rowan in costumeI have been fortunate to know some truly remarkable women in my lifetime.  Everyone one of them have brought something inspirational to my life, whether it’s laughter, sage advice,  hard truths, or the immeasurable comfort of knowing just what kinds of champions I have in my corner.

But even among the outstanding group of women who have  made my life better just for knowing them, there is one young woman who is truly exceptional, as much for what she has accomplished in her young life as for the fact that I am privileged to call her my friend.

rowanI first met Rowan Borchers when she was 12 years old.  She is the daughter of a friend of mine, and I liked her instantly.  She was smart, funny, and engaging, not like other kids I’d met who were her age.   We would go to dinner and the movies whenever possible and talk about all kinds of things, from the books she loved, to travel, to relationships.  When she told me at 18 that she was pregnant, I was shocked.  It wasn’t what I wanted for her at that age; I wanted her to explore the world, find out who she was, have the kinds of passionate, heartbreaking  love affairs that poets write sonnets about, to create a start-up that sold, later, for millions and landed her on the cover of FORTUNE Magazine, to cross the Arabian desert on camel and write a best selling novel about her experiences that later goes on to star Jennifer Lawrence in an Academy Award winning performance.

scottincapI also know better than to underestimate Rowan, because  instead of quitting college, she committed to a full class load, and is about graduate with a 3.4 grade point average with a degree in English Literature. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been to juggle classes and all that goes with preparing for a four year degree, let alone be a newlywed and mother to a new baby,  but at just twenty years old, Rowan has worked hard to create the kind of family she always dreamed of having, despite less than perfect circumstances.

rowanandkevin

Shortly after she discovered she was pregnant, she married Kevin Borchers, a chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute and who currently works in Phoenix at Cafe 247.   They had been engaged to be married long before Rowan got pregnant, but kept the engagement to themselves at first because they felt their parents would argue that they were “too young” to get married.  In fact, Rowan admits, complete strangers have a hard time keeping their comments to themselves when they see Rowan’s young family out on a date, but Rowan says that she is okay with that.  “They don’t know me and they don’t know anything about me”, she says, with characteristic maturity, “so they don’t know that I am about to graduate from college and move to Ecuador where Kevin and I already have tons of job offers waiting for us”.

scottinglassesI’m not crazy about the idea that this girl I love so much is going to be so far away from me, but I also know that Rowan is unlike anyone else I have ever met in my life.  At just twenty years old she already possesses so many of the characteristics I wish I had at 53.  As a child of divorce she decided that she wanted to create a safe, loving environment for her son, and she knew she loved her baby’s father enough to want to make a marriage work,  so instead of living together, or raising the baby on her own, she decided to give herself the family she always wanted.  Even though I have never met Kevin or their son Scott, I can see from the pictures of them that they are all crazy about each other.

rowansfamilyAnd no wonder. As the glue that holds this family together, I know Rowan brings the light of her blinding smile and the warmth of her enormous heart to everything she does, and I have no doubt that when she gets to Ecuador where her mother and stepfather are relocating, she will take the country by storm.  As a graduate of the culinary institute, Kevin has restaurants lining up to hire him, and Rowan plans to use her English degree to teach at the local university, plus she hopes to open a yoga and belly dance studio in the next few years.

I never had children of my own. I was never brave enough to think that I was emotionally equipped to make the changes I needed to make to break the legacy of dysfunction I grew up in.  Despite all that Rowan has accomplished, I think her commitment to her marriage and her child are the things that make me admire her the most.  I had a hard enough time getting through college, let alone adding roles as wife and mother to the mix at the same time.  This 20 year old woman, who I love as much as if she were my own child, has shown this grey haired old lady that there are women in the world who can make the changes they want to make in their lives, and they can do it with a flat stomach in a belly dancing costume with a 3.4 grade point average.

rowanscottI’ve wracked my brains for a way to say what I wanted to say to Rowan about her future, but the words don’t come easily because she’s already so much more grown up than I feel I may ever be.  So I found this Rascal Flatts song to share, because the song says everything and more about what I hope for Rowan and her future.

Rowan, this is my wish for you……I also hope you know how much I love you…..

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
But more than anything, more than anything
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.
I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.
But more than anything, yeah, more than anything
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish. Yeah, yeah.
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish (my wish, for you).
This is my wish (my wish, for you)
I hope you know somebody loves you (my wish, for you).
May all your dreams stay big (my wish, for you)
rowaninpool
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