Thursday, April 8, 2010

Man in the Arena pt. 2

When I was younger, still in high school I think, my dad handed me a sheet of paper. And on that sheet of paper, he had typed and printed out the most popular part of the speech Theodore Roosevelt gave at the Sorbonne in 1910.

I thought about it the other day, and how inspirational it is.

And then I thought about the reasons my Dad might have given it to me. I remember in high school, thinking my parents were "so mean" and "so cruel" to be so hard on me. Now, in hindsight, I see they were just trying to point (not push) me in the right direction.

I remember feeling like my home was a prison. I remember feeling I could not wait to leave for college, and being so angry all the time. I wanted more more more. It never occured to me that I was taking for granted what my parents had already given me. A roof over my head, clothes, food. Even after my Dad was laid off from the job he had worked so hard at for 10+ years, they still made sure my sisters and I never went without. Yes, I'll openly admit we were spoiled, but not in a bad way.

My parents were/are super-parents. They have always been involved in our extracurriculars. My Dad was my softball/volleyball coach for a long time. Once I got old enough to appreciate this, I would always try to find him on the sidelines when I was at the plate, or after I made a play I was unsure of. And my Mom has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I don't make friends easily, I'm pretty shy, and so I would go to my Mom for advice more often than I would a peer. And I still do. Anytime I write anything, she's the one whose feedback I most look forward to.

I think I've made my parents pretty proud. I haven't completely adopted the "Man in the Arena" speech into my life; I'm still working on it. But I have done many great things that I don't think I could've done without the support of my parents. I graduated from high school with honors (I never thought I'd pass that Calc class!), I was involved in service clubs (and even served as president one year), I traveled to Europe alone (sort of), I played competitive sports year-round, I moved 2000 miles away from home to attend college in upstate NY, I graduated from college in 4 years, and when push came to shove, I took the leap and moved in with the boy I've been in love with since I was 17. My parents love and understanding motivated me all the way.

I'm proud of them, too. My Dad owns a partnership in a successful business, my Mom still hasn't stopped reaching for the stars. They've started running marathons recently, and I'm always pleasantly surprised to hear their results (they're in better shape than I am!). They are hardworkers and I hope that of all the awesome genes I've inherited from them (my sisters and I were once told "Damn, y'alls parents must have good genes!" I'm thinking that means we're pretty hot...) their determination has manifested its way into my mind, heart & soul.

Afterall, I'm only 23 and will be applying to grad schools soon. So, I still have plenty of time to be the (wo)man in the arena.

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