I CAN SEE IT!
I tried to fight off sleep but it was an early flight.
WAKE UP, she pleaded. I thought: you are a third child, leave me alone. But that’s the thing: she cannot leave alone. She is a force of nature. As we descended into San Juan, I could feel her heart beating. It was my first trip to the Island. We were fulfilling an old promise to see Hamilton featuring Lin Manuel Miranda for its short charity-driven run. I had a special client who helped it happen.
It was her second trip to Puerto Rico. She was 16 and had already been there twice more than me. More on that in a minute. Alexander Hamilton was a flawed hero. He made many powerful enemies. He made serious mistakes. I, no conspiracy theorist, accept the theory that his fatal confrontation with Vice President Aaron Burr was an act of intentional suicide. His heart, and his motivation, dwarfed his judgment. But he yielded nothing and bowed to no one. He early determined his path and never veered. His every breath was focused on his goals. And, say what you want, he, more than anyone else, built this country that you love so much.
I get it. I understand Molly’s obsession with this founding father. I have never, at any stage of life, met anyone more fiercely dedicated, more singularly focused, than my baby girl. And now, she graduates high school.
She is, in some ways, an amalgamation of her older siblings. Taking up and excelling at floor hockey, along with a clear self-awareness – both tributes to her sister. Fiercely inquisitive and protective of her family, like her older brother. But in so many ways, she has blazed her own trail.
Molly’s first trip to Puerto Rico was in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to volunteer to help the most vulnerable devastated by the storm. Then she went to North Carolina. Same deal. Who does that? I literally do not know a single child her age with that resume. When she told me, 10 years ago, that she wanted to become a nurse, I laughed. Then chastised her for limiting her options at such a young age. Ten years later she is admitted to the top nursing schools in the country. She’s attending a joint program with NYU and YU, and she will become a nurse. Pediatric. Who does that? Ten years in advance? I am in my 50s and I am still not completely sure what I want to do when I grow up.
Molly has, since she learned to talk, demanded justice for everyone. Not afraid to speak out. Or speak up. Or speak. She champions the underprivileged and the weak. She is tough, but I have seen her cry over the plight of the underdog. Heck, she got thrown to the floor in a critical game last year – – drawing a five-for-fighting against the other team’s star, who unleashed a rant, inappropriate for a family blog. Molly was uninjured, but she was dismayed. For the other girl.
Here’s a peek into her soul. A few years ago, a hockey injury depressed her spine. She couldn’t walk. Her irritable pace was enhanced. By a factor of 100. Anyone I know would have shut down and left a trail of collateral damage along the way. Molly didn’t. She shut up and went to work. Spinal surgery and a long rehab. And then, back in time for the playoffs. Who does that? And if you think she pulled her punches, you don’t know Molly.
For better or for worse (worse), Molly is the most like me of my children. Fiercely independent. Ferociously determined. But, navigationally on course. She does not care what anyone thinks. She does not care how others interpret her. She cares only about trying her best to do the right thing. Sometimes she comes up short. Most of the time, she doesn’t. But she always does her best and her best is pretty damn great.
And, so, this is my third graduation blog. (Benny- https://ariweisbrot.com/2015/06/10/one-last-thing-before-you-go/ (Hannah – https://ariweisbrot.com/2017/06/05/i-got-sunshine-on-a-cloudy-day/). Technically, I should say something to Benny, graduating the University of Maryland this month but, I sense some BennyCentric pieces coming up. Molly spent our three epic cross-country road trips in the back seat, listening to music, and lost in a world I would kill to know. Yet, she is the heart and soul of this family.
My words of wisdom are a bit different for my third child. She isn’t going to change, or compromise, or give in. I have no worries on those fronts. But, her heart is pure and her mind is committed. Her eyes are rosy. Maybe too much in a challenging world. And, so, Molls, my cupcake, don’t change a thing. Go change the world and help everyone you meet.
You made us proud.Now go. Before I change my mind.