Later this spring, I have three nieces graduating from high school in three different states. Each young woman has a dream and a path they wish to follow. My own high school graduation seems so long ago to me and at the very least is three lifetimes ago. My path has taken unexpected turns and twists, but I continue to learn from my experiences. I find myself now following my original dream, I had so many years ago before I allowed practicality to push it down.
My sister Julie asked me to write something for her daughter, one of the graduates. Julie gave me a few ideas of what she wanted to say and what she emailed to me was better than anything I thought I could come up with. Her words were full of love and were straight from the heart, but I did my best to put her thoughts into my words.
When I graduated, I bitterly felt as though my hard work and successes in high school had been overlooked. I didn’t receive any awards or scholarships and even though I didn’t really expect to, I secretly thought that I would get something. What I didn’t realize at the time, that the work and achievements I made were really for myself. As long as I believe in myself, I can do whatever I put my mind to. After my graduation ceremony, I received a card with a handwritten note. I no longer have the card, but I still cherish the sentiment to this day. An adult in the community that I knew and respected took the time to tell me that she also believed I had been overlooked and she knew that I would be successful and do well. She was proud of what she had seen me accomplish. Her faith in me meant a great deal and many years later I wrote her a letter to say thank you.
I want Kristen, Megan and Jennifer to know that they matter and that their dreams matter and as long as they believe, they can do anything. The following is the poem I wrote for Kristen with many of Julie’s thoughts, but I think it applies to all three young women and really to anyone who dares to dream.
Poem for Kristen
When you wish upon that star,
Always remember who you are
Work hard and you will achieve
Whatever dream you can conceive
Be true to yourself and proud of what you attain
Success is so much sweeter when you don’t complain
Be brave enough to try your best
Put in the effort and don’t worry about the rest
Keep a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart
Never let anyone pull your dreams apart
Learn from your mistakes when you fall
Pick yourself up and try again with your all
Always be willing to help others out
Even if they don’t repay with anything but a pout
Surround yourself with people you love or respect
You will see in your success how this does reflect
Follow your passion and make it a living
Believe in those dreams and they will keep on giving.
I have been putting off writing my first blog entry because I can’t seem to find the time. Well, at least that is what I have been telling myself. Is it true? It is partially true. I can’t seem to find the perfect moment when I will be uninterrupted for 30 minutes and when I have the computer to myself to whip up something poetic or prophetic or really just something that I won’t be embarrassed to have someone else read. I have to face facts. I am the mother to three young boys and wife to one grown man, those 30 minutes are rare and I usually use them to sleep or shower.
I seem to be able to find a few minutes a day to play my 20 or so games of Words With Friends or Scrabble using my iPad, smart phone or computer depending on who has my various other devices. So I should be able to find the same amount of time in the same way to jot down my thoughts on what seems to be uppermost in my mind. For today it is writing. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. And while I may not be a famous author, I have been a writer. I wrote poems, stories, newspaper articles, letters, journal entries, emails, notes, Facebook rants and messages and basically anything. I even met one of my closest friends when I signed up for a writing course. I am and always will be a writer. I may not be the greatest writer or all time, but that is ok. Writing is my passion and it feeds my soul. I need to do more of it. I will do more of it.
Something else that feeds my soul is bicycle riding. I remember my first two wheeler with training wheels and the sad day someone (my mom?) backed over it because I left it in the driveway. I remember the banana seat bike after that and flying down the hill near our house and later picking gravel out of my knees. I remember the first red Schwinn ten speed that I earned with my Des Moines Register paper route. I remember the first accident shortly afterwards when my brother Bob and I collided while riding around the high school track. The thee bicycles after that were second hand, but I loved them just the same. A sweet green English three speed that I rode back and forth to my job teaching kindergarten. I once rode it through the city of Philadelphia dressed as a clown. It was a sad day, when that bike was stolen from inside my work. The next two bikes where Specialized mountain bikes. First a purple rock hopper and then a green stump jumper. Never mind that I didn’t go mountain biking. But, I did ride those bikes in Philadelphia in the snow and ice. In fact the purple one was the bike I rode in January 1996 right after a major blizzard on my first day as a bike messenger.
I also rode two bikes in the heat of Arizona to commute to my various jobs. The first bike was my sister Julie’s and the second was a free bike from the city of Scottsdale as part of a bike to work initiative. My current bike is my blue Trek 7.3 FX that I am currently riding on my trainer. I am a mom and I found the time, but it involves multitasking. For me it is the perfect solution. I am exercising my body and mind as well as feeding my soul.