Things to Do - Eavesdrop on Strangers

day1 (29 of 33)

A few weeks ago, as I chilled on my bolster (love the bolster!!) waiting for yoga class to begin, I overheard two 60ish-aged women in conversation. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but it's hard to ignore conversations in the quiet of a yoga room (where zen and gossip intermingle). Anyways, their discussion ended up having a huge effect (or is it affect?) on me. I can't quite get it out of my mind.

It went something like this (and, hopefully, I'm not divulging any Arlington secrets here, but if I am, I hope Women A and Women B know that I think they're awesome and I'd love to be their friend one day):

WOMAN A - "So, did I hear somewhere that your son is going to Harvard next year?"

WOMAN B - (sigh) "Yes, he starts in the fall."

WOMAN A - "Well that's a big deal, isn't it? Harvard?"

WOMAN B - "It is. It is. And on one hand, I'm proud of his perseverance. He was wait-listed last year and didn't get in off the wait list. But since he had his heart set on going there, he took a year off to try again. And this time it worked out for him."


"On one hand, I'm really proud. But on the other, I just don't understand giving up a year of your life for one school. He could have had a great time at one of other colleges that accepted him. It just doesn't make sense to me."


"But, truthfully, as much as I love them all. I rarely understand any of the decisions my children have made."

And there it was, like a lightning bolt of truth, right before we started downward dogging. On one hand, I obviously knew that my children will have their own lives and dreams. But yet, there was something profound in hearing from a first hand source that my children's decisions might be completely different than any map or advice I would give them.

And this is how parenting is supposed to go. Maybe, for a chosen few, that's Harvard. Or cooking school. Or a gap year. Or (gasp) no college at all.

Who knows? I can't control it. I can't plan it. All I can do is show them why I think what I think, why I love what I love, and why I do what I do. And from that . . .

So I keep Woman B's words in my head, constantly. Because, regardless of what or who your children become, the important part is to always love (and accept) them. Even is accepting means disagreeing.

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