I had the immense privilege of scooting up to Nashville with my 17-year-old daughter a few days ago. Any of you with uber social, type-A, forever on-the-go teens will understand why I considered it a privilege. My days with her are numbered and precious. She is a rising high school senior, discerning her career and college choices, with high hopes most days to adventure as far from home as we will allow (New York? California? Hawaii?) - until of course the reality hits that she will be home solely for Christmas and summer breaks. Only then does she bring her aspirations a little bit closer to home. We checked out Vanderbilt University on Monday and were both duly impressed. It is now one of her top 2 "dream schools." I love that she sets her aspirations sky high. Now continues the very real and daunting task of working toward such lofty goals. I have no doubt she will give it her all.
Aspirations aside, a visit to "Music City" required a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame. I must confess, I am not much of a country music fan, but most of the radio stations in my daughter's car are programmed to the twang. So to satisfy her bucket-list desires, we "did the thang." We walked the halls of glass-encased blue suede shoes and blinged-out leather suits and ENDLESS varieties of cowboy (and cowgirl) boots. We saw Taylor Swift's swarovski-encrusted guitar and Glenn Campbell's denim everything and countless CMA and Grammy winner's beaded and feathered gowns. We had FUN together, exploring the streets of downtown Nashville, feeling oh-so all American, sweating through our clothes and seeking out air-conditioned respite in hotel lobbies and coffee shops. We were tired by dinner time. Okay, maybe that was just me. Point is, we had fun together. Emphasis on the together.
Without a doubt, the MOST fun I had was holding my daughter "captive" for a day and a half. Just the two of us in the car, at each meal, snapping silly photos. If you are ever in need of some quality conversation with your child, 1) secretly sabotage their phone battery, and 2) take them somewhere (preferably far, far away) in the car. There's something about staring straight ahead at random landscapes and grey asphalt that opens the floodgates of valuable communication. You certainly can't force connection. But creating opportunity for it doesn't hurt. Make no mistake, we talked plenty of ordinary in between the extraordinary. But the few topics we did broach that had relevance and depth and emotion are conversations I will treasure always. I am amazed by this girl. Her insight and her character and her zest for adventure are beyond.
One thing my daughter has always sought my advice on (beyond the mundane "which outfit should I wear?" to which she always chooses the opposite), is "what should I do with my life?" and "where do YOU want me to go to college?" My reply is always the same: "whatever GOD wants you to do" and "wherever GOD wants you to go." I am more than confident that He has a perfect plan for her. (And if you have to pass the buck to somebody it might as well be the Creator of the Universe.) I remember clinging to the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 throughout much of my college career, scribbling it in most every notebook and taping it to my mirror: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Now I cling to this promise for her, and pray that she does the same. I do know that wherever she ends up, that place will be the luckiest campus on earth. Here's hoping we get to adventure to a few more "far away" places together before she has to choose.
Keywords: Jeremiah 29:11, Nashville, Vanderbilt, college visit, go with all your heart, mother/daughter road trip
Great writing,great pictures!
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