When I was in school I remember thinking “I wish I was smarter.” It was something that crossed my mind on a daily basis. Sometimes I still feel this way, especially when my children ask me a question about history (which my mother would always know the answer to) or math (my father could solve an equation in seconds flat and then tell me how it related to a bridge being constructed). Not the case for me, I run to Wikipedia.
For years I beat myself up about my average academic performance, trying so hard to be that honors student and never making the cut. So many of my friends were in honors this and that and then there was me, regular classes and average grades. How I dreamed of standing when they called the names for honor roll.
I tended to be more of the social butterfly rather than the academic. I rose to the occasion on many a committee and wrote speeches about school spirit and became head of the Spirit Council. I organized all the pep rallies, encouraged everyone to attend the plays and musicals. I participated in silly skits to promote recycling and I loved it all. Finally, I had found my niche but how do you get into a great college and then get an impressive job on this alone?
I did get into college and here, I thought, I would achieve my quest for knowledge. I envisioned myself pouring over my books, giving witty and eloquent answers to my professors, walking along the brick sidewalks lined with oaks having conversations about the meaning of life. Uh, no. Not even close. Again, I was drawn to the social aspects of college. Now, it’s not what you’re thinking, I did not party 24/7 but quite close to it (Sorry Mom and Dad). I joined a sorority and organized community service projects. Went to formals and Fraternity parties. Was a part of Homecoming, Greek Week and Derby Days. Oh yes, my calendar was quite full and I did find time to study, here and there.
When Graduation finally arrived, I remember walking with my best girl friends in silence, all pondering what we were leaving and what we were moving on to. At that moment I realized, I had no regrets. That day, under the Oaks, listening to names being called from the stage, I learned that being who I am may just be good enough.
Through the years I have succeeded and failed at just being me and I still, at times would fall into the trap of trying to be what I am not. Finally, after years of trying, I think I have figured it out. I am a wife and a mother, a daughter and a friend. There are other labels that I possess but these are the titles that I hold dear.
If someone asked me what the most important thing I learned in life was, I am not sure that I could give them one specific item. It’s a culmination of many little experiences that have created who I am today. This is my own little “top ten” list:
- I have learned not to judge a book by its cover.
- I have learned to laugh with and at my children (sometimes it is funny when they make bathroom noises on their arms or their little brother’s stomach).
- I have learned how to live with being embarrassed (see above).
- I have learned to enjoy a glass of wine (or two especially if the above number two is done while we are in the grocery store/Target/Library).
- I have learned that I need to cherish (and not dread) making my children’s lunches, giving them baths and putting them to bed. How many parents, who have lost their child, would give their right arm to do these seemingly routine tasks?
- I have learned that my husband is my hero, my best friend and my greatest supporter (even when I’m acting crazy).
- I have learned that I could not live without my girlfriends.
- I have learned what unconditional love is and am grateful to my parents for it (especially during my teen years. Sorry again Mom and Dad).
- I have learned that it’s ok to eat a huge bowl of ice cream and not feel guilty.
- I have learned that I am grateful that someone is passionate about math equations and uses them to make bridges that I can drive over.
Is that all I have learned in my years on this earth? Oh goodness no, but it pretty much hits the main points. I know there’s more out there to discover and, thank God, most of it can be found on Wikipedia.