I am currently 20 years old and a junior in college. As time goes on, I'm beginning to take many of life's responsibilities...many things that I've never once even thought about in the past. I am taking a full course load in school, a member of the baseball team, a member of three different academic organizations and work a part-time on campus job. I have a house off campus and have to manage my checking account, savings account, cable bills, electric bills, rent, car payments. I have to be frugal enough in my spending so I have the ability to attempt to eat right and lead a healthy lifestyle for myself.
Growing up, I never had to do these things. I had to make the bed, do the dishes, take out the trash, vacuum (all of which I still do at school of course). I had part-time jobs in high school, and tried as best I could to get good grades in the classroom. But the majority of life's responsibilites were taken on by my parents. They never tried to worry me about things that they deemed worrisome for a teenager. They thought my only responsibilities should be the things that were foremost in my life: family, religion, school, baseball. I had a great core of friends that I enjoyed spending time with and was most stressed out when I had a math test or an english paper due.
Early last semester (January/February) I had a series of two random, unexplained seizures. I missed 2 weeks of class and 3 weeks of practice to see neurologists and to try to determine what was the cause of this. My parents drove me around the state at all hours of the day to try to make sure I was healthy.
Since February, I have been home for a total of about 2 weeks. I was home for 14 hours in May...just enough time to get back from the NCAA regionals, eat a home cooked meal and sleep in my bed. Then I packed the car and drove 12 hours to North Carolina, where I spent the summer living with a host family and playing baseball. I knew no one and nothing about where I was. After the summer season ended in August, I went home for two weeks. I slept a lot, watched a lot of television, and was basically a bum. Then I repacked my car and headed back to school, 3 hours away, to move into my new off campus house with my friends.
Last week I was frustrated because my elbow was bothering me and the trainers had shut me down as a precaution. I knew it wasn't a serious injury but I wanted to be on the field playing fall ball with my teammates, not sitting in the stands charting the radar gun watching them play. I called my mom to complain about it...for 45 minutes. She sat on the other line and listened, giving her two cents here and there. When I was done we hung up and that was it.
My father took on a new job about a month ago managing a bakery in our area. His day starts at 4:30 AM, and he works 6 days a week. It is very difficult for us to have a lengthy conversation because of the hours he works. Most of the time if we contact each other, its just to "check in". I'll tell him about practice, or he'll tell me a story about work. Sometimes I need help with balancing my checkbook, or I need him to tell me how long I should be grilling this steak before it turns into a hockey puck. Last week I had an hour in between classes and decided to try to catch him and talk. He sounded so happy on the phone and when I asked him why, he told me that he'd just gotten off the golf course. His first time playing in over a year...he'd shot a 78. We spoke for a long time about everything- classes, work, baseball, girls. It was the happiest I'd heard him in a while, and the best conversation we probably have ever had.
Last night I chatted online with my little sister. She's 15 years old and just started her sophomore year of high school. She was complaining about the politics of her travel softball team, and how weird her new teachers are. She was telling me all the high school gossip that is going on, and about all the stupid things her and her friends do. I did much of the same to her...complained about professors, complained about coach, complained about girls, told her all the crazy stuff that goes on at college parties (not ALL the crazy stuff, but enough to make it sound like her older brother was the coolest guy around).
I love my school. I love my teammates. I love my friends. I love who I am and where I am and everything about my life. But there is nothing like the love for your family. It is very easy sometimes to let these things get lost in the bustle of life, but it is also very easy to take a step back and come to realizations. This Saturday my team has a scrimmage at a minor league facility about 2 hours from my hometown. It's an all-day event, a 27 inning affair that starts at 9 am. When you aren't scheduled to play, Coach allows you to sit in the stands and spend time with your family if they are in attendance. It could be for 6 hours, it could be for 20 minutes. My parents and sister are making the drive to the stadium to watch the day, no matter how long and dull it may end up being for them. And since I've seen them for a total of 14 days in the past 7 months, I look forward to being able to sit in the stands at the ballpark and spend time with my family. Because for as much fun as I have with my friends at school, there's nothing like being with your family.
With all that being said, my main point is that for all those high school players out there reading this that are on edge, yearning for college life and wanting to get out of the house (like I was at that age), I hope you also realize the importance of the love and support of your family. I encourage everyone to head over to the Golden Threads forum and read Coach May's post entitled "The Old Oak Stump" to see a much better example of what I am trying to say