I remember walking into the Student Loan office at grad school and signing my name on that little line. Just a signature, no big deal, but wow - I walked out of the room in complete shock. Did I actually just borrow that much money?
Who knew I would do it again 5 years later to buy a home for my daughter and myself. The amount would be several times higher than the student loan but the impact would be equally as stunning. Yes, I have a home - a place to raise my daughter and fill with laughter and love. Yes, it will be a place that provides protection and refuge as well as celebrations and community. Regardless of the investment and the benefits, it was a lot of money. Signing my name required a bit of courage.
I rarely think twice about signing my name these days. I sign checks, credit card receipts, school assignment folders. The only time I use a pen is when I sign my name.
Lately I have taken my signature a bit more seriously.
I had second thoughts about signing the paperwork for my daughter's paternity test. The decision to put my name on that form is one that weighs heavily on my mind to date.
At summer's end, I had to sign another form that gave me pause - another form regarding my daughter and her life, her future, and her family. I took this form very seriously; perhaps more seriously than was necessary or proper. That said, it was about my daughter - it was something that needed to be given great thought and contemplation.
Did I sign this paper as quickly as I signed the paternity forms...
no. I did not. This one had meaning and responsibilities and depended so much on a trust I didn't feel.
I didn’t need to trust to sign the form; I wanted to trust to sign the form.
I wanted to know that my signature on that line - the signature that will alter my daughter's life in big and small ways is the right and best decision.
I wanted to know that it was equally as important and about love to the other signatory.
I didn’t need to trust; I wanted to trust.
I sign my name every day - signing that paper was not a big deal. Just a pen swipe and everything was done. Blue, black, green, red, the color didn’t matter.
But for me, for that paper, the weight of that signature was great - the decision to sign was significant. The changes resulting from it are playing out; they are impacting far more people than I could have imagined, and to date, I am not comfortable with the situation. I signed a paper trusting that it was the best way to move foreword with the most stability and greatest love. I continue to trust that this was the best move despite the unsettled feeling in my gut and the discomfort in my heart.
We all sign our names daily. We sign a plethora of papers and receipts and rarely give much thought to the paper being signed. And every once in a while we are presented with a paper that requires a signature; a paper that will change lives in big and small ways; a paper that will serve as the drop of water that creates a flood somewhere around the world.
Today my brave daughter is mustering herself and pushing aside nerves that kept her up late last night and walking head held high into her future – into change she doesn’t want – with the full understanding that my signature on that piece of paper is making her do this and other things she doesn’t want to do and meet people in which she has no interest.
And I sit at my desk contemplating that signature. That signature that weighed heavy on my heart. The reality that I signed something about which I felt and feel such discomfort because I honestly believe in that child of mine and her ability to endure and be brave – and I believe in her mom and the love that is shared.
I took a chance knowing that love works wonders – so I signed despite my discomfort. I signed believing in love.