Praying for Babies…and College

I have a four year old who is strangely (or maybe not so strangely) obsessed with pregnancy, nursing, and all things baby. I’ve heard of this type- the woman who knew from day one that they wanted nothing more than to be a Momma. I was not that woman.  For me, that desire came like the flip of a switch, and then I was on fire.

Harper nurses her babies. She mommas her sister. She actually cried-yes, real big alligator tears- when I sent my Mammarazzi book home with my sister, because she wanted to keep one of the pages, a maternity picture of a stranger- the woman standing at the edge of a beach holding her bare belly, nine months pregnant.  She looked at that picture for hours… I love this about my sweet girl. And I will nurture this part of who she is.

She asked me this week, “Momma, if I pray to God for two babies, one boy and one girl, will He answer my prayer?” She’s FOUR! Once I caught my breath, I gave her this answer; “You can pray to God, and I will too, for you to have two babies, one boy and one girl, after you go to college.” And she smiled the smile of one who just won the lottery.  Then agreed. It should be noted that Harper also talks quite often of going to college; where she’ll go, when she’ll go, so my answer, to her, probably did seem like she hit the jackpot. The best of both worlds.

Aaron and I are in complete agreement that for our girls, a college education, or shall I say the college experience, will remain a top priority. A college degree doesn’t necessarily make one better, or smarter, or happier. And I could care less if my daughters grow up to be astronauts or neurosurgeons or stay at home moms. Happy, Healthy, Christ Lovers. That’s my ultimate goal. But for me, who had a completely different college experience than my husband, college is where I learned some of the most profound lessons of my life. And I am not talking about Genetics, or Statistics, or Invertebrate Zoology.

I’m talking about life lessons. You know, the kind that can hurt like the dickens. The lessons that exhaust you and reveal an inner strength that you never knew existed. The lessons that leave you in a puddle of tears on your dorm room floor, certain that you cannot live another day without “him”. Guess what…you can, and you will. I did! And now we’re married…but that’s a different story.

 I’m talking about learning to break the awkward silence, with a simple “Hello”, introducing yourself to that girl in the gym that seemed so intimidating and is now a life-long friend. College is about relationships. LIFE is about relationships. Relationships with like-minds, and not-so-like-minds. A college campus is a melting pot of people from different countries, with different beliefs, and political views. Even my small town Baptist University had diversity. Thank goodness! Forming relationships with people unlike yourself is how you learn who you really are, who you are not, who you want to be, and not. Those relationships challenge you, they push you, they mold you. There is sometimes fear and discomfort in being exposed to those that are different. Fear not! These are the relationships that reveal you. And these relationships are often times the greatest blessings on your life.

College Life lesson #234, YOU are responsible for YOU. College is where I gained my independence and began to understand how strong and resilient I actually was. I lived on my own. ALL on my own. And although it began as one big frightening experiment, and I had no idea what the results would yield, I can now say that time was crucial, and benefited every aspect of my future self, my future marriage. I was being taught an undercover lesson; that I can do anything I set my mind to. Something that I hope to instill in my own girls. I can. I can sign a lease. I can pay my bills. I can cook my dinner. I can balance my checkbook. Okay, this last one was a serious case of trial and error- leaning often times to error. Oops!

I worked, sometimes 40 hours a week, every week that I was in college. I didn’t have a choice. And I didn’t have the excessive amount of free time that many college students have. College is where I adopted my work ethic. Something that I am proud of and something that serves me well. If Harper one day wants to be a stay-at-home-Mommy, fantastic! But I have news for her. That’s hard work. Full time. No breaks. She’ll need a strong work ethic. And if her life takes a different direction and she finds herself teaching, or giving dance lessons, or running a restaurant…then too, she will benefit from that work ethic. And she will have those options. And no matter what option my girls choose, I will still love them to the ends of the earth.p>

For the sake of full disclosure, college can also be FUN. Lots of fun. Too much fun, maybe. But you know what, even the fun times, the dancing on a bar times, the spring break in Mexico times, they offer up some pretty valuable lessons. And while I won’t say that those were my proudest moments, I continue to be thankful for them.

College is hard. It can be grueling. It takes dedication, and drive, and discipline, words that will hopefully one day be used to describe my Babes.  You grind it out for four years (or five) and receive a diploma as proof. But college is about so much more than that…

College was the most frantic, dramatic, stressful chapter in my life. But maybe one of the most important. It’s the chapter that introduced many of the main characters. The chapter that probably makes for the best read. And if that chapter were ripped from my book, nothing else would make sense.

I understand that we each have our own path. I appreciate that. Diversity, remember? But I will continue to highly encourage my girls to make college a chapter in their books. As much as the thought of them leaving, moving away, and starting college scares me, the thought of them not doing those things, not making their own mistakes, not learning their own lessons…well, that frightens me even more.

 

Speaking of that intimidating girl in my old college gym…and of Mexico…

Happy Birthday Amanda!!

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