Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Brave in September

Remember when I talked about wishing out loud? Well, here goes...Jack is graduating from college in May.  That's right, clearly, I was a child bride, and my oldest is now old enough to be darn close to a college graduate.  
That means that I've been thinking and wondering and pondering about the many, many wonderful gifts of congratulations I could give him.

I got nothing.

And then it came to me...I will give him my words.

For the next ten months, I'm going to write one blog post a month, just to him. And then at the end, in May, I will find a way to publish just those ten posts.  It can't be that hard,right?
How cool would it be to give him an actual book?
So, I'm wishing out loud.
right here.right now.

Physical book to wrap up and hand over.in May.


Dear Jack,

So, do you remember way back in 2011, when things were very very unclear and you were going down to Los Angeles but we weren't sure what that would look like and we weren't sure how that first semester was going to go and it was all confusing and cloudy and funky?

I do.

It was then, at that point, that one day I was walking down B Street with Caroline -- her tiny five year old hand in mine, when we began a conversation about all of the changes going on in her life.
One of her favorite people on the planet was leaving her world -- hint: you -- and she was beginning kindergarten and she was scheduled to go to the dentist for the very first time and that was the one biggie we were talking about.

And she kept walking and sort of mumbled, 
"I don't want to go to the dentist.  I'll be brave in September."

I stopped and was shocked at the beauty of that.

Brave in September.

Her five year old self figured out that human of all traits: 
postpoing the hard stuff.
Yep.  She wanted to avoid.

I got it.
I really did.

In fact, I was in the aovid-at-all-costs mode right then too.
I didn't want to think about my family changing.
Didn't want to contemplate you being out of my daily life.
Didn't want to deal with my dirty house.
My back-logged work.
All of the many things I'd been avoiding for a long long time.

But when Caroline said that it made me contemplate my avoidance techniques.

I needed a due date.


September became synonymous with pausing the big old freight train of life and checking out what I had shuffled under the rug.
In September I would face it.

Caroline never knew she gave me that gift...but ever since, I've used September as my get-it-done month.  
I've tried to be brave in September.

Maybe it was Patrick who made me brave...
it was his heart surgery that made me want to run for the hills.
I remember nursing him just two days after open heart surgery and looking right in his eyes and saying, 
"You are making me brave, Patrick. I can't believe I'm doing this."

All those Septembers ago I just didn't think I could do it...
but I had no choice.
And I got through it.

As you get older, you tend to put off more and more things.
You don't travel to the places you think about because the time never seems right or you don't have the money or you should be more responsible and use your time or money some other way.
You don't go after the job you think you should...or the education that you need...
or the _____________ . (insert dream here)
You have lots of reasons and most of them are very mature.
Other adults nod and understand because they are putting stuff off too...
or just not dreaming anymore.

So that's where you come in.

I am so proud of you.
Immensely proud of the man you have become.
As far as I can tell, you don't put things off.
You seize the opportunity.
You find a way.
You gut though.

Just like you did in that crazy, awkward, kind-of-in-kind-of-not first semester at college.

I guess I just want to encourage you to always live like that.

Don't let adulthood be the excuse for not trying something.
Don't let "real life" bog you down.
Please, please, please continue to dream and reach and fight back when you get shot down.

Cause it's gonna happen.
Life has a way of wearing you down.

Stop right now.
Listen to your heart.
What are your wild and precious hopes?
List them all.
Even if they seem crazy -- especially if they seem crazy.
Those are usually the best ones.

Promise yourself to be Brave in September and set a due date.
Go for it.

Most of all, know that you can do the hard things...
you can make the miracles happen...
you will find your way.

It doesn't have to be perfect 
or sane
or what I think is right.

It just has to be yours.
Hold it close...use the flint...blow on it...and light that fire.

It's gonna be amazing.

That hero is YOU!

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