Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the rape culture is a thing edition

Hi. Waves. I haven't done one of these in about.....ohhhh.....five months or so.

Not that I haven't been pissed off in that time period. I have. Trust.

I just haven't been writing much for a whole bunch of reasons, some of which you may care about but most of which you probably don't, so I'll spare you the details.

Mostly I am just really fucking tired of arguing with people online, and have found other ways to more productively channel my energies.

But alas, I am here today. Pecking away. I have work I need to get done, and am trying to multitask, which is one of my actual superpowers. Hooray ADHD. Use your powers for good, you guys.


Rape Culture is SO OBVIOUSLY A THING

Hi. I'm so tired of explaining this one. To friends, to strangers, to co-workers. It seems like every week, there is some new breaking story of some man in some position of power or influence or fame who is being accused of sexual harassment at least, aggravated rape at worst. I could list them here for you, but that would be a really long fucking list, and at this point I am truthfully more surprised when a story breaks that ISN'T about some dude treating women like crap.

There are all these people who think that at some point, it'll be a tipping point in terms of the current presidential administration. I don't. His fans/followers/voters/base voted for him knowing exactly who he is and was and has always been, and I don't anticipate there being anything that could sway them. Certainly a settlement with a porn actress about an affair he conducted with her while his third wife was pregnant won't do it.

Stop waiting for people to do the right thing. Stop waiting for Congress to do the right thing. There are probably a whole bunch of men in those hallowed halls who've done the same or worse, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on their moral authority.

I am sick and tired of the selective outrage, of the immediate defense of the accused based on whether he is funny or good with a football or OMG YOU GUYS HE IS MY FAVORITE ACTOR EVER or political affiliation. This shit transcends everything. Culture, class, religion, race, all of it.

It is societal.

The pessimist in me, knowing that the vast majority of women I know have dealt with this stuff in one degree or another, suspecting that the vast majority of men I know get a little more uncomfortable with the Aziz Ansari accusations than the Harvey Weinstein ones because they're a bit more familiar, feels like our generation isn't going to be the one that fixes this. We may be irredeemable.

That's not to say that individuals can't atone for the harms they've done, learn, do better, all that jazz. They can. But as a generation, this just might be the thing we're remembered for. Which is great.

Generation X - #metoo

We've got to be better parents than ours were, we HAVE to teach our kids better. We have to raise our sons to value autonomy and consent and healthy, reciprocal relationships. We've got to stop making women's bodies commodities, we've got to stop teaching little girls that when a boy chases you it is because he likes you. We have to, or we're destined to allow this shit to perpetuate.

In which case, we'd be known historically as the generation of #metoo that did nothing.

That would be even worse.

Whitewashing history, with a song a dance
Holy crap the justifications people will use to fall in love with a musical. Yeah, I get it. Hugh Jackman is a great entertainer. Musicals are one of my all time favorite genres of film.

The Greatest Showman is a fictionalized story loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum, and by loosely based, I mean they trivialized or removed entirely his horrid racism, the fact that he was a slaveowner who went to extreme measures to make sure he could keep his slaves in free states. He objectified anyone different, profited on the differently abled, abused animals and more.

But that tap number. So good.

Jesus.

Yeah, sure...some people know these things about him and will be able to separate the movie that is so fictional it should not have any association with real life people, who'll use it as a jumping off point to do actual research about what a monster he was....but most people won't.

Most people will go, fall in love with the shiny dude on the screen, celebrate the positives of the film, never bother to learn the truth, and have their impression of this actual historical nightmare be completely warped.

This, by the way, is how we got into the political mess that is 2018. Warped history. White washing. Ignoring all the terrible things and upselling the "good" ones with a catchy song and dance.

People being falsely educated about an actual historical character isn't a fun family movie experience, it's really fucking dangerous.

Ugh.

It's almost time for another reminder of the power of privilege
The days are ticking by and it is almost February, when some really awful stuff happened last year.

Well. More specifically, when some really awful stuff came to light in a public, ugly way.

I still won't tell the story because it isn't mine to tell, but I'm dreading the narrative that I know is coming.

We all lost something, sure.

Some of us lost a lot more.

Some people risked their financial security, the welfare of their families, to stand in their truth.

At the end of the day, though, the reason we lost that thing isn't the fault of those who shined the light. It isn't.

It couldn't be.

Even the ultimatum that so many have held up as evidence of how it was the fault of those who spoke up...it isn't. It wasn't.

When you give a person in power a choice between doing the right thing and running it into the ground and they choose to run it into the ground, that choice is not the fault of those who called it out.

It is not.

That choice rested, as it usually does, in the hands of privilege.

You can tell a lot about people in a hurry in these situations, about where their loyalties lie, about what they value the most, about whether biases dominate their assumptions. I have no regrets about where I stood back then. I have no regrets about where I stand now.

I'm still mad as hell, though.

And I'm pretty sure I'll never stop being disappointed in people.

What I am rarely, though...is surprised.

This 2018 version of me...still fueled by coffee and rage.

Monday, January 8, 2018

To New Beginnings or something like that....

It's January. You know...that time of the year when everyone half heartedly resolves to be better versions of themselves for however long that lasts.

I don't really think we should make resolutions for one reason. It's a simple one, really.

Most of us suck at keeping promises we make to ourselves.

I'm including myself here, so spare me the lecture.

I mean, I'm all for self improvement, don't misinterpret my words. I just don't happen to see much utility in doing it just because the date on the calendar changed.

Change because you really want it, because it will improve your health, because it will strengthen your relationship, not because someone selling something on TV told you there was a sale this month.

As for me, I'm giving keto a shot. I started before the holidays, actually, presumably because I enjoy torturing myself. And because I'd rather eat sadness than chocolate.

FOR REAL I need some chocolate.

I'm not doing it for vanity or for the number sewn into my pants to diminish. I'm doing it because my pancreas needs me to.

And it's okay.

I mean, you can eat so much cheese and bacon and avocados. I've taken to snacking on handfuls of almonds and started wondering who the hell I think I am.

I promised myself that I would try to paint my nails once a week, again not for the benefit of anyone on the planet except myself. I want to make sure that I'm forcing myself to do something nice for ME. Because I spend just about all my time taking care of other people, signing up for more and more volunteer projects, taking on more at work, and generally being so busy that I can't see straight.

Truth, though?

That's how my ADHD anxiety ridden brain functions best. I have to stay busy. I HAVE TO, or not a goddamn thing gets done. It really is all or nothing in my life, and there's too many things to get done for me to opt for the nothing side.

Plus, our society is a total fucking trash fire right now, and I really have to keep fighting even if I am worn out because there's this stubborn little voice inside my head that tries to convince me all the time that there are more good people than evil ones and that somehow together we can generate a Care Bear Stare or build a Voltron or something to fix it.

Where are my 80s kids at? You'll get those references.

Anyway, I haven't written here for a while and I probably won't be back for a while because I really am this busy, and one of the things I am doing these days involves FINALLY getting paid to be a sarcastic know it all writer. SO I'm going to do that.

I love you guys. Take care. Be well. Keep fighting.

Oh BTW, this is officially my tenth year as a blogger, which is insane. Peek over at that margin. What the....

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

All I want for Christmas, 2017

This is my ninth annual Christmas list. Which is crazy. Some of you lucky people have been here that whole entire time. OR at least I think you have. I've managed to scare most everyone away over the years, but especially this past one. When this here blog started it was fun and whimsical and full of little tidbits about the kids...and then I became fueled by coffee and rage and thought that maybe this would be the year I start biting people. Which might still actually happen, btw. Year ain't over yet.



2017, the year that was actually a bigger trash fire than 2016. AMIRIGHT.

If you're so inclined, you can read some of my previous lists here. I didn't include them all because let's be honest...no one cares what I wanted five years ago. Not even me.

2016

2015
2014
2013


Yes, I really am an enormous child who writes Christmas lists. Every year around this time I think that I won't do it, and then I remember that it's basically the only tradition I've kept for this many years, soooo...

If this is your first perusal of my wishes, I should warn you that some of the things I want are silly. Some are unrealistic. Some are never even a remote possibility. Some require a Tardis to be built and functional and at my disposal. Some are entirely realistic. It's all random. Like me.

1. I want Congress to pull their heads out of their asses. Nearly all of them. There are a handful of people in there trying to keep it together, trying to do the right thing. Most of them are short sighted selfish assholes determined to do whatever it takes to ensure they get re-elected, totally willing to sacrifice whatever morals they once had in exchange for power and influence. Very few of them actually care about their constituents, but they sure are good at convincing people they do just long enough to get the votes. 

2. While we're on the subject of politics, I am totally in the mood for a coup right about now. A round of impeachments (one won't be enough...) would be okay too. Thing is...it is going to take decades to recover from the damage already done, IF we even can. Yeah, I've started to really think this might be the end of our country as we know it. I promise all the things I want won't be so melodramatic. Or political. Because you know, people are "tired" of politics....except it isn't politics. It's lives. Livelihoods. Safety. Security. Equality. Shit that is so much bigger than politics. If you can ignore what is going on, that's a direct result of the privilege you occupy in this fucked up society. 

3. I really want the DOE not to fuck with loan repayment programs, I really want the tax code not to fuck with people repaying loans or receiving tuition benefits from employment. I really want to live in a world where we don't punish anyone who isn't already independently wealthy for seeking knowledge. I'd love to live in a world where science is respected, where graduate students are encouraged and supported. I want to live in a world where kids can get food at school for free because they won't learn a damn thing if they are hungry. Wait. I said I was going to stop being political, right? There's always #4.

4. Here's some first world shit, okay. Jesus. I want to actually sit down for an hour a week and paint my nails. I don't need to go get manicures. I don't have the extra cash sitting around for that anyway. This is 100% on me, but I need to make time to do it. 

5. I want an uninterrupted chunk of time every day to write or record podcasts. A few hours would be amazing, but I'll settle for anything at this point. As I write this, my three year old is literally perched on my shoulder, squeezing my face with his chubby hands. Oh yeah, I started a podcast. HERE IS THE LINK

6. I want to be able to write an unlimited number of things for work. YOU GUYS I actually found a way to get paid for writing sarcastic shit, and I'm totally happy about this and also really annoyed with myself for not having done it sooner. But I can't flood them with too much content and need to pace myself so that I can keep doing this. 

7. I need more time in general. This past year has been SO busy that it isn't even funny, and it just keeps getting more busy. My way of dealing with all the stress in the world is to do whatever I can to try and help, which right now means that I've signed up to do a whole bunch of work, all volunteer of course...because our society is not designed to actually help people who need it and there sure as shit isn't funding. If you need me, I'll be at a coalition meeting or planning a support group or managing an online photo challenge or attending more trainings or coordinating fundraisers or working bingo. It might take me a second to get back to you, but I will. Because I also restarted my photography business too. FFS.

8. I want a better camera. I need a better camera. I need to make more money before I can buy a better camera. Santa....do your thing. 

9. I want a fancy schmancy wide angle lens to go with that camera. Make it so, fat man!

10. I need a few weekends with nothing to do so I can do some serious binge watching of all the television shows I am now behind on. Like, I need to not feel my legs and have my eyes glaze over and eat nachos.

11. I would love a pause button. My oldest kid is starting the whole process of looking at colleges, will be a senior next year. And even if he's ready, I'm not really. 

12. I need a money tree so that he can go to college without ending up under a mountain of debt like I did. Like I still am. Strike that. I need multiple money trees.  

13. I want to get my sleeve done. I have three tattoos on my left forearm now: the Wonder Woman symbol, a semicolon, and my dad's handwriting. I want a queen bee with a honeycomb background that weaves around all the existing work. I just need...wait for it...time and money. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA 

14. I want a massage, but the kind that actually relaxes me, not the kind that just makes it worse. The last massage I had was YEARS ago, and the masseuse whined about her life the whole time, and I was thinking the entire time that she needed to STFU and give me my money back because I am here for my blissful high priced relaxation, not to be your captive therapist. Of course I didn't say anything because she probably needed to vent, but damn. I've had pockets of tension built up in my shoulders and back since October, and I'm starting to think this might just be who I am now. 

15. I'd like my puppy to eat dog food and stop eating everything else. She's chewed up parts of the siding on the side of the house, the corner of an antique cedar chest, windowsills and more. Her current favorite thing to eat are LEGOs. Doesn't she know how hard that plastic is?!?! Stepping on one is basically the worst thing ever, so how she can voluntarily chew on them is beyond me. Dogs. 

16. I need all my favorite people who live inside my computer to live closer to me. Distance is dumb. I posted a thing about how adults are so quick to blame phones for increased rates of depression in teens, which of course meant that someone had to argue with me (because internet). Here's the deal though....the internet actually helps a lot of us make connections with people we have more in common with than the humans we might interact with on a regular basis in person. Proximity isn't a great predictor of compatibility, at least it hasn't been for me. I've got a ton of issues, and it's taken me forever to find people who understand...and they almost all live in my phone. They've helped save me a few times, so don't argue with me about about terrible phones are. Sigh.

17. While we're at it, could we just build a commune? My husband is pretty handy, plus he can make all the beer. I already cook for a small army. Let's go off the grid somewhere, but still have wifi. The only people who can find us are UPS drivers making Amazon Prime deliveries. Oh, and pizza. We will need pizza. Only the cool people are invited. 

18. I want a custom built spice rack. I cook nearly everything at home and I LOVE me some spices. All the spices. My pantry is teeny and I've been trying to get the handy husband to build me shelving on the door. He still needs to grout the tile on the fireplace and build the mantle though, so I need to have patience. He still hates Pinterest, btw.

19. I need a new purse. I got a crossbody bag a while back that is fine, mostly...but it's a little too big and I don't love the color and it's already showing signs of wear and I'm super picky and cheap (that's usually the limiting factor here). Gray crossbody, moderate size, lots of pockets all with zippers because five kids who think I am a pack mule and I need 17 pens all the time. Shut up. I need them. Sooooo, if you find one of those that doesn't cost more than $30, hook me up.

20. I want still world peace, an end to hunger, freedom for all, true equality and for Citizens United to be overturned. I want Ginsburg to stay on the Supreme Court forever. Someone get her some vitamins immediately. 

Merry Christmas. I guess. 
#stillagrinch

Also, the war on Christmas isn't a thing. It's bullshit drama created by one "news" network (air quotes intentional here), to rile people up.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Another year, without you.

Dear Dad,

It seems like I am forever writing the posts like this one on these days, the ones between Thanksgiving and your birthday.

These days always belonged to you. I don't know why I ever believed that would change once you were gone.

Your birthday is tomorrow. You would have been 65 years old. You would have insisted that you weren't 65 because 65 is old, and you weren't ever going to get old.

You were right, you know....you didn't get old. These days, though, I wish you'd had that chance.

65 never would have meant retirement for you, the consequence of having owned your own business your whole life. You always said you'd probably end up working until the day you died because you'd have to. There was no golden parachute waiting. No pension. Not enough Social Security to survive.

You were right about that too. You went in to the lab the day before you died. Wiped the counters down, tidied up the office, left notes with instructions for those left behind.

I wish you were here tomorrow. I wish you could share this 6 pack of Coors Light with me. I wish you could pretend to refuse the piece of cherry cheesecake that you'd inevitably eat. I wish you'd spend fifteen minutes insisting that you were still 21 years old. I wish you'd get annoyed when everyone started to sing, then let the tiniest hint of a smile out at the end.



I wish.

I wish you were still here. I wish you were here to see your oldest grandson finish his Eagle, I wish you were here to reassure me when he was having trouble healing after his wisdom tooth removal surgery this summer. I wish that you were here to see him eager and excited to begin his college journey soon. I wish it. I wish it for him and I wish it for you. I wish it for me. He needs you right now. He needs to be supported and loved and encouraged. He needs reassured that this thing he loves so much in the world is worthy and important. He needs to know that this path he is intending to walk down will be a rewarding one. He needs reminded that success in life isn't about how lucrative a career is, but about whether it brings him joy and helps others. He needs nudging. He needs to know that he can make a difference in the lives of other people. He needs you.

I wish you were still here. I wish you were here to see how much your oldest granddaughter has overcome this year. I wish that you knew how hard this year has been for her, and how proud I am of her for fighting to stay here. She needs you right now. She needs to know that there are people in her life who don't need questions answered before they love you. She needs to know that there aren't hesitations or reservations, that there are always people who will be there to hold you up. She needs to know that she is loved for who she is, not for who anyone else wants her to be. She needs to be accepted without labels or definitions. She needs you.

I wish you were still here. I wish you were here to watch my middle one transform this year. She was always the one you gravitated towards, the one that gravitated towards you. Your death was the hardest on her, I think, and I think it still is. She asks about you more than the rest. She's nearly as tall as I am these days, not that it's saying much. She joined the track team and ran hurdles this year. She kicked them a few times, crashing and burning on the ground, but she'd get up and hobble to the finish line. Then she'd get up and do it again. She runs them because you did. She shaved quite a bit of time off her triathlon pace this year, and somehow convinced the rest to join her next time. Oh, and she volunteered to play tuba in the band. It's nearly as big as she is. She needs you in the stands, in the audience, on the sidelines. She needs someone to wipe her tears and tell her she can do it. You were always my biggest cheerleader, and she could use you now. She needs you.

I wish you were still here. I wish you were here, sitting in the dinner theater this week when the curtain opens on the first night of the rest of your grandson's life. He was scared to show up to that first audition, afraid he wouldn't be able to read the lines, unsure of what to expect. And he nailed it. This kid, the one who was just a baby when you left, he's amazing. He struggles with so much stuff in this world, but you'd never know it. He's happy, he's mellow, he's giving, he's stubborn and determined to do the things he loves even when it is hard. He makes me so proud, and I can just imagine how proud of him you'd be. He needs to know that there is a place in the world for people who don't fit into the boxes others try and shove him into. He needs to know that it's okay to be different. He needs to know that his passion is important. He needs you.

I wish you were still here. I wish you'd had a chance to meet our last, the one we named after you. I wish that you could see how much better we are at this whole parenting thing this time around. I wish you knew how much he helped me heal, how complete we are with him here. I wish that you could see how much his siblings adore him, and how much he loves them all. I wish that he could grow up in a world where you existed, in a life that included you. I wish that you weren't just stories and pictures in books and on walls. I wish he could crawl up into your lap and insist he isn't tired as he nods off to sleep. He doesn't even know that he needs you, but he does.

It is hard for me to fight off the envy this time of year. I see so many people my age talking about losing their grandparents. Most of them still have at least one parent. The envy is ugly, and I try to push it away. Really, I do. It hurts.

And it's not fair. None of it is fair. I shouldn't have to be here without you. My kids shouldn't have to grow up without you. They shouldn't have to face their upcoming milestones without you here.

It's not fair.

Then again, you were the one who drilled this truth into my brain: life's not fair, and then you die.

And it's true. I just wish it wasn't.

My kids, they need you. I need you.

This year has been a hard one for me. Harder than anyone really understands. There are so many times I have wished you were here to talk to. You could be harsh and abrasive at times, but you always seemed to know when I needed reassured that everything would be okay. No matter what happened, I could always come home. I could always call. You would always help. I've needed that a lot lately, and living in a world without you here sucks.

My kids, they need you. I need you.

The closest they come these days to you is us. I hear your voice in my husband sometimes...especially when he walks through the house turning off all the lights, again. Or when he's teasing the older ones. Or when he talks a big game like a tough guy, then sends me text messages telling me that he's fallen in love with the school the oldest wants to attend.

I hear you in my words, when I'm telling the kids to "do it right or you'll do it twice". When I tell them to make good choices as I send them off into the world for the day. When I quietly tell the oldest one to ignore what everyone else says, that I believe in him. That I always have.

You always come up whenever there are strawberries in the house. You were with me last night when I brought home a fresh tree even though I swore we weren't getting one this year. You told me to get the good one even though it was a little bit more, because even if I hate Christmas sometimes, smelling a fresh tree instantly transports me to a world where I am a little girl again working the tree lot with you, watching you help dreams come true for other families.

I got the tree, Dad.

It's a hell of a tree.

I love you, Dad. I miss you a whole bunch, especially right now.

Happy birthday.

Love,
Kelly

Friday, November 3, 2017

A story about a boy who became a young man, then learned to fly.

Dear Oldest,

I asked you yesterday if you wanted me to write something in honor of the fact that we are hosting your Eagle Scout Court of Honor tomorrow. You said you thought maybe I'd written something, or at least included it in some of the other things I've written, but as it turns out, I haven't said that much about it.

It was long enough ago that you've
changed significantly since this picture
was taken at your Board of Review.

You've been technically done with it now for several months, having your Board of Review so long ago I couldn't even tell you which month it was when it actually happened. We just hadn't gotten around to this formal part because, well, we live in a house with seven busy people. Drumline ate up most of your time in the spring, then it was summer and you wanted to wait until school started because you wanted to be able to invite more of your friends.

As is often the case in our house, we had to just pick a date and start planning. You know as well as I do, we'd be busy doing 17 other things tomorrow if we hadn't just decided to go ahead and send out invitations.

Your dad started working on a slideshow of pictures a few weeks ago. I haven't watched it because I can't. I mean, I will when there are people here obviously, and I'll do the best I can not to cry in front of everyone, but I will probably fail miserably.

You know this about me, though.

Your dad was a Boy Scout. He made it to the rank of Life, the one just below Eagle, before general adolescence and after school jobs and I came along as distractions. I've always said that I tried to get him to finish it, and I think he'd even agree, but it just didn't work out that way.

Before we even had children, we had the conversation about scouting. I'd never been involved, except for one Girl Scouts meeting my parents forced me to attend. They were sewing tiny little pillows. I turned around, walked out the door, never wanting to go back. My brother wasn't a scout. I didn't really know what all was involved, aside from what I saw while dating your dad. We debated whether we'd want our kids to join, especially after the controversies that the organization faced back then.

He was torn. I was sure I didn't want anything to do with the organization.

Then you came along.

As you got nearer and nearer to the age Cub Scouts starts, he grew restless. He was still conflicted, but found himself weighing all the things he had learned and experienced, all the friends he had made. You've heard his stories about the epic 50 mile backpacking trips, especially the one about the bear, more times than you can count. He loved being a Boy Scout.

The compromise was a simple one. I'd agree that you could join, but he had to be involved in leadership. He hesitated, but only for a moment. He wanted it for you that badly.

Little did I know that a decision made purely out of the fondness for his memories would lead us here, over ten years later.

They say that only 4% of kids who join scouting complete the Eagle rank. Out of your original Cub Scout Den, you're the only one who stuck it out until the end. Over those years, you were met with many decisions about what you wanted to do, which way you wanted to go. I think you were about 12 or 13 when you first mentioned that you wanted to finish it. I don't know that you realized just how much work was involved, but you set the goal.

To get there, you had to forgo other things, and some of those things are the things you love the very most in this world. Top of that list? You took a year off of winter drumline to finish up your last few badges and complete your project.

I know that it was probably the hardest decision you've made in your life so far. I know adults who would never be able to give up something they love that much, even if it was only for a year, so that they could complete a goal.

You begrudgingly chose to focus on Scouts, because you knew that the older you became, the harder it would be to finish. Can you imagine trying to get any of it done this year, with the class schedule you have right now? Your dad nudged you in this direction, urged you to learn from his time in Scouting, hoping that you'd make the choice, but left it to you.

We laid that decision at your feet and walked away.

And you did it.

I know how hard it was, seeing your friends go on to Worlds without you. You know what, though? They understood, which is why so many of them will be here to celebrate with you. The drums waited. And you're back now, leading the bass line, going to Worlds this year.

I've always been the peripheral parent to Scouting. Dad has always been the one more involved. I've been just far enough away to watch you grow and mature through the years, in part because of your journey in scouts. You've gone camping in the mountains in the winter. You've gone canoeing and fishing and shooting. You've designed a project to benefit the hospital you've been volunteering at for years. You've developed the discipline it takes to make hard choices, to see the benefit of long term goals. You've learned to write letters to elected officials and draft personal statements. You've put together presentations. You've become a leader for your troop, for your little brother's den.

You've grown up, matured, changed for the better.

You aren't the little boy who started on this path. You're a young man now, and I'm so proud of who you have already become and who you will someday be.

Spending time this week in preparation for this event, I got to really thinking about the Scout Law, and about how much you exemplify the ideals.

Trustworthy. You are honest, even when telling the truth is difficult.

Loyal. You might tease your friends and your siblings constantly, but you'll protect them to the ends of the Earth.

Friendly. You are a social butterfly, finding connections with people in so many different facets of life.

Courteous. You are well mannered and respectful, you understand the importance of gratitude.

Kind. You love big. You always have. It's just who you are. You are a natural caregiver.

Obedient. I've told you on numerous occasions that you broke me in gently as a parent, and I mean it. You have never had a behavior issue that couldn't be fixed by a snack and a nap.

Cheerful. You're an optimist, always seeing the best in people. Even living with me. (ha)

Thrifty. You are diligent about saving towards things you want, and those things are always, always, always instruments.

Brave. You take on new challenges, jumping in with both feet. You aren't afraid to fail, and even if you do, you dust yourself off and learn so that you can do it better next time.

Clean. Literally and figuratively, you're a good kid.

Reverent. Though we aren't a religious family, I've told you from the time you were young that spirituality isn't something tied to a book or a building. It's more than that. It's faith in something bigger than yourself. For you, it's the outdoors, but even more than that, it's music. That's where your center is, where you always go when you need to sort things out. I can always tell when you're working out something in your head, because you end up at the piano playing Mad, Mad World. 

I'm proud of you, sweetie.

I hope that you enjoy your day tomorrow, and I hope that everything you sacrificed to get here was worth it in the end. I love you.

Spread your wings and fly, Eagle.

Love,
Mom

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