A Journey of a Thousand Miles…

In Family, Life on March 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm

…Begins with a Single Step

Patience in our instant gratification society has become a lost art.  Often times we want to skip the journey just so we can arrive at our destination.  We spend so much of our lives planning and looking towards the future that we sometimes forget to live in the moment and make each day count.

Adjusting to changes that take us out of our comfort zone can be difficult at times.  But the bumps in the road help us appreciate success much more than a life devoid of challenges.

This is the 100th post of Waldo’s Life / Waldo2010.  When I started writing the blog, it had an entirely different purpose, look, feel and tone.  The blog was hastily launched in an attempt to seize the day after experiencing a tragic event with a very close friend.

In all honesty, I started the journey without a plan, a map or an even an idea where it would eventually take me.  Since its inception, I have experienced the highs and lows that make life interesting.  It took some radical life changes to help illuminate the path that I wanted to take.  But without the radical changes, I may never have realized what I really wanted out of life.

Many of us long for a breakthrough moment, but get impatient when it takes longer than we would like, and we give up too soon.  Like most parents, I find the breakthrough moments that my kids have to be particularly satisfying.

When this journey of a thousand miles began, my son was adjusting to a new way of life, and trying to excel in football (his favorite sport since he was old enough to walk).  My daughter was a late developer who walked and talked much later than most kids.  As frustrating as life can be sometimes when things don’t go as planned, it is nothing compared to watching your children struggle to find their way.

Thankfully, both of my kids have had notable breakthrough moments since our journey began.

This morning, my little one ran to the car with her backpack almost knocking her over.  When we arrived at her school, she ran into the school, and then into her classroom.  She was so excited to be in class that she barely said goodbye to me.  She regularly talks about how much she is looking forward to starting Kindergarten next year so that she can go to school every day like her big brother.

The difference in her attitude towards school since the beginning of the year is astounding.  She used to cling to me and cry so hysterically that you would have thought that I was saying goodbye forever.  Little by little, she started to enjoy her days in school.  And now she is at the point where she cried when school was cancelled because of the weather.  She cried when she had to stay home with a fever.  Often times, she asks to go to school on days when it is not even open.  A thousand miles ago, I could never have predicted where this journey would have taken her.

Since she has embraced school, her enjoyment of learning has increased dramatically.  Because she was a late developer, she still has her share of challenges, but you would never know it by the way that she acts or the way that she thinks.

At 4 years old, she can complete a United States map puzzle nearly as quickly as I can.  She knows which states we will be passing through (in the exact order) when we drive back to New York from Texas.  She can recite the names of the kids in her class in alphabetical order, even though her teachers have told us that they don’t do that in class as a rule.  She climbs on the playground with the same confidence as her older brother.

For a kid who didn’t walk until she was nearly a year-and-a-half or talk until she was around two-and-a-half, the progress that she has shown still amazes me on a daily basis.  A thousand miles ago, this progress was beyond my wildest dreams.  The journey was not an easy one, but the results have been very rewarding.

My son has always done well in school, and continues to excel to a level that is beyond anything that I ever achieved.  He has been playing football since he was in Kindergarten, but he wasn’t one of those kids who had the natural ability to succeed even though the desire was there.

To his credit, he has always been very coachable, and has always worked very hard on the football field.  He has progressed every year to the point of being a solid player, but far from dominant.  He was not blessed with the speed to carry the ball or the size to push people around on the line.  Even though he has played on the line since he was 5 years old, he has never looked the part.

This season, nearly 100 kids participated in tryouts.  We had planned for him to land on a team where I could be an assistant coach because I had a relationship with the head coach.  I feared after watching him in tryouts that he wouldn’t make it to the team that we wanted because he performed so well.  On draft day, he was picked before the head coach that I knew could get him.  The head coach thought that he would easily get him because of his size and speed, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The team that picked him ended up being a great fit, and he has never been happier.  His head coach told me that he had him ranked 10th out of 100 kids, and grabbed him early even though he already had already protected the best line in the league.

In previous seasons, my son had started off slowly and gradually got better as the season went on.  This season, with a confidence that I have never seen, he has picked up where he left off and then some.  Going against the best kids in the league in practice, he is more than holding his own.  His head coach has already told me that he won’t be coming off the field on either side of the ball.  A thousand miles ago, when this journey began, I never would have predicted this breakthrough moment.

Unfortunately, we will only get to play with this team for one season, as another journey of a thousand miles is about to begin.  Actually, this journey will be closer to two thousand miles, as we pack up and return to New York for good.

Like the journey that we took nearly two years ago when we decided to move to Texas, this journey will be bittersweet as well.  It will be difficult to say goodbye to the family who is staying here and the friends that we’ve all made since our arrival.  But as the saying goes…“home is where the heart is.”  And though there will be aspects of Texas life that we will miss, our hearts are in New York.

A thousand miles ago, our lives were very different than they are today.  No one knows where we will be at the end of the next thousand mile journey, but I’ll do whatever I can to make it memorable for all of us.

Thank you to those who have followed this journey since it began, and also to those who have started following somewhere along the way.

To paraphrase Natasha Bedingfield – “Today is where this book begins…the rest is still unwritten.”

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