Tomorrow morning we will be taking Amelia to RIT as she begins to create and build her life; her own life; life without us and in her own way. Oh God. I am having an anxiety attack. The control freak in me is really doing flips.
But this post is not about me. Tomorrow I will share with you the experience of leaving her at school but for now, I would like you know my daughter Amelia and for some insight, she has allowed me to share an excerpt from her college entrance essay.
I am the driver of the struggle bus.
They say that which does not kill you makes you stronger, and I believe that is true. The struggles that each of us face form the core of who we will become. I know these experiences will carry me through my life on which ever path I take, starting with my college career.
I come from a very close knit Italian family. We always rely on each other for guidance and support and some of the best advice I have ever received has come from my family. One family member to whom I have always felt especially close is my cousin Peter, an accomplished professional organist, who had spent his life perfecting the talent that he loved. I was still quite young when it became know that Peter faced a serious health challenge. Watching him struggle to do his best to fight his illness has given me the drive and desire to be the best that I can be and to deal with whatever comes my way.
Struggles can be found in all aspects of life, even in the things that we love. I love basketball and all that comes with it: the thrill of the game, the camaraderie of the team and the intensity of the level of physical and mental efforts it takes to be successful. I have played the game since I was in the fourth grade, both at school and with AAU teams, and it hasn’t always been easy. I have broken my pelvis, my ankle (at the same time), too many fingers to remember and it all peaked with an elbow to my side causing a one and a half inch tear in my spleen! I was not allowed to take part in any physical activities in any form for months. When I finally returned four months later, I was afraid and gun-shy but, most importantly, unable to engage in contact. When I was at my lowest point I thought of Peter. I was inspired by how he kept his strength and motivation to play his music and be the person that we all loved. I used that to motivate me to get back into the game both physically and emotionally. I felt empowered that I was able to overcome my fear and rise to the challenge and get back on the court.
Now I am about to face a different type of challenge as I prepare to make a decision that will affect me for the rest of my life. Choosing a path that I want to be on for success and happiness in my life is a monumental decision for a seventeen year old. As I make this decision I will look back at all the experiences that have made me who I am today. This brings me back to my cousin Peter. Although he fought a long, hard fight, he died of AIDS on June 29th, 2008. I was, of course, devastated by his death, but I was determined to try to somehow take something positive from this whole experience. Remember, I truly do believe that that which does not kill you makes you stronger. So I got strong. I used his strength and courage to inspire me to persevere in basketball and will again call on his memory to help me make the right decision regarding my future. I have always loved the sciences and I know I want to major in chemistry. This will open up many opportunities for careers. I could go into research for AIDS, become an orthodontist or be an anesthesiologist. I know that whatever I choose to do with my life, the things I have experienced will carry me through any hardships I may face. And these things are central to who I am.
I love you Amelia.