14 Mar

My Letter to Rachel

May 29, 2013

Behind every successful child is a great mother.

 

My Dearest Rachel,

Where do I begin?  WOW.  I am soooo proud of you and all of your accomplishments.  Who would have thunk 18 years ago you would be one of the valedictorians of your class?

Rhythm.  Let me start by saying that you have rhythm.  In utero when I was about seven months pregnant, we were in Gatlinburg TN at a James Rogers show and the music was loud and had a beat, you were keeping rhythm to the beat.  Linda Williams also said that when you were at her house dancing with the scarfs that you had rhythm.  Mary Liz and/or Heather said that you were one of the strongest dancers.  You also have a beautiful voice and a beautiful smile.  So keep singing and keep smiling.  No you don’t have to sing behind the curtain.  Come out of your comfort zone like you did in Forensics, keep striving for constant improvement.  It’s okay to get the recognition that you deserve.

Stubborn.  When you were just 3 ½ years old and in Montessori, you already had the stubborn gene that both your dad and I have.  The “I can do it myself, I don’t need any help” attitude.  That trait will take you far.  I remember you sitting on the top bunk, arms and legs crossed because you wanted to wear a particular outfit and I wanted you to wear a different.  I think it was a particular pair of short shorts to a YMCA basketball game.  I told Aunt Lisa to talk to you to try to convince you to change because I knew that I wasn’t going to change your mind.

I wish they could all be Rachel’s.  On two different occasions I heard people say that I wish they could all be Rachel’s.  Those moments make proud parents.  Once was in grade school when you were in Girl Scouts and the other girls had energy that they weren’t able to contain, Mrs. Appleby and the other Girl Scout leaders said that they wished all the girls would be like Rachel.  The second time was when you were playing summer softball for Dan Schuda and Bryce Rothwell.  They came up to us and said that they wished that all of the girls were like Rachel.  I think that they were referring to your drive and respect.

Perseverance.  Now that is your one word to describe you.  It started when you were young, but really came to fruition when you started pitching.  You would be out there pitching and dad’s arm was ready to fall off and he was tired and ready to come in, but you keep going strong.  Practice makes perfect.  Or as Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  Whether it was staying after in volleyball serving or practicing with the JV Team, shooting free throws after basketball, or practicing pitching, you preserved.  Mr. Kozuch said that you had tenacity after he saw you shooting after practice, long after the other girls had gone home.

Aggressive.  It took a long time for you to be aggressive to the point that you weren’t being taken advantage of on the basketball court.  All we wanted was for you to play aggressively to hold your own, so that you wouldn’t get pushed around.  You always played clean and fair, not many fouls, and finally after a lot of preaching played with a little aggression.

It takes a village to raise a child.  Please don’t forget to thank your Nana & Papa, Lisa & Johnny, Josh & Jake and the rest of the family that has helped raise you and support you.  They have always been there and have helped us out.  They have taught you respect and accountability among many other life lessons.  You are lucky to have them so involved in your life.  Thank God for them and let them know that you appreciate all that they have done and will continue to do for you.

Another important lesson is that it’s not so much as to what happens, as to how you handle the situation or how you react to the situation. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.’ By Epictetus.  This has been true for me at work more this past year more than ever before.  A good example of this is when Coach Jimmy Berg didn’t play you because you didn’t talk on the floor.  We don’t believe in quitting.  We abided by his decision even though we didn’t necessarily agree with his opinion.  I think that these two quotes on character sum it up.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are. ~ John Wooden

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~ Helen Keller

Well, I will continue with some more advice.  This is more random than I wanted it, but I need to get to bed, so I will finish this up before your graduation party, but do know this, I’m so very proud of you.  You will go far in life.  Remember to smile, laugh and have fun.  Don’t take life too seriously.  Don’t beat yourself up, there are other people who will do that, so be kind to yourself.  Keep the faith.

I love you Rachel Anna.

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