I am the mother of 5 boys. Not just any 5 boys though. These are 5 adventure seeking, double dog dare you, adrenaline junky kind of boys. These are the kind of boys that give you premature gray hair, heartburn, and panic attacks when the phone rings. Most days I love it. Some days... well, some days are different. They push me though. They have encouraged me to try everything once, and they have talked me into more than a few crazy adventures. There have been pets of every variety including hawks, boating dares, cliff jumps, rope swings, and black diamond ski runs. There have been broken bones, concussions, 3rd degree burns, and too many bloody noses to count. Through it all, these boys of mine are always cheering each other (and me) on with the chant that they know cannot be refused.... SEND - IT, SEND - IT, SEND - IT! Its annoying, but effective, and I am not going to lie, I love it.
This morning one of my 17 year old twins (Brady) is skiing at the resort where his older brother (Hyatt) is a snowboarding instructor, most certainly trying all of the crazy, and making sure to try to out do his brother in everything he can, and my other 17 year old (Coleman) is giving a presentation for the final cut to a huge college scholarship he has been dreaming of for years. I am sitting in the hotel room trying to decide which kid I should be more worried about. Its a pretty even tie.
Coleman is presenting today on why everyone should learn to do a backflip on skis, and how it will change your life. Yep. That is what he chose to talk about. He is going to try and convince a panel of big time donors that they should all attempt a backflip on skis because it will ensure success in everything else in life. And you know what... I think he might just be right. His presentation outline goes like this: PREPARATION, TAKE OFF, EXPERIENCE, LANDING, and CELEBRATION, and he has pictures of himself for each step. Its all related to life, and setting outrageous goals, and how to reach them. My favorite part is the bit on EXPERIENCE. He explains how in the middle of the flip you have to keep your eyes open or you will miss the best part. When you are upside down in the middle of the rotation, the craziest part of it all, you have to just be in the moment, not thinking about the take off, because its over, and not thinking about the landing, because its not time for that yet... just enjoying the experience! Eyes wide open. He has these big old green eyes that bulge out of his head when he describes it. He's going to have those people eating out of the palm of his hand. He's not faking it either, that is really him. He is an eyes wide open kind of guy. All my boys are. They get it from their Dad.
So I am sitting here reflecting on how fast these boys grew up, and how much fun they are, and how grateful I am for the ride they have taken me on, and the adventures they are about to set out on all by their big selves. I have learned way more from them than they have from me. They have both worked their butts off to get in to the colleges they want to attend, and I am proud of that, but I am most proud of how they have done everything in life with total enthusiasm and authenticity. They have lived all of it with eyes wide open, and with big old grateful hearts. They are big, and loud, and sometimes they just flat wear me out, but I will be forever thankful for the sound of their voices yelling "SEND IT MOM!" when I hesitate. So today, as I dropped them off at each of their separate adventures, I yelled out the window "SEND IT KID!" as they walked away. And you know what... I think they will.
My hope for any of you still reading is to be fearless today, and always. Enjoy the experience. Keep your eyes wide open so you don't miss the best parts. The take off has already happened, and the landing is still a few seconds, (or years) away, so just open your eyes and take it all in. Life is short, and it happens fast, but if you pay attention... its totally amazing!