December Daily® Installment No. 03

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking64 Comments | december daily® installment no. 03 | december daily® installment no. 03
I’ve been plugging along and really enjoying the process of putting together pages every day. I have a huge crush on the 6 x 8 size. It just seems like there are so many benefits. It’s small. It uses less paper and product. It’s cute. You can mix things up with the different sized page protectors. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

Today’s group of pages (and I forgot to photograph my Day 7) involves a story I haven’t shared yet about my daughter Aidan. You’ll get a clearer picture from Day 8. | december daily® installment no. 03

I’m going to include the digital card file for easier reading. | december daily® installment no. 03
Yes, Aidan has decided to transfer to the University of Minnesota for Spring semester. It has been a really intense experience for her, this first semester at school. She has learned so much about herself and what works for her and what doesn’t work for her and me and her Dad support her all the way. We didn’t anticipate that she wouldn’t love it there but this isn’t our story to live. It’s hers. Aidan is the most level-headed young woman you will meet. She is able to be very clear and she has a tremendous self-awareness. Rather than me get all into the details of how this semester has shaken out, I asked her first if I could share her story here and second, if she wanted to say anything about it in this post. She agreed to both.

She said, “People easily form opinions or come to conclusions upon learning information, often times without knowing much more than one piece of a large puzzle. All I can say is that this decision was right for me and good for me. Life is short and I didn’t give up an opportunity, I merely leapt into another with enthusiasm and inspired energy.”

And there you have it.  She’s writing the story of her life and stories change. Of course, we’ll be so happy to see her more, but more importantly, she is going to be happier.

Also on my Day 8 spread, I created a 6 x 8 print of my holiday card. Because my card was digital, I figured, why not? Last year, I punched holes in my card and popped it into my album. This year, with the double rings, I just opted to turn my card into a page with a little digital patterned paper in the background. | december daily® installment no. 03
The Day 9 spread includes a photo of the finals care package I sent off to her, complete with our Elf on the Shelf, Malachai, who has seen zero action this year on account of both kids think he’s creepy. I bought him a little bomber jacket for the journey. I told Aidan not to read my blog today, so as not to spoil the surprise when he arrives.

The Day 9 journal card reads: Finals week is next week and Aidan made a request: please send me a box for finals week. I think she has really loved my silly care packages. So, per her request I added the following items: 1. Three pairs of underwear (so she will not have to laundry before coming home.) 2. Shampoo (she’s almost out). 3. Chocolate. 4. Salt and vinegar potato chips. 5. Cheddar Bunnies. 6. Malachai, our Elf on the Shelf (who has seen zero action this year) wearing a bomber jacket and carrying a sign to remind her that this life is all about the process of living. We are so looking forward to having this girl home. | december daily® installment no. 03
Day 10 was all about a visit with my dear friend Wendy, who I used to work with at Simple Scrapbooks magazine back in the day.

One week from today I’ll be bringing Aidan not just home for the holidays, but home. She’s looking forward to regrouping and preparing for her new semester as a Minnesota Golden Gopher. Go Aidan! We are behind you all the way. Always.


Cathy ZielskeDecember Daily® Installment No. 03

64 Comments on “December Daily® Installment No. 03”

  1. #1
    Jill Broyles

    Her words are so perfect. My niece made a similar decision here. I am sending Aidan’s words to her. Aidan has it all together, good for her. She has once again demonstrated she can make the tough decisions with grace and elegance.

  2. #2

    Good for Aiden. She seems so smart, and like you said, level headed. My daughter is finishing up her first semester as well. The beginning was difficult for her (she missed home more than she anticipated) but she’s only 22 miles away from us so she can come home or we can go see her whenever we want. It makes it a lot easier.

  3. #4

    Good for Aidan! My younger sister made a similar choice during her first semester at college… it’s nice to see young adults who are capable of making decisions that are right for them at an age where it can be so easy to get wrapped up in what everyone will think.

  4. #5

    Aidan is so brave. And that bravery is admirable.

    It’s a brave thing to choose what feels best for you, rather than doing what you think everyone else expects you to do.

    I wasn’t the kind of person who could make those kinds of choices without shame when I was 18 years old. I could never have asked for what I needed if I thought it would step on someone else’s expectations.

    And it probably took me another 10 years (or more) to become the kind of person who could stand firm in choices that were right for me, regardless of how it work for anybody else. In some ways I’m still working that out.

    Life is long and very unpredictable. Here’s to Aidan walking toward what she wants in the new year, even though that may look different from what she may have wanted a few months ago.

    And, momma, that’s another fine set of rocking pages. I love your approach to this project.

    1. #5.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I agree. She has had some struggles with what people will think, but we’ve told her repeatedly, “This isn’t their journey. It’s yours.” We are really hammering home that doing things for other people’s approval, including that of her own parents, is a choice that will lead to regret and inauthenticity for her. 🙂

  5. #6
    Julie S

    I always remind my kids and their friends that nothing you do is ever lost. It’s part of your journey in what we call life. You build and grow based on your experiences. Looks like Aidan is learning that early! I’m sure your support means the world to her.

  6. #7

    As a person who got bored with college … every 3 semesters (4 different colleges and varied “life experience” before I got a degree — then went to law school) … I can understand and relate.
    As a mom who’s son transferred colleges (just once!), I can understand and relate.

    Things change. We live, we learn. We encourage our children to live, to learn, to adapt. What we thought was perfect sometimes just …. isn’t.

    What is perfect is our child’s ability to say “this isn’t working” and to continue to search for something better.

  7. #8
    Michelle t

    Awesome. And great pages. Everything is so pleasant to the eye. And happy for the both of you. Michelle t

  8. #9
    Alissa W

    Good for Aidan. I have enjoyed reading about her journey and glad she still agrees to share it with us, your readers. This reminds me of when I was 22 and decided I needed to move home after having lived & worked in the town I graduated college from for 9 months. This was a cross country move I undertook, packing all my possessions in a moving truck. I had been back a mere 4 days when I decided that I should just go back to my college town. Both times I felt it was the right choice – it was the right choice to try and move home and when I decided that I need to move away again it was the right choice.

  9. #10

    Misery is no environment for learning. Aidan is an intelligent young woman, as has been clear to me for many years as one of your devoted blog readers, but even a smart cookie such as herself will never get maximum learning and satisfaction in a place she cannot wait to leave. I experienced that one semester in my college career, too, and all I can say is, once I moved on, it was a whole new ball game. Go Aidan! So glad you had the courage and support to learn to fly! Life is, indeed, too short for regrets!

  10. #13
    Deb @ PaperTurtle

    I love this news about Aidan. A few years ago my daughter headed off to Northern Arizona University. She made it for a full year, but never really settled into dorm life and/or being away from home. She just wasn’t ready, and she spent more weekends driving the 2.5 hour drive to come home than she did “enjoying” the college life. I’ve noticed some similarities on your blog throughout this semester, so I’m not surprised that she’s made the decision to make a change. Aidan’s time away has already changed her and made her stronger. I’m so happy to know she’ll be home again soon. :o) Merry Christmas!

    PS: LOVE the care package contents.

  11. #14

    She lasted longer than I did at UW-Madison; just a few short weeks in my life story before I called my mom and BEGGED to come back home. Glad to hear she will be closer to the ones she loves. Life offers tough choices and plenty of opportunities to grow and learn. Ultimately, she has to do what is BEST FOR HER! (BTW, love, Love, LOVE the care package! SO FUN!)

  12. #15
    Sue O

    Well Bucky still has the axe! My son chose not to go to a large school because he knew that he would do better in a school that where the professors knew his name. Plus, since we’re in the Milwaukee area he was afraid that Wisconsin Madison would be like high school, with all the same people. He made the right choice for him and it sounds like Aiden is making the right choice for her.

  13. #16

    Wow, I’m really impressed with Aidan’s words. It takes an adult to say what she did without bringing anyone down in the process. That ability will serve her well in the future. And that’s a testament to how she was raised! I’m still loving, loving, loving your clean and simple approach to your DD album. Like you, I’m a huge fan of the 6×8 size. This may be my new format for mini albums (although I do love the 4×4 as well). Thanks for sharing Cathy.

    1. #16.1
      Cathy Zielske

      We think she’s always been an old soul on many levels. She’s very responsible. I’d like to say she learned that from me. She didn’t. I’m learning that now in my late 40s. She’s a pretty amazing person.

  14. #17
    Jenny S

    Beautiful post as always. And your daughter’s perspective on why she is transferring is inspiring. I transferred to the U of M after two years of college in Wisconsin (many years ago). Good luck to her on her new adventures. I wish I had been so level headed when I transferred. She is amazing.

  15. #18

    When my oldest entered college this year, I thought for sure she would choose a college in another state–she has always been bursting at the seams to grow up–but, to our surprise she chose to attend the very good college here in town. It was the right choice for her. She needs a little more time to be at home. Soon enough she will be ready to fly, but for now home is giving her the security she needs to spread her wings at her own pace.

  16. #19
    Lynne Moore

    I remember when my son (who was living at home for college) asked me to come with him to meet the academic advisor at the tech school he wated to transfer to after 1 year at a College. “Mom, I think this is the right school but I want you to go to be sure I am understanding it right.” He was. His instincts are so good.

    It’s nice when you can trust your kids instincts and know they are making the right choices.

  17. #20
    Abby P

    You are one kick-ass, tight, got-it-together family — I know you’ve mentioned about being in therapy, but honestly? I think you and Dan have totally got this parenting thing down. to. a. tee. You should be proud of yourselves – when families are truly close, the apples don’t fall too far from the tree in terms of who your kids are, their integrity, and their ability to make good choices. Insert me clapping for y’all! Thanks for sharing – made my day.

    1. #20.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Abby, therapy has helped both Dan and I in many ways. I need to write more about that. I’m still learning. I’m still working. 🙂

  18. #21

    Good for Aiden! Life is to short to stay in the wrong place! I wish her all the best for next semester!

  19. #22

    Firstly, huge props to you and Dan. That kind of love and support you have continually given goes miles in helping Aiden make wise choices for herself. Seriously. Deep bow of gratitude and understanding on the parenting front.

    Secondly, Miss Aiden – if you ever want to write a blog about life as you are on your journey, please know that I for one would love to read it. And I would pass it on to my daughters who are only a year or few behind you. Your style, authenticity and voice would be welcome in the blogosphere, especially how you are framing your changes into life experiences and opportunities. Truly unique. Plus, I’m confident you have a built in reader base here from mamas and their kids who have watched you grow into an amazing woman. It would be like a junior version of Zielske “Keeping It Real” Life.

  20. #23
    Kim Smith

    So proud of Aidan’s decision and the eloquent response she gave you about sharing her news. I am betting her eloquence has played a part in her journey at Univ of WI…there are times when kids of all ages stick out due to their intelligence and higher level communication abilities.

    I applaud you and Dan, Cathy, for raising such great kids and for keeping it real!

  21. #24
    Sara Kiiru

    Cathy, I want to second what Yolanda said, and say “WAY TO GO” to you & your husband for encouraging Aidan to live authentically and congruently. As Yolanda said, it has taken me decades to learn that skill. So glad your kids feel the freedom to live that way now.

  22. #25

    What she’s decided is not that unusual. Those of us with similar experience saw the signs. I had two nieces who went off to university then found it wasn’t what they expected and they were drowning in the big classes. Both decided to move back home and get the first 2yr basic classes out of the way in a smaller/cheaper environment. In both cases we worried they were influenced by the “boy” (ah….first love). But we needn’t been concerned because they both knew enough to expand themselves socially. And in both cases they went on to get their four year degrees from different universities, after they’d discovered what they really wanted to pursue.

    I say life is too short to tough through something you hate. (I know because my son died at age 25, a heart defect no one knew was there.) So go grab what you want and be happy on the journey. Best of luck to you all.

    1. #25.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Amen, Lori. Thank you for sharing this. I can’t imagine your loss, but your words are speaking to my mama heart. Thank you.

  23. #26
    Melanie A.

    No explanations necessary. It is her life. The beauty of her age right now is that she can explore and make as many changes as she wants. Sometimes things don’t fit, sometimes they turn out not to be what we thought they would, sometimes they turn out to be more. In the end we do what is best for us and in her case the only people she has to concern herself with is herself and her family (and I say that only cause I’m guessing you guy supply some moola LOL) I wish her all the best in the next semester.

  24. #27

    The idea of finishing high school, and moving far from home for the “college experience” is just one model of early adulthood. I think we (middle class Americans?) have come to see that as the norm, but there is no reason for it to be. There is plenty to do and learn close to home.

  25. #28
    Jenny B.

    Such fun pages! I love seeing the 6×8 albums in action, though I haven’t jumped in and started one myself yet. 🙂 Yay for Aidan for making decisions and knowing what will make her happy. Lots of people transfer at some point in college. You can’t know what life in a new place is going to be like until you get there, and sometimes it just doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it would be. Deciding to make a change takes courage. Go Aidan!

  26. #29

    Bravo to Aidan! My youngest daughter has a similar transfer story. She started out at a university less than an hour from home but wasn’t comfortable there from the very first day. She felt that she had nothing in common with any of the students and while she loved her classes and the actual campus, she was otherwise miserable and came home every weekend but two (the first one and one when we got a blizzard and she had no choice but to stay). She stayed for a year but had she been further away she would have only lasted that first semester. She transferred to a college in another state about two hours away but to the same school her sister attended at the time. My youngest is now a junior there and unbelievably happy. Sometimes things just don’t work out the first time and you just have to change course and do what will make you happy. All the best to Aidan and congratulations to you for surviving too. I completely understand how heart-wrenching it is when your child is desperately unhappy.

    1. #29.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Miserable from the start describes Aidan’s experience, too. She did get involved though. She made the women’s ultimate team, went to tournaments, etc. She just never felt like it was her place. She’s not a drinker, so the party atmosphere bummed her out, too. She’ll find her groove once she’s back and then who knows where she’ll end up but we’ll support her all the way. 🙂

  27. #30

    Me again…My daughter also was very worried at first that people would see her transfer as a failure (sigh). She finally realized that she had to do what she knew would be best for her, no matter what others might think. And once she told people about her decision, she was amazed at the people who told her that they were unhappy too and wished they were transferring. So keep your head up Aidan – it’s a brave thing to stand up for yourself and blaze your own trail!!

  28. #31
    Jill S.

    My son transferred colleges this summer, after his freshman year. He loves his new school and it’s a great fit for him. He’s made some really good friends there. Best of luck to Aidan as she takes this step! By the way, I love your elf’s name!!!

  29. #32

    Cathy (and Aidan)

    My daughter made that same decision one year ago and I can’t express how much that it was the right decision for her. At the school she is at now she is so comfortable that she is able to focus on academics and activities. I thank God that she had the courage to make the change that was right for her. Go Aidan! (and Cathy and Dan).

  30. #33

    Go Aidan Go! Thanks to both of you for sharing. May you have a wonderful break and then a fabulous new adventure ahead!

    With love,

  31. #34

    I received a letter from my boy, who is serving an LDS mission right now. He and Aiden are days apart, I believe…both May babies 🙂 His letter reiterated how important it is to have a strong family support 🙂 It made me happy to know that he recognizes that he has this. Aiden is doing exactly what she needs to be doing. By continuing to have faith in herself, she is becoming an even stronger young woman. People who have time to criticize her need to find something else to do 🙂

  32. #35

    Congrats to Aiden. My son had a couple of friends who after one semester at Michigan State (which has a waiting list for freshmen) that it wasn’t what they thought it would be and they just weren’t happy. After transferring closer to home (Northern Michigan University) they have done fabulous and are much happier for it. Glad she recognized it and that she has your and Dans support.

  33. #36

    My son is at the U of M and is loving it. He’s heading to the Citrus Bowl with the Pride of Minnesota. Hope Aiden loves it! Ski U Mah!

  34. #37

    Often when I read Elise Cripe’s blog I think Damn! That girl is wise beyond her years. She knows things at 29 that I’ve yet to figure out at 49. Well, similar thoughts came to mind reading your daughter’s words. Self aware, level headed. The only thing 49 has that she needs? That ever growing ability to say I don’t give a F#%K what anyone else thinks!

  35. #38
    Amy K

    Sorry to hear she had a rough 1st semester, but glad to hear she’s making sound decisions for herself. A very wise, young woman, who has obviously had wonderful role models! All the best to Aiden and your entire family.

  36. #39

    Yayaiden For giving it a go! I always say it’s good to try something even if it doesn’t work out like you first thought it would….better than always wondering….what if I’d done so and so….

  37. #40

    it takes tremendous maturity to recognize that something doesn’t feel right and to implement the steps towards change, especially when other people’s expectations might not line up with how you feel. Good for you Aiden! Cathy I love your blog and have enjoyed following along, as a Mom of one college kid and one high school senior. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

  38. #41
    Amanda B

    Aidan is one lucky girl to have such supportive parents in such a decision! I wish I’d had as a positive experience with my family when I decided to NOT go to Northwest Missouri State (after acceptance and Mom & Dad already paying first housing payments and tuition). But I knew, in my gut, that it wasn’t the right decision for me. Sadly, it was something that was somewhat held over my head (and still, almost 18 years later, brought up when my mom is in one of her moods).

    Anyway enough about me – glad she included her voice in your spread. I love it. And I love the bomber jacket. Our elf, Jake, got one this year, too. I considered changing his name to Iceman but our 6 year old didn’t get the reference.

    1. #41.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I’m sorry to hear that, Amanda. Sometimes parents forget that it’s not about them. 🙁 In fact, I think that happens a lot. It used to happen to me so I know from experience.

      Iceman would’ve been GREAT! lol.

  39. #42
    Karina K

    I’m so proud of Aidan and for you both as parents for being so supportive of her. She will do great things in her life and when she graduates from college this first semester will just be a small part of her whole story.

    I didn’t like my first semester of college but I was lucky to be an hour from home and have suit mates that were a sophomores. Those two things really helped me and who knows if I would have been able to continue if I was further away or didn’t have suit mates that helped me through it from their experiences.

  40. #43

    It’s all too easy to continue doing something because you think that’s what everyone else thinks you should be doing. Good on Aidan for making the move to something that will work better for her rather than being miserable while trying to keep expectations going. Life is too short to waste miserable years doing stuff that doesn’t work. You guys are great parents and have raised exceptionally wise children. Hat’s off to you as it’s not easy.

  41. #44

    Cathy, I don’t often comment, but when I read this about Aidan I wanted to share. I too transferred after my first semester away at college and it was hard, and it was unchartered territory to a “norm” where people “suck it up and stick it out” and I was terrified. But in retrospect, it was the best decision for me, and in the end that is all that matters. I eventually made new friends (even ones like me, who transferred mid year) and to this day they are some of my life long friends and that was over 20 years ago. Sounds like Aidan already has the hindsight to see that this is/will be the right decision for her. My parents and older sisters never went to college so it was foreign to all of us. It made me a stronger person having to figure all the things out that I did. She is so lucky to have such amazing and supportive parents. You are giving her wings to fly but also coaching her from the sidelines, that gift is better than gold.

    1. #44.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Kellie, thanks for leaving this comment. I appreciate it. I was worried, truthfully, that people would tell her to suck it up and stick it out. But she really does feel this is the best choice for her. We’re excited to see how she fits into the University of Minnesota in the Spring!

  42. #45

    I, too, stayed one semester at UW-Madison and came “home” (Milwaukee). I felt bad at the time but I really missed home and my Mom (back story…baby of the family and extremely close to my mom). I cried everyday that I was at Madison and it wasn’t pretty. I know I made the right decision at the time, but did think about the what-if’s for awhile. I am now 45 years old and after losing my mom 3 years ago, I am so glad that a). she knew how much I loved her and missed her when I was away from her b). would “come home” all over again if I had to make the choice today.

    We all need to do what makes sense/feels right at the time and sure, there may be regrets, but in the end it works out just fine. Good luck to Aidan. It’s so nice to be home with your Mom, right?

    1. #45.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Paula, thank you so much for sharing this. First, I’m so sorry for your loss but yes, what a true gift that she knew how much you loved her. 🙂

  43. #46

    Way to go Aidan! I think it takes a lot of courage to have first made that big decision, and then changed your mind. I moved from Toronto to Philadelphia for a job in my early 20s and just HATED being that far away from my family. Moved back in with my parents, made some new plans and have been happier than ever for the past 10 years. SO glad you’re getting to have her closer to you again. Mothers + Daughters forever!

  44. #47
    Sue Treiber

    Cathy, I just love your approach to everything! My kids were too old by the time the creepy elf came into play. I’m sort of bummed out and relieved by this, cuz I know I’d never remember to move the damn thing. So I totally love the idea of sending it to my college aged daughter next year, so we can feel more connected during her absence. I’m dreading it so much, and she hasn’t even left. Thank you for giving me an idea I can use!
    Is there really a stigma attached to transferring? Why? I don’t get it at all. I hope Aidan doesn’t let other people’s opinions weigh her down. There are so many important things in life to worry about…changing colleges shouldn’t be one of them. Good luck in your new school, and yea to more Mother/daughter time 🙂

  45. #49
    Toni Brockliss

    I will give an Outback Steakhouse response from an Aussie……(I am assuming Outback is an Australian restaurant?)

    Aidan who gives a rats bum what anyone thinks about your decision?
    If you are at a place where you stick out like dogs balls, then go like the clappers and get out!
    You are a ripper, bonza, bloody beauty hornbag. You know what you are doing and if you don’t, you will figure it out.
    People who don’t agree are knobs and can stick it up their clacker.

  46. #50
    Heather B

    Oh my Aiden I can so relate! I went 800miles away for college (ND native). I nearly transferred to UofM and closer to my high school friends for the spring but didn’t get my decision made soon enough so I had to go back to MO for the spring. In the end I stayed for all of it in MO and live in KC now so it ended up for the best. That first semester is so hard in so many ways and can be what you need and what you don’t all at the same time! I did take one money making semester completely off school (although as an engineer I was able to work for my dad and pay 1credit hour to stay full time student who was in a co-op program) and I took a lot of heat from people who barely knew me for that! In the end I came out of college with no debt so I am happy with that choice too.

  47. #51

    Two of our three girls changed schools; one after the first week, one after the first year. The principle is to obtain a higher education (although not an absolute necessity). How it is obtained can take various forms. Different routes are not necessarily right or wrong, just different.

    Very impressed with your daughter. Very impressed with you and dad.

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