This morning my middle son, Isaac, left for a college application seminar at his school. I still find it hard to believe, Isaac-the little boy with the infectious laugh is now a senior in high school and about to pen that rite of passage-the college essay. When my kids and I embarked on this project to explore all 50 states 11 years ago I hadn't even thought about how all these adventures and memories might come together one day to paint their own self-portrait they present to the world. What will he write about? I have no clue....but I have hope.
I hope... he will write about America and the beauty in it's diversity that he has seen with his own eyes-from understanding the heart of the Native American peoples to the myriad of other cultures that found their way to America in search of freedom.
I hope... he will write about how he was moved by struggles that might have felt foreign until he came face to face with where they took place and to whom. Hopefully inspired by slavery and segregation, the plight of new immigrants and those who fought for freedom risking it all to form a new nation.
I hope... he will write about our nation's history and what it means to experience it where it took place, to internalize the experience and how he made it his own.
I hope... he will write about what it truly means to be an American, to live and explore the land of the free and home of the brave, to appreciate the individual freedoms that we hold dear and the sacrifices those before us have made to make it so.
I hope...he will write about what it means to be a family, learning who we are and what we are and what we mean to one another through the lens of our shared experiences.-through joy and laughter and song, and through sadness, struggle, and fear.
With tears in my eyes, this mom can only hope that I have done right by my son and all these wonderful gifts I have tried to give him have found their way into his heart and that he will be able to draw on them to show the world who he really is.