We had a toy each, mine was red, his was yellow. Hours were spent in what would be the basement of our home, but was only a huge cavern at this point. I remember cookouts every night, shivering next to my brother in our pop-up camper late into fall, and our first night sleeping in the frame of our New England Saltbox home. I remember stars. I remember lumberjack flannel shirts and my godfather hoisting me on his shoulders.

This is what I remember. This is what sits atop these pioneer dreams of mine.

My parents are starters. For as long as I can remember they have started. New ideas. New plans. New ideals. New practices. They partnered with other starters and were supported by more along for the journey. No idea was left unthought and even if every idea wasn't completely successful, it was tried. I remember my dad telling me never to ask how, but to ask why because then the how would be answered. I still ask why and this bothers me because I somehow never learned that the how takes longer to learn than the why.

Someone asks me the other day what things I learned from my parents, what things I keep with me, and I hesitate. Not because I don't know; no, I am acutely aware of the DNA pulsing through me, the sins, secrets, and successes that are carried through generations. I hesitate because to answer this question means to acknowledge that like an arrow in the hand of a warrior, I'm to hit a mark the archer can't hit without me. This frightens me because failure frightens me. To start and not finish scares me.

I'm to take these pioneer hearts and can-do attitude, this thrift and frugality, this entrepreneurial spirit and this idealism into my world. I'm to become an archer, albeit without arrows of my own yet, I train to hit the mark now. This is what I take with me from my parents. This is the arrow I am shaping with my life.