddy and I arrived in Indiana about three weeks ago. My Grammy and Grandaddy and cousin, Lily, were here with me the first week, my mom stayed through the next week, and then my dad spent this past week with me. Early this morning my dad returned to Philadelphia, and Paddy and I woke up to an empty house. I’ve known this day would inevitably come, but that doesn’t make loosing my “security blanket” of family nearby any easier.
One of the lovely families I’ve befriended at ND, and in the South Bend community, heard of my dad’s departure and arrived at my doorstep with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers from the Farmers Market. Mrs. Guibert said she hoped the “happy” sunflowers would brighten the house. I am blessed and comforted by the knowledge that I have my ND family to lean on and turn to in times of need.
A close friend and loving supporter, Stephen, recently introduced me to a song by his brother, called One Call Away. While the song was presumably not written for this purpose, I think it serves as the perfect anthem for parents to send their kids off to college. It is a touching reminder to independence-craving twenty-somethings that they should venture out on their own path in confidence that the people who love them unconditionally will always be just one call away. In my case, it is equally reassuring to know my team of doctors, who are consistently frustrated by my desire to receive my schooling so far away (“There are so many great schools on the East Coast,” they plea), are nonetheless willing to stand by my decision and similarly remain one call away (even if that call comes from the South Bend ER in the middle of the night… sorry Dr. Goldberg!). Despite my slightly broken, very fragile wings, I don’t give up in my attempts to fly because I trust I have a nest of family and friends to catch me when I fall. Wonder woman and Superman, thank you for that.
Come along with me and don’t be scared
I just wanna set you free
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon
You and me can make it anywhere
For now, we can stay here for a while
Cause you know, I just wanna see you smile
No matter where you go
You know you’re not alone
I’m only one call away
I’ll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I’m only one call away
And when you’re weak I’ll be strong
I’m gonna keep holding on
Now don’t you worry, it won’t be long
Darling, and when you feel like hope is gone
Just run into my arms