Liv and I had lunch yesterday with one of my good friends and her daughter. To say it was a ceaseless chatter-fest would be an understatement. Somehow the endless laughter seems to be always at my expense, but that’s ok. To refute her “There’s always something big going on with you!” would be silly and furthermore, the woman is a little fireball and totally never loses any argument. Mercifully, I only see Pina Coladas in Cabo in our future.
Her daughter just completed her undergrad at GVSU with a psychology degree and is on her way later this month to IUPUI to begin her graduate studies in social work. Liv has every intention of acquiring the same degree(s), so we thought it very motherly of us to bring those two together and selfishly catch-up and laugh over (fine, my) hideous mistakes again. It kind of never gets old. That content is rich alrighty. Whew to the we.
Today. Today my baby is applying to college. It’s surreal, it’s scary, and it is here. For now, I am tabling all emotion in favor of opening the mail to find an acceptance letter glistening with the letters WELCOME TO and a shopping trip to find an eight-semester-lasting chastity belt.
As part of the application process, incoming freshman are required to write an essay which must not exceed 650 words. Great, no problem, my academic-excelling child thought. Five to ten words is certainly less than 650. (She killed the Math section on the SAT, by the way. Nailed it.)
My mini-me chose to write about friendships. As she sat in the kitchen, I tried to help by sharing one of my very first blog posts written about Chels. Begrudgingly, Liv began to read. Almost immediately she looked up in disgust at me, interrupting the clearly Pulitzer flow.
“I can’t write like this,” she announced.
Smirking, I did what any all-knowing and prideful mother would do and responded encouragingly.
“Of course you can, honey. I haven’t always been able to write like that either.”
“No. It’s not grammatically correct. This is for college, Mom. No way would I get in with anything like that.”
(Maybe it won’t be quite as hard when she leaves. Wishful thinking, but I’m looking forward to a returned sense of my self-esteem nonetheless.)
I wish we would have been required to submit an essay back in the day. If that were the case, I definitely would NOT have chosen the “Share a life experience in which you failed” prompt. 650 word max and all.
But, if the prompt would have been “Write about the person you are today and your progression over the next 5 years – what you hope to experience, your dreams, your passions and the role they will play in your future. Do not provide specific events; rather we are looking for a deep soul conceptual snap shot,” I would have been all over that one.
It would have been interesting to see what my 17 year-old self would have written. My almost 41 year-old self would write something like this:
The person I am today is a compilation of dreams. From pipe, to shattered, to realized, there they have been. Sometimes, they plague me. Other times, they inspire me. And every once in a while, they take me outside of myself for a peek into the world in which I have lived – kind of like when my Mom used to punish me or my Dad used to say nothing with a look, providing a simple reality check. The reality of “it’s never as bad as you think, but get on the right road already. It’s time.”
Life is a series of progressions. Experiences are attained, doors and chapters are constantly closing as new ones await, much like a swinging gate at the entrance of the next phase of your life. And I want to LEAP over that gate and land in the second half of the game, for I am finally ready to play.
The first half was a beautiful, brutal warm-up in preparation for the difference I am going to make in this world, and the game clock is running. But I don’t, won’t, and can’t care about the time remaining. There’s only One behind the scorer’s table anyway and He has already won the game.
Yet the beauty is, and always has been, that He knows what kind of role player we are; we just need to show up.
So what I want is to wake up each morning and sing praises for all the blessings which have been received and are renewed each day. I want to find a way to use every minute of every hour of every day to matter in profound ways – whether it’s creating, talking, encouraging, or just being still. I want to sit for hours and think only about what is happening in THAT moment with the person or people surrounding me instead of thinking about the never-ending to do list. Stolen moments will be mine instead of ruling me and thus, robbing me.
I want to pick and choose more wisely instead of filling my world and my head with diversions. When I run, I want to enjoy it instead of always running to get somewhere, by a certain date, in a certain Kenyan-like time. I want to stop dabbling in thousands of things and finally do the one thing I was meant to do.
I want to breath deeply, love with an intensity that cannot be surpassed, never take the important relationships for granted, and become a minimalist. And mostly, in so doing, I want to model the unconditional love that has been shown to us.
Because someday, when the clock strikes 0:00…I want to be sliding into home plate instead of proudly trotting around the bases like I just hit the homer on my own.