Sounds Like You
From the moment her charming spirit bounded into my arms, I knew I loved her. Young enough to be my baby sister, we were of no blood relation, but mere acquaintances through my high school cross country team. I held my coach’s three year old daughter in my arms, unable to carry my luggage on to the bus we were about to board for a traveling meet. As I boarded the bus, she buried her head, unyielding to the coos and prods of the other high school girls. She rested perfectly into the pocket that was my shoulder and waist, and slept. She held me as much as I held her, indefinitely assuring her place in my heart as I confirmed my role in life.
Naturally, my investment in children was innate from a young age; I became the oldest of four, and found myself perfecting domestic tasks as a caretaker while my parents worked. Between doing homework and supplementary biking and running workouts hours at a time, I came home to responsibilities that eventually transcended outside of the house. Inevitably, I became the “mom” to my friends, someone they relied on to make the best judgment in any situation (in addition to cooking, baking, and cleaning up their mistakes). I started babysitting consistently for a few families throughout the week and consequently, found myself becoming attached to these kids, these families, as if they were my own.
Having been part of various athletic teams and forging close bonds with friends, an idealized family that was different from my own began to take shape as I adopted “second-families”. This exposure inspired a deep-rooted conception of what an ideal family should look like in my eyes. Consequently, my immediate family inevitably became unfit for that seemingly unrealistic archetype. My family soon became flawed: their mistakes and feeble actions were unjustifiable. I was dissatisfied and disheartened easily, as my expectations were hard to fulfill; as a result, my presence at home and in their lives became very secluded and private.
However, this high level of expectation began to dwindle as my need for attention and support became apparent. Long nights of studying for a full schedule of AP classes after arduous training resulted in a panic level that brought about my vulnerability. I became sick easily, hindering my performance in the classroom and in the middle of my last high school cross-country season; it was apparent that the amount of responsibility I had taken upon myself was overwhelming as the need to perfect each and every task became unfeasible. However, I found encouragement and guidance when the stress that I inherently brought upon myself would cease to fade. I began to accept the need for parenting, and it became clear that my parents were constantly endorsing my achievements and goals with unyielding support and guidance.
I come from a family in which bloodlines do not all coincide. My family is a large community of parents, teammates, mentors, and friends whose unconditional love is ingrained in the purpose of my objectives. Their support is steadfast and uncompromising; they help me to realize my accomplishments when they are abstract in my eyes; in turn, they encourage me to maximize my potential in all respects, despite the obstacles that I may incur. They have inspired me to find the positive in each task that I undertake, be it a homework assignment, test, cross-country practice, or race. To this day, as I lace up my running shoes, hold a pencil in hand, or peer down at a book on my lap, it is not without the strength and vigor of my family at heart.
Although we held no commitment to each other, she inspired my consistent volition to care for others in times of need. Her uncompelled love would ultimately compel my motivation to inspire others to love unconditionally in order to bridge the gap that is fear and trust.