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Hibernation and Boosts

1 Apr

You know, when bears awake from hibernation it takes them a minute to get situated. I mean they just don’t jump out of their cave and be like Yogi where are you at?! They have a sleepwalking period where they kind of ease out of it.

And this is where I’ve been … hibernating writer hiatus. I hadn’t planned it of course, I hadn’t planned any of them. Certain life events hit you harder than others and it takes you a minute to rebound from certain setbacks or bouts of depression. Just they way it is sometimes.

But life keeps moving even if you’re standing still.

After catching my breath, and as I was revving up to make my comeback, this unexpected series of unfortunate life events of blockbuster proportions landed on us all and we found ourselves in different roles with added workloads and no MacGyver-like gadgets to help save the day.

And I was okay. I mean I had concerns, just like everyone else. But because of the rough patch, a different perspective provides the specs for me on this. The Resilience. I was able to find that special place when community connection seemed to have been put on pause.

There’s comfort in knowing that many selfless people like doctors, nurses, janitors, educators, farm workers, grocery clerks and other community members stepped up to bat for a lot of people. Humanity found in the little crevasses of the cities brings hope to a profoundly troubled time, like when you hear of the college student down the street buying groceries for the elderly lady in the pink apartment building, or the teachers in a small caravan of cars driving through the neighborhood to say hello to their students, whom they hadn’t seen in a couple weeks, or to the multiple chalk artists taking to sidewalks across town trying to brighten someone’s day, or the Italian restaurant owner 15 minutes away giving away free spaghetti and meatballs with breadsticks because he felt the need of his community when there wasn’t much left at the markets.

It’s the small things that can create cataclysmic shifts. And so I find that practicing gratitude creates the little boosts needed for the big take-off.

Boosts.

That’s where I found myself. Returning to my Word of the Year and finding that I had picked the one that was right for the moment … Boost!

Everyone could use one, especially now. A physiological, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual uplifting And you can always get that from the good spirit of people, the grace they show for others, as well as for themselves, and these you can find in the tiny cracks and crevasses of communities. The feel-good stories that don’t always make the front page, but should definitely highlighted.

So keep your eyes open and when you find the feel-goods share them. Their impact could be what someone needs to come out of hibernation.

Buen Camino my friends!

No Shame in Their Game… Apparently

19 Jan

What’s done is done. Now we need to move on.

That’s a load.

You can’t clean up if there is no culpability and just blatant lies on top of lies.

Everybody cheats. Steroids. Sign stealing. Everybody does it. That’s the excuse. Steroids are just wrong. Period. And sign-stealing? Everyone tries to get the upper hand and figure out the pattern. Everyone tries to see what the catcher is trying to communicate to his pitcher. Absolutely.

Not everybody sets up a live feed at their home stadium to decipher the catcher’s signs, then relay them via text message or monitor to the dugout, who then signals batters by Morse code on trash cans while they’re up to bat.

You’ve heard about it by now … Houston Astros. The most hated team in baseball right now, and it’s well-deserved. Boston is a close second until we decipher how much Cora stank is on them. I’d bet a lot seeing how Alex Cora, the main engineer of this lying, cheating, was a coach on both teams.

A little asterisk by the Astros name for their 2017 World Series appearance and they could care less. It’s what happens when you only give them an asterisk. And that’s not even official, I think fans did that. It’s meaningless. The consequences are small or non-existent. One guy got thrown under the bus. One and he deserved it. Alex Cora. But he wasn’t the only one involved in this cheating scandal. Sure a couple others were fired, but they’ll get rehired and how is that gonna teach them anything? Where’s the accountability?

Many people question whether the MLB will do the right thing and ban Cora for life, and hand out player suspensions. Or better yet vacate the title. They do it for steroids, but the MLB are spineless, greedy pimps who think it might hurt the game.

Ironic.

But the fact is this slap on the wrist weak punishment for disgracing the game and then bragging about what a quality team they were all along is disgusting.

The problem is Houston has got no shame. They had Fan Day at their stadium, but I don’t think there was a seminar on “How we cheated our way to the top, and so can you boys and girls.”

They cheated. We know they cheated. They know we know they cheated. And the MLB is just sweeping it under with no formal public apology or acknowledgement. They continue using the word allegedly, like there wasn’t proof.

You can hear the trash cans.

But the MLB doesn’t care. They penalized the Astros two draft picks and a $5 million dollar fine. That’s how much one of the owner’s suits cost. So now the public, mostly a Los Angeles and New York public, is left to deal out justice, because the lack of repercussions have left Astro players over confident and even more shameless if that’s possible . But they should be scared to walk into stadiums this year because if they’re not, they’re stupider than I thought.

Fans have long memories, especially if you cheat them. Ask Pete Rose.

Maybe if cheaters like Altuve actually admitted to wrongdoing people wouldn’t be so infuriated. I think it’s the level of hypocrisy that riles people up. Absolutely no shame. The whole scandal and lack of accountability makes you lose faith in the game and the process.

But I’d say it could still be the cheating. Either way it’s the worst after-school special season finale ever.

 

 

Word of the Year …

12 Jan

Someone recently mentioned that an entire decade had gone by and I hadn’t even made the connection.

I mean I celebrated the New Year, but the heaviness of the decade escaped me. Then I smiled because the last decade I really celebrated was in 1999 when Prince was rocking everyone’s world.

Considering that 2009 wasn’t a pivotal moment for me, my mind raced back to Prince and the dance marathon that followed the night the 90’s came to an end.

Celebrated with non-stop laughter, friends, and dancing. I hadn’t thought about that moment in a long time, but it came to me as I remembered the hope in which I looked forward to the possibilities of 2000. It was a young hope of enthusiasm.

Fast forward 20 years and plenty of Ben-Gay and gray hair later, the perspective has changed. This year I looked to hope again. Instead of it acting as a springboard it functions as an anchor.

And I found signs in various places.

The most recent being Mary J.

This song helped me push through as I had lost it in between the Halloween candy and tryptophan from the turkey. Mary J gave it back to me. I found the pep that put the strut back in my walk again. And with that I just took it one step at a time and I continue. Step by step.

So with this turnaround hitting just in time for the new decade I found my word of the year. I mean I always have these bucket list items or adventures, and personal fulfillment goals that are grounded in my theme for the year. But this year with the help from my buddy Susie WildRider I was looking for a word of the year, and I think I found it.

BOOST.

I need a boost in my life and feel the need to push through the barriers and blockades that make it difficult to maintain a sense of self. But I need to remember that boost comes from all directions and in many forms, but the strongest one coming from me. I can find avenues that light a spark, but I’m the main source of energy. I just have to remember to be ready to catch the wave and ride it in.

You go to a go to a smoothie place and they offer … immunity boost, protein boost, vitamin boost, soy boost, 3G energy boost, they got them all.

It’s that extra umph that gets you through and I’m gonna be trying to boost my life in all kinds of directions …

You see I found myself being the guy on the bottom of this cartoon and all I needed was a boost for one more swing. A Mary J Hope Power boost. I can’t give up if my next swing could be the one.

So with perspective in tact, my year is hopeful. The vision board is going up and with a new decade comes a deeper reserve, one where I’ll find the power boosts that lead to a healthier promising year, with less trips to the CVS special aisle. The boosts in muscle mass and fitness so that I can maintain healthy levels and be around for a long time, an energy boost in my storytelling career to keep determined along that path, and a boost in my parenting skills so that I become a better life coach for the kids. A boost in hope that that keeps my strength up during this comeback. A Mary J boost of confidence that keeps my strut in tact as I walk down the yellow brick road.

Boost.

That’s what’s happening this year.

Buen Camino my friends!

The Stumbler … That’s Me … But I Laced-Up My Shoes Anyway

1 Jan

A setback is nothing but a comeback in disguise … that gave me a little umph to push it over the hill. Even with a crappy 60 days close to the end of my 365-day tour around the sun  I still managed to have at least one positive moment each month.

It’s difficult to see the positive when the current existence seems so crappy, but in the moments between your breaths you find something that pulls you out. A good-time-noodle-salad moment, an Andy Dufresne moment, a silver-linings playbook moment, a Zen-moment, or a Gatorade-moment.

Looking back on it I was 12 for 12. 12 months 12 new experiences. I was grateful to have tried new adventures. It helped me step out of the box and create new perspectives for growth, change, and hope. But more importantly it didn’t feel forced. It was opportunity. And at the end of it, I was different each time. Not a dramatic shift, because making cake pops for the first time isn’t mind-blowing, but it does give you a better understanding of the show Nailed It and how I too can do that at home.

Trying new adventures created a shift. As I stumbled through life and weaved through the cracks of this cobble-stoned yellow-brick road, which I thought would be smoother, I learned that these new adventures pushed me along the path. Sometimes when you’re at the bottom learning a new skill gives you a sense of pride that’s waning. Now I’m not saying these new adventures were easy and I was picking up all kinds of new skills. Taking a coding class and learning to speak Italian was extremely challenging, still is, but it added stock to my life.

It pushed me to keep taking it one step at a time.

And sometimes that’s what you need because when you feel like you’re failing digging deep helps you stand up again. And what I was reminded of throughout this journey was that I am a Stumbler. And the stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than everybody else, she does it by being better than she used to be. That’s me.

” … courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm … “

Churchill coined that one and I was glad to have heard it on a podcast because I was beginning to lose my giddy-up.

But I found it before it was too late. I had my Andy Dufresne moment. I found gratitude in new adventures. I hung on by finding gratitude in undiscovered talents. I was able to take a step again because I found gratitude in comeback stories.

So turning the corner before starting the new year was a blessing. I laced-up my running shoes after falling off the hurdle again, and again, and again, which incidentally happened in real life back in my youth, but currently unfolding metaphorically in life now.

But my point? I finished strong both times. Out of breath, with my hands on my head, looking at the skies above and a smile on my face. I reached up with my right hand, and there they were, my Dad and Uncle Erick high-fived me from the heavens on finishing the race.

Thank you Beth, Cayman, and Susie for checking in during the fall.

Happy New Year my friends!

And of course Buen Camino …

My Andy Dufresne Moment

26 Dec

I didn’t think someone from Shawshank Prison would help me turn the corner, but he did.

Andy Dufresne.

“… who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side …”

Usually a moment triggers a memory and the sadness of missing him becomes so strong that I need a couple of minutes to get myself together. But this time it was different. The emotion was so overwhelming that I stopped in the middle of the track and began to cry.

It came with no warning and I just missed him. Right there on the bridge, after the big hill. I hadn’t sobbed like that since the year he passed away. But it happened and there I was … I couldn’t get a hold of it.

The feeling lasted a while … all month long. Usually sadness hits during Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday I remember my Dad the most. But this episode cast a shadow on the entire month of November, even December. I couldn’t shake it.

Life felt heavier. Things were slipping. The bottom was coming up and I was trying to hang on by looking for gratitude in moments where it was hard to find.

Family life was stressful as people kept revealing who they really were in times of normalcy and crises. But I always knew who they were, I just kept giving them chances. I was all out. Rejections felt uglier, the it’s-not-you-it’s-me letters were no longer coming in, it was just silence, like they weren’t even going to be bothered with notices. I had been moved over to the don’t-even-bother pile, and I was feeling the strain in every capacity, which incidentally increased my stress levels and decreased my tolerance and patience. Parenthood was kicking my ass and the weight of it effecting me. The year was in the homestretch and I was running out of gas.

While a lot of people I knew were busy getting projects, or writing thousands of words for NaNoWriMo, I stopped. It been the longest writing dry spell in 10 years. There were things happening, life was happening. But I stood there thinking about a future that wasn’t here and wondering whether it would ever show up.

And then I had my Andy Dufresne moment and I found my way back …

I had continued going to the track throughout all this, it was my one constant, if anything I’d at least walk in my hidden forest within the city. But that morning for the first time in a while, I picked up the pace. The storm clouds were hanging over head, and I wanted to beat the rain.

It didn’t work. The light mist turned into drizzle, then fat heavy rain drops found their way through the giant pine trees.

The few people walking through the park ran to their cars. But I didn’t.

I kept going, sloshing through mud puddles in the making, keeping pace while my baseball cap dripped with rain and sweatshirt drenched. I ran about three miles, and when I sprinted to my imaginary finish line I looked up to the sky and let the raindrops hit my face. I closed my eyes took a deep breath.

I found my moment.

I used to loathe running when I was a younger, but it’s become necessary to help me move passed all the crap and come out clean on the other side.

Buen Camino, my friends …

I Found Norman … or Stan at CVS

20 Oct

I didn’t think I’d find myself there, but after my visit to the doctor’s office, it was my only answer.

You see, this happens.

Getting older.

The gray hairs, I knew about that, I knew about BenGay in the joints, and ice packs on the aching knees, I knew, but dude … I am epically failing the aging process as my doctor mentioned I was severely lacking Calcium, and Vitamin D. In addition I need to beef up my core/ muscle workout and apparently I’m in need of Metamucil because I’m lacking the adequate amounts of fiber.

So there I was … at the CVS. I found myself in the Metamucil aisle and an elderly man, who looked like a Norman or Stan, just nodded at me as I took a moment to contemplate my fiber options.

40’s rock.

It took me a while to choose. I didn’t know fiber was that complicated, especially since I needed Psyllium in my supplement on account of elevated cholesterol levels. Yeah … I got that too. It was funny as we were running through my checklist of ailments when I said it …

“But I exercise five-six times a week. I eat healthy, nothing too excessive.”

I mean I eat egg whites, how is this my lifestyle now? My only problem is dark chocolate, milk chocolate any kind of chocolate really, but it’s not a daily occurrence. But apparently it could have been anyway because my sugar was a little high so I could have been breaking off pieces of it everyday! How is it that I found myself on aisle 6 looking through ingredients of my 4-in-1 supplement like I had any clue to its success.

When did I make a wrong turn?

Healthy is not supposed to have a to-do list at the CVS.

But it’s in the blood, just like my good looks. That cholesterol is in the blood. Both my parents had it. My uncle, aunt, cousin and grandpa all had or currently have diabetes. And everyone that’s retired is taking calcium supplements. It’s a great family tree.

The rest? The losing muscle?

That’s just the aging process. A friend of mine sent me a video she came across as she was conducting some research about bone loss. It happens, usually in 50’s or 60’s so I have something to look forward to along with my AARP membership. Just the Facts if Life, like Mrs. Garrett told Tooty, Joe, and Blair. Facts of Life include supplements.

Buen Camino my friends!

Duct Tape Adventures Continue …

6 Oct

It’s an adventure inspired by my childhood Saturday morning cartoons and now continues into a family tradition. Something that involves the very best of our creative bones, laughter, and smiles.

Sometimes I think I enjoy it more than my kids, but when I see their faces during the race or at the night, it might be a tie.

Do you remember those Saturday morning cartoons, the kind you needed no alarm for, just sprang out of your bed in pajamas and snuck into the living room to watch as everyone still snored and dreamed away until the sun shone through the curtains?

This story always begins there …

Wacky Races. I loved the competition and how each character created their own custom vehicle. The whole concept was something that stuck with me for years. I’d always wanted to do something like that, but nothing like that existed in my neck of the woods. So I needed to wait until I had kids to finally participate in something as cool as that. So the duct tape and cardboard make appearances every year in the fall.

I don’t necessarily do it so that the kids can look back on it and say … yeah we had a tradition … more so that they can be able to remember the fun in building, in creating, in racing, in cheering others on, in thinking yeah we had fun with mom on that, that was something cool I enjoyed in my childhood. I know they enjoy it in the present moment, I just hope the memory lasts long after I’m gone and they smile at the pictures. They start conversations with each other and tell stories of our family. They think … good times, noodle salad.

Our annual duct tape adventures took place last month and I seemed to enjoy the creativity and architectural skills of all the participants. I’m surprised every year by the ingenuity and awesomeness of people’s spirit. Sometimes I wonder if these people make props or stage sets for a living because they’re so great. But I give my mom skills a high five as we are always one of the few boats left afloat.

This year my son, a true fan of The Rebellion, chose a Star Wars themed ship for the race and in truth we almost didn’t make it. But a couple late nights and the amazing strength of Gorilla Duct Tape and we were sailing away.

 

Our Rebel ship ready for takeoff 🙂

As always we participated in the child-adult race, but they also decided to try their luck in the child-child category as well. It was so fun to see them paddle their way to the finish line. Now they weren’t experienced kayakers as some of the older kids, but the fact that they raced on their own and tried it was pretty fun to watch. I was worried by son’s competitive edge would result in a frustrating loss, but he enjoyed his first kid race, regardless. My daughter attempted paddling and I believe her arm muscles didn’t appreciate it the next morning. Next year we’re gonna have to try taking rowing lessons as we finally got the buoyancy and staying afloat part nailed. We just need our rowing muscles and a little more coordination.

IMG_4100

My favorite this year was Marty, Doc, and their DeLorean …

But no matter what, we enjoyed our day at the beach, the camaraderie of the other boat architects, the creativity of the boats and the excitement of the races. I’ll keep building the boats as long as they keep enjoying the journey.

 

Buen Camino my friends

 

 

 

The Bench Is Not A Fun Place …

15 Sep

You hope at the very least that they have a moment when they hear the cheer. The clapping. The loudness. You hear the woo-hoo charged with such energy and enthusiasm that it reverberates in the air.

You’ve heard it before for your kid and hoped the start of a new year on a new team, that you’d hear the roar again, at the very least from you.

But instead it was silence, frustration, and disbelief. I rubbed my forehead and face in anguish. It was painful to watch.

It was one of those times you tried to find something positive to say or remember about the performance and nothing … absolutely nothing came to mind.

I had one of those parent moments where I couldn’t believe what was happening but it was happening because my eyes were watching it, so I just sat there stunned.

I was watching everything fall apart, just completely sink. From the top of his game to being third string. As a parent and sports enthusiast it was tough to face.

He had the worst … and I mean the worst game of his life, where everything that could go wrong did. He forgot how to pass, how to shoot, how to move fast, how to defend. It’s like he had amnesia and forgot how to play the game. It hurt to watch him self-destruct.

It hurt to come to terms with the terrible plays and effort, it was disappointing to know that he was just a body out there, not making an impact at all … well … he was, but a negative one.

That’s one thing I tell both my kids … did you make an impact? Did you do better than last time?

Both answers were no.

I mean just yesterday my daughter continued making strides in her first year of soccer. The way she continues to improve as a player every game only makes me believe that we’re just scratching at the surface of her potential. I’m excited at what she can do and what’s to come for her.

My son, however, has started his journey this year at an all-time low, and I’m troubled by it. I’m having a lowly parent moment where I feel there’s nothing I can do for my kid. No matter how many pointers or words of encouragement I shout out nothing was getting through and the slump snowballed into a disastrous state of play.

It’s the first time I couldn’t see a positive. It was an epic failure and it sat there for all to watch and the oohs and ohhhs could be heard.

The performance will hang over him like a Scarlett Letter and he’ll have to dig and fight his way out. He’ll have to work twice as hard now to even earn half the time he had before. It’s slipping away.

I’m thinking maybe it’s time to rewatch Rudy, or Hoosiers, or read the sports biographies of comeback underdogs. Perhaps rewatch Nadal’s Championship match in the U.S. Open, because the bench is not a fun place if you’re an athlete. It’s not great if you’re a parent either.

This uphill battle is going to be tough. I’m wondering what Coach Taylor would say …

Buen Camino my friends…

Channeling My Inner-Coach Taylor

31 Aug

I saw myself doing it at one point in my life, don’t remember when I thought I could pull it off but I totally saw myself with the whistle and Coach Taylor attitude.

But I hadn’t committed myself … not until my daughter saw Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the screen during the World Cup and asked who are they?

Oh I’m playing soccer this year, she says. That will be my sport this semester.

Soccer.

The one sport in my entire athletic repertoire that I did not play. I watch it every four years and catch Vela whenever we can go to the stadium. I reported on it during my newspaper days. I know the ins-and-outs, but hadn’t played on a team before.

But there she was … inspired by World Cup fever and so I was left with a decision. I had my run-in with this AYSO bunch before … you know the disaster that happened with my son a few years back, so I wasn’t sure I could handle another logistical nightmare.

I had to think about this one.

You see, I had signed her up to play but she was waitlisted. You know the lies about the Wait List. I was like here we go again. And then I got the message … you know the one … ‘calling all volunteers’ but with an extra twist. If you’re player has been waitlisted we give priority to people who volunteer.

Priority.

And there it was … the trap. The offer I couldn’t refuse …

Coaching. Coaching your kid’s team, along with other kids you don’t know, who may not always listen, and whose parents might be THOSE parents, the ones that come out on the news brawling in a full on cage match because of a bad call on the field.

That gave me some pause.

But there could be positives …

Time for Jim Carrey’s YES Man to make his appearance. And he did. My perspective shifted and it no longer seemed like a trap but an opportunity. An opportunity to try something new with my daughter, a double journey.

Now I was a little hesitant because I come from the old school philosophy that you shouldn’t be a coach if you’ve never played the sport. But I already knew the sport, I was athletic enough to pick up some skills and vision was something I already possessed.

So I asked her would you be all right if I helped coach the team, and her response was you coach me all the time at home.

So there it was … I’d officially get a clipboard and whistle and help lead this girls 10-U team.

Let me tell you, some girls at this age aren’t as enthusiastic about playing soccer or should I say doing drills to help you get better at playing soccer. It was funny to watch the different personalities on the field. I wasn’t sure how things would pan out at our first game.

But I helped prepare them the best way I could … The Coach Taylor way. After all they’re still learning dynamics, skills, and team cohesiveness. So positive attitude and the ball movement we learned in practice is what I focused on. As the head coach led the offensive strategy and lineups, I focused on defense and mental state. Fun was an important part of the formula if the players were to last in the heat of mid morning.

And in the end … they did a great job. They hustled and ran hard. We won 5-1 and I was happy to see the butterflies go away and the confidence build up in my daughter and the other players. Step by step they found their way on field of dreams.

In the end, I was glad I wasn’t one of the parents sitting in beach chairs on the sidelines. I was the one running the sidelines helping athletes become better players, helping them gain their confidence.

I was a coach … for the first time … officially. Although I still need whistle.

Buen Camino my friends!

My Son is Kevin Arnold …

25 Aug

So the summer began with the end of fifth grade and the start of the unknown …

I mean, I knew it. I’d been to junior high … I survived 6th grade, but as an 11-year-old girl in the 80’s who took the city bus every morning at 6:45 a.m. I had a different set of issues and concerns. 80’s concerns.

Today is today and my son goes off into the Wonder Years. He is Kevin Arnold. I hope he finds a friend like Paul, or Winnie Cooper, or another Kevin. It makes the transition so much better, to have a friend … a good one.

I worry a lot because the dangers are different now, social media and phones allow kids to publicize harshness when in my time it would eventually, if you were lucky, phase out.

But there are so many other concerns or issues that stress me out about junior high, but I’ve been corrected … “It’s not junior high anymore mom, they call it middle school.”

And so middle school … my sweet kid is going to middle school and it’s a growing pain that tugged at my heart and tuned up the dial in my mom anxiety, because I’m gonna miss my little boy as he turns into a young man.

See ya later kiddo… to the one that used to sprint out of the dismissal gate with joy inside and sport the biggest smile as he’d charge into my arms for a hello-I’m-so-glad-to-see-you-I-love-you hug so powerfully strong that it would take down The Hulk. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that snuck into bed still in pajamas before toothpaste or toothbrushes made their appearances because he wanted a family hug and just five more minutes, five more minutes … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that giggles at corny jokes, cracks up with his sister, and dances to songs from commercials on the spot …any time of day, he feels the music he dances and doesn’t care if anyone is watching…I hope I see you again.

see ya later kiddo … to the one that was so cool he listened to Queen, U2, and the 80s, the kid that liked feel-good songs in the morning to jump-start his day … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to my sweet, sweet boy with a BIG heart who still loves StarWars, Avengers, America Ninja Warrior, Bear Grylls, and Legos… who likes to hang out with his mom and play board games, soooooo many board games, and baseball, and beach soccer, badminton … who is my daydream believer who gets lost in books, so many books, and thoughts … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one who loves sharks and wants to grow up to be a part-time shark conservationist, part-time hockey player, part-time baseball player, part-time firefighter. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that still wakes up for Saturday morning cartoons and can watch for hours … the one that likes pancakes and Honey Bunches of Oats … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo… You’re growing up. You’re a 6th grader the kind with lockers, P.E. Classes, nutrition instead of recess, and life changes that will involve deodorant. You’ll run into jerks who don’t know how awesome you are, and kind people who’ll know you’re magic. You may doubt yourself, but I hope you won’t because everything about you is incredibly awesome. I hope that even though your life is changing, you still hug me with that 10-second embrace, eyes closed tight because it feels like home. I hope your heart will still feel safe and big near me. I hope you’ll always remember how much I love you. You are the most amazing kid I know and I’m proud of you.

You’re my kid and you’re growing and I hope that when you’re in sixth grade and seventh and eighth and you turn 12 and 13 that you’ll still remember your 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 years … because they’ve been the best, with ups and downs they’ve been a good life. We just started year 11 and the adventures have been memorable.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

I love you, I love you, I love you …

Buen Camino …