Winning Essays, Part 2

The funny thing is that I not only had one with some of my personalities, I had another one that got the personalities that were left over. It’s a great mixture of me, so I guess I got what my father had always hoped for me! Hey Dad! I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

By Lynne Swanger:
All too often the immediate impact of the moment causes the creative forces within us to clog — just when we need to say it the most, we are least able. Age has taught me that time and distance gives voice more volume — and so I wrote in retrospect, giving a collection of my personal journal entries to each of my daughters when they graduated from college. I’m sure they won’t mind if I share a few:

Many years ago you asked me for a specific gift, you wanted a pair of “buckle shoes” to wear with a new party dress. You wanted them so badly, but you were so afraid. “New shoes are slippery,” you said. “They are hard to walk in, and I might fall.” I remember how tightly you held my hand as we left the shoe store, you were drawing on my strength for your courage. While a part of me will forever miss that little hand in mine, you have finally let go. Today I want to give you another special gift; the confidence that I have in your ability and capability. I can never claim any of the glory for your accomplishments, for all that you have become is a direct result of your own efforts. Let go and fully enjoy the new role that you have taken on, you are now responsible for yourself, and to yourself — and you will be a tough critic. Yes, new shoes are hard to walk in — and you might fall — but you know how to get up.
No one, not even a mother, can prepare another person for life. I won’t tell either of you to walk the way I have. First of all, you’d probably hate it, and besides, this is my path. I’m not finished walking yet, so I don’t know where I will end up. Don’t follow me. No, I am not sorry that we have taken on separate lives — we are all unique. My wish is that each of you are able to remain alone until you are comfortable with yourselves, until you like being alone, until you find your own path — and then — only then — I hope that you are able to share your space.

I will always remember the care and love that went into the making of your first doll cradles. You were both too young to realize, but this was your father’s first attempt at woodworking. He wanted to give you something special that Christmas, something he designed and made himself. One of the dictionary definitions of cradle is, “A place where something begins”; and still another, “A framework for support and protection.” I hope that as you have grown older and outgrown the original purpose of the gift, you will remember that your family is like that small wooden cradle — the seed of your beginnings and an eternal source of protection and support.
Women Raising Sons

Submitted Anonymously:
This story is from our son’s 10th year:
Since he was 7 or 8, our Nathan wanted to be a police officer. At 10 years of age, it seemed one of the most attractive prospects of the job was putting handcuffs on the bad guy. So he began looking forward to spending his money for a pair, a REAL pair, which would cost about $35.

I had come up with a way to keep him from using his spending money on every idea he thought of. The rule was, he had to state his intention of any purchase over $1.

If it was a reasonable desire, after three weeks of waiting for that item, he could buy it. When he told me he wanted to buy a pair of handcuffs, I asked him whom he planned to handcuff. “You,” he said with all the seriousness possible for a boy his age. Of course, I told him he wouldn’t have a lot of fun then, because I didn’t want to be his victim.

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