The Cool Kids

Friday, April 1, 2011


The eldest wants to be a dentist. It has been her life-long dream and she hasn't wavered from it. To prepare, she has taken more college level classes than I ever could have handled at her age. She is also taking advantage of a Certified Nurse's Assistant program that is offered as an elective.  Her first CNA clinicals started today. They were held at a nursing home and she was mortified that she would make a mistake. Though I told her not to worry, I could see that she was looking past my words; keys in hand, trying to memorize in her head all the rules that were given to her.

"Is my hair right?"
"Is my name tag on the right side?"
"Are my nails a pale enough color?"
"Does my watch have a second hand?"
"Will I get yelled at?
"What if I don't know how to do the tasks people ask of me?, What if we haven't covered it yet?"

All of these questions and situations were floating in her head. Mixed with anxiety, I could see it weighing her down.

"You look great. You'll do fine. I'm so proud of you." were the only words I could find.

I too, was looking past her, trying to remember where my little girl went. The one who would ask me what dress would give the best "twirl" when she spun around. The one who waved to me while she wobbled on roller blades, then ice skates. The one who sang Brittany Spear's songs at the top of her lungs in the shower. The one who played barbies and laughed with her friends in the yard. What happened to the little girl who grabbed my hand when we walked into stores and school?

I was nervous for her when she left.
I was relieved when she pulled in the drive-way 6 hours later.
I was thankful she felt comfortable enough to sit down and share the going-ons of her shift.

"Was your hair all right? Were your nails acceptable? Were you nervous?" Those were my questions.

"Everything was fine, mom. When I got there, I did my job. The people were nice, the time passed quickly...I kind of liked it."

"What was your favorite part?" I asked, wondering if it was that she knew some of the other CNAs, or that maybe some funny scenario occurred.

"You know, they were sweet, kind people. They seemed so happy to see me, even though they didn't know me. I think what they liked best was that there was just someone there to listen to them, to be in the same room as them, to hear what they had to say..."

I had to look away for a minute. She understood what it takes others a lifetime to get. People just want to be heard. They want to be smiled at genuinely. They want to matter. None of those patients cared what she looked like, but instead appreciated how she treated them.

That little girl who laughed and twirled until she fell down from dizziness is all grown up. I am beyond proud.

Happy Saturday, friends :)


  1. This made me cry. Alex is such a strong person. She is smart, beauitful and capable. Yet, her very best quality is her heart, her kindness. I'm proud to know her, even from such a distance. I follow her actions and only hope to be half the person she is when I grow up. I was a mess at 17. I was lost and so misplaced in my own skin. I wish I would have known Alex when I was her age. I think I would have watched her every move and just prayed that some of her dedication and courage, would rub off on me. She has a dream and I really think she is one of the few people who will be living that dream. As we get older we let go of some of our fight. We become jaded and doubt that we can see many things through. Alex will live her life with the knowledge that she did what most of us were too weak to finish. I admire her in such a way I cannot explain.

    The other side of that is you, her Mother. You've created a safe place for her to land. You've held her hand when she needed it most and you let go just when she knew she could take some huge steps on her own. They say that parenthood is simply making your children's lives 50% better than your own let's just say, you're past the 100% mark. To let your child grow up, to stand and fall on thier own, to make mistakes and finally fix them...that is a mother with the bravest heart. I'm proud of you both. I get to watch a Mother and her daughter have a realationship filled with respect and love. It is so beautiful and helps me every day to become a better Mommy. I watch and learn and for that I thank you. You have helped shape a tiny little girl, into a capable young woman filled with love and kindness...will there ever be anything more important you could do in your life? No, at the core of my heart, I know there can't be. I love you both. Your sis

  2. I, too, am very proud of our daughter. She is a beautiful, smart and caring young woman following in the footsteps of her mother. She has the right priorities in her life and will be successful in anything that she undertakes.

    Just to set the record straight, I think I was the one who sang Brittany songs in the shower.

  3. Shel, you and Mark have done an amazing job raising that girl. She is extraordinary. I'm not surprised... you're two of my favorite people... ever.

    I AM surprised about Mark singing Brittany songs in the shower... that's quite a visual. :)

    love, stacy

  4. Well, you made me cry. Then I cried some more after reading Kim's comment. ( I REALLY started to cry after Mark's comment. Wow.)
    You both are amazing and wonderful parents, she is a reflection of this. She is a beautiful person, inside and out......just like her momma. I should know. I've known her for a little while. ;)
    How can we be mom's of adults? Double wow! We are truly blessed. <3
    Love ya! Your FF

  5. Do you think Alex will pull peoples teeth out the way she use to pull out her own? With plyers?

    She is a wonderful young woman and will become an amazing mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and dentist with all the compassion that she has in her heart.

  6. Thanks all for your kind words. We are very lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people. @Krys- I can't believe you still remember the pliers! I guess she ALWAYS has been a dentist at heart!! :)


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