Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Diagnosis: SHELTERED

Last Friday, I found myself back at the local clinic wherein my children visit their doctor. Back. For the 2nd time in 2 weeks. Because the first time, my 3 year old had a rash which was apparently Scarlet Fever, except there wasn’t fever, there was only weird rash and minor cold symptoms. So maybe he had Scarlet Minor Cold Symptoms instead. Also? No Strep. Apparently there’s supposed to be strep. There was no Strep.

So we went to the doctor the first time and doctor’s prescription was ‘shrug, seems he’s gonna survive this one’, and we went home and the rash went away and we all went on with our lives. For like, 3 days. At which point a fever DID show up. A nasty, high fever that yes DID go away with Tylenol, but also CAME BACK CONSTANTLY AND I HAVEN’T SLEPT STRAIGHT THROUGH THE NIGHT IN WEEKS. Ehem. Sorry. I am now surviving solely on Coffee and Internal Fortitude which May or May Not be Just Gas. Good luck, Coffee.

Right, so he got a fever, and the cowbell did not help at all, so after 3 days, we headed back to the doc. Well, we headed to new doc, because regular doc was not willing or able to see us. And new doc, well, he had some thoughts. And those thoughts made me pause and reflect on my whole existence.

First off, the very friendly doctor, please hear me when I say I am not criticizing the doctor, geez. He comes in, and shows my 3-year-old his stethoscope. Which has some stickers on it, to make small children feel confused. He asks Harper what one of the pictures was. Harper responded enthusiastically that it is BATMAN! THAT IS BATMAN! Then the doc points to a picture of a beloved yellow cartoon dog, friend of an even more beloved cartoon mouse, and asks who that is. Harper… thought about it. For a while. Then reported that he did not know.

“Wow, he knows Batman, but he doesn’t know Pluto. What does THAT say?”

Answer? It says he’s the fourth kid. It says he is almost completely unexposed to appropriate, toddler or preschooler oriented programming. He knows every superhero ever. He knows Star Wars. He knows… I dunno. That’s probably about it. He knows Cat Videos From the Internet. Does that help, Mister Doctor?

So Mister Doctor then informed me that, whatever kind of sick Harper may have been before, he was now the kind of sick that is called Bronchitis. And he asked which antibiotics had worked well with my son before.

… except that…

I guess, I don’t know? In fact there’s a fair chance, a pretty good chance, that Harper has never taken an antibiotic, which I told the doctor, and he fell off his chair, shocked. 

“He’s NEVER had an antibiotic?!?”

I dunno…. Maybe? A super long time ago? Apparently good parents are supposed to know things like whether or not their kids have taken antibiotics, and then know what KIND of antibiotic they've had, and how exactly they responded to each and I’m thinking…. Wow. I guess I’m really more one of those, “Wait and see and you’ll probably be fine” type of parents. Or whatever you might call a lazy parent that sounds a little better than “lazy parent”.

So the doctor suggested Amoxicillin, then tried to convince Harper it would be a great choice, because it tastes like bubblegum, and “Don’t you like bubblegum?”

Um… here we are again. Because no, my 3 year old has never tried bubblegum.

The doctor's face was clear. He does not understand my life. 

My kids don’t understand what grades are. They don’t know tardy, or absent, or tests. They don’t know cliques, and they don’t know bullies. They don’t know seatmate. Or homework. Or assembly. Or sick days. Or snow days or foggy days or the joy of whatever weather-days you grew up with. They don’t know recess bells, they don’t know bus rides, they don’t know PE. Because they’re homeschooled. And I could’ve expected as much. That was the sheltered I knew I was giving my kids.

But now, thanks to the doctor last Friday, I’ve learned that there’s like, a crap ton of other things I’ve sheltered my kids from as well, without even knowing about it. So this summer, I’ve decided to remedy it. We’re chewing antibiotic laced bubblegum all summer long, while watching nothing besides Disney Junior and PBS. Because it seems it’s time to get these kids NORMALIZED, dang it.

Oh, and on the illness front, Harper’s fever finally receded after 2 ½ days on those magical antibiotics. And he’s better now. Except for a cough…. And the fact that the skin on all his fingertips is peeling off. No idea what the crap that’s about. 

Our focus has swiftly moved to his older brother, though, who got a fever the same day his brother’s faded, and threw up all over the living room floor at 3:30 this morning. 

Seriously, guys. What is happening here? Is this the end? Are we all dying? Was our house constructed on some kind of Tule Indian burial ground, and they decided to lie in wait for the first 8 years but have now come to seek their revenge? Because DUDE. This is starting to creep me out.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Third year of education: That's a wrap!

As I sit here and write to you fine folks, I am also watching The Force Awakens for the 17th time, and fielding a constant flow of questions about the Star Wars universe. Because it is May the 4th. But more importantly, because we are DONE.
Star Wars pancakes. May the 4th be our last day of school! Woot!
Today went different than expected, but ONLY because I am a moron who is incapable of learning from past experience. Shoot, this whole WEEK went different than expected. My eldest had a fever. I had a migraine. And the middle two had very interesting and inexplicable pains in their stomach/heart/leg/head/ear/neck/chin. Which is to say, 2 of my kids are hypochondriac liars who haven't yet learned the actual symptoms of the flu, or at the very least how to run a thermometer under a little hot water. Nice try buttheads. Get back to work.
The Offsprings on the FIRST day of school
On top of that, I FULLY intended to test the kids this week. I mean, as much as I believe in our eclectic, book-centric, independence promoting, laissez-faire approach to education... sometimes I'm not sure I believe in our eclectic, book-centric, independence promoting, laissez-faire approach to education. See, the cool thing about having an education system is that it's a system. LIke, your kids are learning the same basic things at the same basic times as all the other kids in town. And I know that mine are, well, not. Sometimes they're learning it earlier. Sometimes they're learning later. Sometimes they're learning different things entirely. But are they learning enough? What is enough?? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN???? 
The Offsprings on the LAST day of school

So yeah, I'm plagued by crippling self doubt and anxiety and the constant fear that I am failing everyone around me, first and foremost my own children. So I was gonna test them.

But then I didn't. Not because I had a change of heart. Not because I didn't have time. Because, as it turns out, I've spent a lot of time with these kids, and as I looked over those comprehensive tests, I knew exactly how each kid would do. I knew where they would soar, and where they would struggle. Which was enough information to tell me where we need to grow. So lucky them, they get to go another summer, another year, another whatever, without having their self-perception dictated to them by a particular letter of the alphabet. You are not an A. You are not an F. You are a Weirdo. Now go finish your chores and then play some more.

Sometimes it's tough to be the oldest.
Despite all my panic, I took a little stock today. They're growing up, these kids. They're getting bigger. They're becoming independent. And by the grace of God, they may even be getting smarter.
Certainly there are many days when I look at my kids growing up and I want to scream at them. STOP! Turn back! This is happening too fast! Be my baby again!  But today, today there is none of that. Certainly, I can see how much my kids have grown. Their chubby cheeked baby faces are being turned in for skinned knees and rolled eyes. They're not babies. They're kids. Soon to be young adults. And you know what? It's really fascinating.
Booyah kids. There is no escape.
So how do I feel then? Right now, the answer is probably proud. And excited. I'm proud of the tiny humans I made. I'm proud of the nice and generally thoughtful little people they're turning out to be. I'm proud of their senses of humor. That I can make fun of them and they think it is wonderful. I am proud that my six year old child, who could barely read Level 1 books a year ago is now barreling through chapter books. And I am incredibly excited to see what kind of people they turn out to be.

Sure, it'll be bad sometimes. And sure, this growing up is hard, because it means that every day, they're leaving us a little bit more. But growing up is also life. And life is something to celebrate.

Of course, juuuuuust in case, amid all my enthusiasm to appreciate the awesome people they are becoming, I somehow, someway, managed to forget to educate them, well then, here's the super great book bags I made them to fill with all their super great summer school materials!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happy birthday. Now go to sleep and...

My 3rd eldest child turned 5 today. Today was my anniversary of giving birth for the second time. That time 5 years ago when I had the horrible messed up epidural that hurt so bad I vomited. And then still needed to get local anesthetic before I was stitched because even the "fix it" epidural after the "stabbed you in the spinal cord and it's going to hurt like the dickens for the next 11 months" epidural still didn't do that fun numbing thing that epidurals are supposed to do. Oh and I know, I know. You wanna tell me how you gave birth naturally like God intended. And it was beautiful and helped you bond more with your unvaccinated holy child. But personally, I barely get a haircut without a hit of Vicodin, so if it's cool with you, I'm gonna do things my own way. Even if it means I sometimes get stabbed in the spinal cord.

Boy Child. With Star Wars.
We did school today (May the 4th. Don't give up on your goals.) But we ripped it off like a bandaid and moved on with our lives. Then, we Star Warsed. Because it is what my 5 year old loves. I mean really. 
He loves it so hard that it seems the Force had Awakened him at 2:30am this morning to see if the Empire had Struck Back in his home. He also woke up his sisters, because somehow they always knew. But No, their Father showed up at shortly before 3 to tell them to get their butts back in bed. They would NOT be going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters. But at 6am, Birthday Child woke up again. With a New Hope. And we gave up and made coffee. Which helped the Jedi Return.*

So yeah, we Star Warsed the heck out of today. We played with Star Wars toys. We played Star Wars video games. We turned cardboard boxes into Star Wars themed space ships. We watched the Star Wars Movie with the Snow and the Big Walker things because Birthday Child can't remember the name of his favorite movie. And I exercised, so that I don't turn back into Jabba the Hutt.**

So, Star Wars existed before I existed. And it was a dork thing. Personally, I know a little about dork things. Because, as it turns out, I lived the "having of zero friends" life.  And my loner loser self learned a few things for you. 

When I was a kid, re: when I was a chubby unpopular nerd person, reading was not, in fact, considered cool. Hot chicks in leggings and oversized glasses and messy buns didn't sit around all day with their books. They didn't talk about being AWKWARD and how they'd rather stay in and read than go out on dates. They went out. They got invited to parties. They had friends. And frequently, they made fun of me, for being such a face-attached-to-books dork.***

In my experience, being a book enthusiast was a little less like this:

And a little more like this:

On one hand, this new nerd-fetishism makes me aggravated. Because cultural appropriation. Because stolen valor. Because you didn't live my humiliating child, Hot Girl. Stay in your lane. With your bubbly laughter and your gaggle of friends and your boob shirts. You can have most things in life. Sure. Knock yourself out. But you can't have books. Dang it man. Leave me the friggin books.

But on the other side of it, I have kids now. And my kids are dorks, probably. Because of homeschooling. And because of their parents. And because, for some reason, at some point, Star Wars became really fracking important to their lives. But it's cool. Because it seems the world has changed. And everyone wants to be a "total nerd, tee hee hee". Which pretty much means, congratulations, kids. You're going to be the New Awesome. And you come by it naturally.

So when my son falls because he was running and then he tripped over nothing, he can have 17 bandaids. Because these days, he's not a clumsy dork. He's a health-conscious nerd-person. Tee hee hee.

And I'm going to keep up my end, too. I'll push the books. And the science fiction. And the way too many bandaids. Because not only are dorks the coolest? They're also like, better and more interesting people. Pretty much. So yeah. You're welcome, Offsprings. Cuz you got yourself, like, the dorkiest mom in town.


Alright. That's enough for tonight. The Dorks finally went to sleep, so it's probably time for me to go finish off the cake. Because all the geeky stuff aside, like I said, this is my anniversary. And I frackin deserve it.

Nighty night, Weirdos! The Force be with you.****

*Test my Star Wars dorkiness sometime. It's a little bit astounding.
***I'm talking now about Junior High and below. So if you are reading this and you knew me from high school or college, obviously I didn't get made fun of for reading then. That was a different time. I got made fun of for different things.
****And also with you. Church Joke. You're welcome.

Monday, April 24, 2017

They may take our lives, but FREEDOOOOOOM!!

The end is nigh, my homies. The end is freakin NIGH.

In case you were worried, no, I haven't joined some creepy apocalyptic cult. I have neither drunk the Kool-aid nor donned the Nikes.


Okay, we're back. Because I am a mind-blowingly amazing mother, I do in fact set all of you aside to listen to my children's mostly totally inane stories. At least the first 15 times. Because even awesome parents have their limits.

RIGHT. So yes, the end is here but it isn't the apocalypse. It's the end of the school year. Guys. IT'S ALMOST THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR ZOMG I CAN'T BELIEVE WOWIE WOW WOW WOW!!

I'm becoming annoying. In fairness, I may have always been annoying. But I'm becoming more specifically annoying, so it's different. About a month ago... maybe longer, maybe shorter, I'm losing my mind and have lost any concept of time... about a month ago, I actually sat down and calculated out our attendance for the year (I had it recorded, but had never counted the days), and I learned that we are set to hit our annual minimum on May 4. Now a couple of notes here:

1) Apparently homeschoolers in California don't have to hit a minimum number of school days. We are just required to keep a record of whatever days we choose to attend.

2) I choose to aim for the same required minimum of public/charter/private schools in California. 175. In case you're curious, it's 166. Tick tock.

3) I choose to only count days that for us either involve us sitting down for rigorous academics, or field trips. To the zoo. Or the mountains. Or the children's museum. Because real schools do feild trips so OBVI they totally count as school.*

4) We are involved with a program** that meets 1 day a week for 24 weeks each year. That program ended last week. So pretty much no one's the boss of me anymore.

So all this adds up to mean that, by my standards, our school's standards, and the standards of our glorious state government, THE END IS NIGH AND WE ARE ALMOST FREE!!

Okay. Even as I'm saying all of this, I feel like I need to apologize. I can hear how weird I've gotten. I can see it in other peoples faces.

    "Hi, I'm Ashley, and our school year is almost done."
    "Yes, I know who you are. Plus, you've told me the school thing every day for the last month."
    "Ummm..." ::Suddenly receives a phone call no one else can here::

I think it makes life easier that people found me off-putting to start with. Keep those expectations low, my friends.

Part of the reason for my stupid amount of excitement is last summer. Wherein I had exactly zero days off. Lying, obviously. I had like, two days off. It was an exhausting summer.

Plus then this school year? We didn't bail on Friday, (like we may or may not have done frequently last year. Plus the year before that). And we didn't observe national holidays. Because seriously, who even cares about the presidents. Or Cesar Chavez. Or the veterans***. We just schooled. And schooled. We schooled like it was going out of style. We kicked it old school and new school and in the middle school. AND NOW WE ARE ALMOST DONE.

Lastly, our 175th day of school, as I said, happens to land exactly on May 4th. And as it turns out, this is a fabulously geeky Star Wars obsessed bunch. So May the 4th be with us, and we're ending the year with a Star Wars party instead of taking our annual trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Because really. It's the right thing to do. 

So the story here tonight is: Homeschool your kids. Because then you can be done with the year a full on month before the rest of the world, and it will be the coolest. The. Coolest.

Oh and hey... have I mention our school year is almost done?

*It is distinctly possible that this spring had a hefty number of field trips.
**Classical Conversations. And if you're curious, I'll explain exactly why it's the greatest thing to ever happen to education since forever. Also? Please don't ask it makes me seem creepy.
***Super sorry about that. Hail to the veterans.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Are homeschoolers still Weirdos? Story at 11.

"How many of you Homeschoolers can acknowledge that you're Weirdos?"

I heard this question posed recently. The lead up was that, years ago, all homeschoolers dressed weird, acted weird, and were, stated simply enough, a big group of Weirdos. But the problem the Asker had was that, all these years later, no matter what we say about it, the weirdo-ness seems to persist. Homeschoolers are not normal. Homeschoolers are still creepy Weirdos.

For those of you that don't fit in my particular demographic, there's something you need to know here. We homeschoolers love, love to talk about how cool we've gotten. We dress better. We act better. And we like to sit around and discuss exactly how much homeschooling has changed over the years. "Well you see, back in the day, homeschooling was strange. Once upon a time, only Weirdos would homeschool. But now, it's gone totally mainstream! I mean, look at us! We're not weirdos."

"We're not weirdos."

"For serious, believe me, we're not weirdos."

And sometimes I look around and think, um.... yeah. You definitely are. The weirdest weirdy Weirdos I've ever seen. You Weirdos.

Super sorry if that's insulting, but yes, you are weirdos. Your husbands are weirdos. And your kids are definitely, definitely weirdos.

And that got me thinking. Holy buckets. Maybe I'm a weirdo too.
Math lessons. Weirdos in Pajamas. Pajamas forever.
Technically speaking, the definition of Weirdo is: Someone that I personally find to be socially unacceptable, outside of the norm, and generally different and strange. And unpleasant. And gross.

That's the truth. Check Webster's.*

Anyway, the point is, we typically decide someone is weird when they don't look "normal" to us. And the problem with that is, I literally always look normal to myself. In fact, I am, by definition, my entire standard of normal.

But then I thought about it some more.

I was a chubby and awkward young child. I was best known at my school for always having my nose stuck in a book**. I was good at school and bad at sports. In short, I was a dork. A friendless, chubby, obsessive, rule-following little dork.
Ashley, age 10. Shape of: Potato.
And the dork found a boy who was also considered a little odd. And they got married and then made some follow-up humans. And then they decided to avoid letting the follow-up humans go into the child-rearing factory that is the, ehem, "SCHOOL SYSTEM", so they got to spend more time with their weirdo parents and less time learning how to dress and act and be like all the other kids their age.

Fun story? That is not a great way to make normal people. And we didn't make normal people. We made this:
My children. Middle of the school day. Getting lots of knowledge.

And I think... I don't know what I think. My kids aren't going to be normal. That much is true. They are different. They are different from me. They are different from each other. And staying in our dorky homeschool bubble means they'll probably keep being different.
My 3 year old with his little friend, petting a rabbit and explaining the
meaning of life to the kind fellow who works at the Discovery Center.
So in the end? Crap yes we're a bunch of Weirdos. We're different people who have made a different choice. The fact that we've kept our children out of school means that they will grow up to reflect their own personalities... and the eccentricities of their own terrifying families, instead of working so hard to emulate their super cool peers.

So yeah. They will dress like weirdos. They will act like weirdos. They will be weirdos. But really? Who gives a crap. Because normal is boring. Because cool kids are bungholes. And because personally? I really hate boring bungholes. 
Sister Friends.
So you do you, my crazy bunch of Weirdos. Dress stupid. Learn Wisdom. Follow Jesus. And you know what? Be funnier than the pretty kids. Because guys? That's how you're gonna rock this world.


*Don't check Webster's.
**Which on more than 1 occasion, caused me to accidentally walk into the wrong classroom. Or bathroom. HINT: If you want friends in elementary and junior high school, don't become so engrossed in books that you walk into the wrong bathroom. Just don't. In fact to be safe, don't even learn to read. Reading is for Weirdos.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Old news. Fun news.



So.  So so so.  It would seem that, once again, I have gotten myself all pregnant.  If you are a supremely observant person and have noticed that I have used the word "again", or you have read this blog for more than 3 weeks, or you are a member of my immediate family,  you will have come to the knowledge that this is not my FIRST pregnancy.  And you have some questions.  So here are your answers.


About 6 weeks.


3 1/2 years, and 11 months, respectively.

18 1/2 months.

No, we were not.

3 or 4, but eventually.  Maybe in another year from now.

Math is hard.  I know it because I can see it in people's eyes when they slyly try to calculate when I am due, how old my son is, and what that spread looks like.  It's not a very big spread, I'm the first to admit to that.  It's the kind of spread that has me thinking oh holy hang gliders, I'm becoming one of those crazy people that pops out new offsprings every five minutes or so.  THEY SHOULD GET ME MY OWN SHOW ON TLC.  But I've seen other people do it, and none of them look like they want to kill themselves, so I'm feeling pretty confident.

Now we get to the fun part.  The How We Found Out About It part.

I was depressed.  Like, nobodylovesmeandmaybeIshouldjustgoDIE, weeping at the steering wheel on my way to the grocery store, kind of depression.  It seemed to come out of nowhere, and had grown over the span of 24 hours.  And all this, even though I'd slept (a good night's sleep is normally enough to quell my occasional crazies).  So I'm driving home with my tear-drenched groceries, and I get to thinking: The last time I felt so crazy-sad.  It was the last time I was pregnant.  So I went home, found an old test under the counter, and once again, saw a little bonus-line intent on changing my life.

I told husband.  We laughed maniacally for about 10 minutes, and husband drifted into the stage where you walk around the house flailing your arms, ranting about how you've become your parents and you don't want to drive a minivan and you're GETTING A FREAKING VASECTOMY RIGHT NOW THANKYOUVERYMUCH.  I calmly reminded him that maybe this wasn't the very best day to make that kind of decision, and he agreed, and put the knife down.

So no, we weren't trying, per se.  We were using protection, and my cycle has been a bit erratic, which the doctor said once meant that I probably wasn't ovulating, and I was told by THIS PERIOD APP that I was on a no-fertility day.  And so once we didn't use protection.  And now I am pregnant.  With my son, we tried for about 5 months.  But now, I am pregnant.

Side note:  That app will be getting a VERY strongly worded 3 star review from me later.  It wins points for being aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, but loses them because now I am pregnant.

We've decided to name this child Accidente Miller, because it's both descriptive and exotic.  Also, I think it works really well for a boy or a girl, so that's an added bonus.

That's all I've got for now, folks.  Hope all your accidents are this happy, and remember: absolutely ignore your smartphones.  They are trying to take over the world.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's time to stop caring so much about your children.

Shocked? Angry? Offended? ...Relieved?

How do the words of this title make you feel? Did you think about calling CPS and letting them know that this writer is a garbage parent? Because 1) you're definitely right, but 2) this isn't actually evidence of that.

First, let's get through this part: I am a mom. And yes, I'm one of those rare (?) moms who really loves my kids. In fact, I frequently think they are hilarious. And I think they are adorable. And I think they are smart. Or at least, smart-adjacent. And I don't care how cute you think your kids are, I firmly believe mine are cuter. It's just science. And math. I LOVE my kids. And I CARE about my kids.

When I was in high school, a teacher of mine emphasized the importance of loving your spouse more than the kids. Since then, I've mentioned that to dozens of people, and had dozens of people completely disagree. Some have argued. "Well sure.... you say that. But you're never going to mean it."  Others have simply told me that was wrong. That was bananas. The kids are first. The spouse can take a hike.

And you know what? A lot of their spouses did take a hike. A lot of those marriages fell apart. A lot of these people found themselves in divorce court not too long after. And those kids they loved so much, loved so hard? Those kids are learning independence in a world where the two people they rely the most on wish each other dead.

But marriage isn't the only reason we need to stop caring about our kids. I'm learning this with discipline as well. Generally speaking, I don't want to punish my stupid kids. I want to give them a warning, then I want them to change their crappy attitudes and get their behinds in gear so we can move on with our lives. I don't want to leave a kid home from sports games or movies or parties or other functions. I hate it. But here's the thing I've learned: When I care too much about my kids to punish them, I'm not actually loving them at all. 

When I care too much about the punishments, when I am too worried about the outcomes, they don't even have the chance to care. There’s just no room for it. The instruction, the warning, and the consequence, these all belong to mom.

Last Halloween, one of our daughters refused to do her schoolwork. She flailed. She cried. She whined. She sat in time out and stared at her fingers. For hours. It was enough. I let her know that if she didn't get finished, she would NOT be going trick-or-treating with the family.

And she didn't care.

And I lost my ever-loving mind.

Ya see, I cared. I wanted her to come with us. This was a silly fun special day. I'd bought costumes. They'd been looking forward to this day for probably 2 straight months. And I was LIVID. And she didn't care. I cared. My head exploded I cared so hard. And then I realized. I had to stop. I had to be okay with the fact that this consequence was going to happen. She wasn't going to come, but she wasn't going to die. It would be a bummer. But it would be okay. We made plans for her to stay home. I got the other kids ready. I stopped caring. I started loving. 

You know what? She started to believe me. She panicked. She screamed and cried a bunch, but then she got her crap together, and finished her work. 5 minutes before we left the house, she threw on a costume, and apologized.
Turns out we were able to terrorize the neighborhood as a family this year!
The thing is, I don’t think it helps my kids to care about them that much. I love my kids, but I don’t need them. My kids are my dependents. They need me. I teach them. I train them. I guide them. And of course, I have some fun with them. But my husband is my partner. He is the one I chose, the one who chose me. For life. Till death.

The kids love me, sure. Or they hate me. Depends on the moment. But I don’t care. In a few short years, they will find me mortifyingly embarrassing*. I don’t care. Then they will move out and move on and find life partners and directions of their own. I don’t care. They need me, yes. But they need me to be strong enough that I don’t need them back. They need me to be strong enough to handle the times when they don’t love me. And I will love them. I will love them enough to stop caring.

*I'm working out some dance routines to all of the 90s rap I've memorized over the years. So yeah. You could say I'm ready.