Braggart

I just have to praise my daughter for one moment. She deserves some praise.

Lilli started her freshman year in a new school last fall. She was ambitious and hopeful. She took AP World History because her previous history teachers were awesome and she’s always taken advanced placement classes when possible. She got to pick her schedule for the first time without input from us. (Truly! We did not encourage her to take this, it was news to us!) She had no idea how tough it would be.

AP World History is a class usually reserved for sophomores and juniors. It’s a college-level course offering college credit with weighted grade points. She didn’t really understand how grueling it would become or that it was for college credit. She just assumed this is the class she should take. The other history course offered to freshman was just regular old History.

She quickly realized the amount of note-taking and homework was unusual. A Bible-sized amount of vocab note cards later, she was drowning in stress and anxiety. This wasn’t even like any college course I’d taken. No notes dictated by the professor. Just endless excavation of words from reading. This was difficult for a 14 yo who should actually still be in 8th grade (she skipped 4th grade). Hell, it would be difficult for anyone of any age.

But she just found out–she got a 95 (A) on her final exam for the class! Honestly, I was overjoyed, but not surprised. I knew she could do it. Of anyone I know, Lilli could do it.

Lilli is smart. So are many kids these days. But what Lilli has above most, even her parents, is an undying work ethic. I’m so proud of that. So thankful for her constant devotion, integrity and bottomless strength. She inspires me.

She’s had her low moments in this class. Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling inadequate. Feeling like she’s in over her head. But she always rallied. With encouragement from us, she didn’t linger long in her feelings of vulnerability and weakness.

After the first week, she was ready to transfer. Through tears and shaky voice cracks, she was serious about moving to a less-challenging class. I asked her to try. Try until the end of first semester. “And if you still want to transfer, let’s do it,” I told her.

She tried. She finished. She succeeded. And she stayed the whole year.

We’ve helped, but she’s done most of it on her own. Just being willing to try was her biggest accomplishment. Pushing past difficulty and pain. Tackling this class has been the hardest, most challenging job she’s had so far. And she aced it.

Big lessons other than history learned here. Way to go, Pencil Princess. I am so happy that you’re my girl. So happy you kept going. You’re getting a huge reward from us! AND you don’t have to take World History ever again! LOL You’re a genius!!


You can change the world. You just have to change your mind first.

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EOC

EOC stands for End Of Course. It’s the end, of course! No. End of class course. My daughter just took her EOC test for Algebra. I’d never heard EOC.

I guess Algebra is a high school course and the 8th-grade Algebra students have to take the test to move on in high school? Idk. But I like this phrase. End of course.

Graduating from 8th grade feels like some sort of accomplishment for her. She’s supposed to be in 7th grade. She’s only 13. She skipped 4th grade and has needed to adjust socially since.

It can be a blessing and a curse. Advancing through school so quickly can seem like a pleasurable cut to the front of the line. But some people give you the side-eye on the way up. Also, once you’re at the front of the line, it’s your turn! NOW! GO, GO, GO!

I told her, if it wouldn’t destroy her social game, she could actually be in college at this point like a little friggin’ Doogie Howser. That flattered her, but it’s true! I have no doubt.

But.

There’s something to be said for standing on line. There are lessons in the waiting.

You know? My dad only graduated from the 8th grade? He went on to high school, but he hated it. He dropped in his junior year. He never graduated. He was a smart man, but in the 50s, you could just drop out and become whatever it is that you wanted to be. He entered the military, learned how to be a mechanic and did that for the rest of his life.

And here my daughter is, ready for high school. With a higher reading score than any of her predecessors. (I barely graduated from a two-year college LOL) She said she just took a test for lexile scores. Her’s was in the 1600s? I looked that up because IDK WTH a lexile score is. LOL I do know what it is, but what good is it? It’s usually a grade-corresponding reading level. 1600 is that of a graduate student at university.

Not to brag, but damn! If you look up some of the books that are recommended for 1600+:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Perspectives on Nuclear War and Peace Education by Robert Ehrlich
A Fable by William Faulkner

A Fable is a book described by my husband (an extremely fast reader with above-average intelligence) as being trapped in the Blair Witch Project student film. A collection of run-on sentences (the creek they keep following) in which he was completely lost with no way out and the map had been tossed!

Suggestions for a light, summery read, Anyone??! LOL

I honestly can’t believe, when I sit down and think about it, that this strange human being came out of my body. She is greater than the sum of our parts as parents or as humans. That’s for sure. I look at her sometimes and think she must be from outer-friggin’-space. That I was probed and impregnated with an alien super-genius and I’m just mucking it all up.

I don’t mean to overstate her brilliance. But she’s utterly, awe-inspiringly amazing.

I don’t normally tell people in passing conversation that she’s a genius. Because when I do, they have an incredulous look on their face. “Yeah, right. Everybody’s kid’s a genius.”

But she really is. She was tested in Kindergarten after being at school (for like 5 minutes) and they discovered that she was a genius. She joined Mensa in Kindergarten. The kid is ridiculous.

I tend to downplay her super-smarts because people don’t wanna hear it. People hate hearing about how smart your kid is, just like they hate looking at your 10-fold plastic picture wallet sleeve full of baby pix.

But what I love most about Lilli? She’s kind. I wish I had a folded-up printout of all her intangible gifts of positivity. A photo collage of her spirit.

She breaks my heart with her generosity and tolerance. Every day. I love her. I am amazed by her. She is unbelievable. And I’m her mom. She’s going to change the world. And I get to watch.

It’s not the end, of course. It’s just the beginning. But I’m so proud of everything she’s done so far. She composed a song for her junior high choir and they are singing at the awards show in just a coupla weeks. I’m going to cry my stupid, old eyes out.


Now, it’s the end. Of course. 😉

Trapped

This is another story my daughter wrote. She won an award for this one. PTA Reflections 2017 awarded her honorable mention at state level for Missouri, junior high division. Really proud.

“What is Your Story?” was the theme this year. Lilli’s story is a little sad, but truthful and daring. Her piece is a great perspective on writing and art creation, in general. A true reflection of how many artists feel about revealing their work. It’s risky to put your heart on the line. But brave to try!

lil award.jpg
Here she is walking across the stage, accepting her award!

“Trapped Inside My Own Mind” by Lillian Maggio

Isn’t it strange? I love to compose music, and I love imagining the way it will sound. I take joy in writing the lyrics and listening to my accompaniment played with clunky digital sounds, but I absolutely detest my own voice. In addition, I can’t play any instrument, so I have hardly any idea how to write music for another person to play. I hate the concept of someone else singing for me, because I know in my heart that they wouldn’t do my song justice. I’m afraid to ask a musician for help because I don’t know if my songs can even be played. So I compose scores which I am proud of and rejoice in, yet no one really ever hears my music but me.

I love thinking up beautiful and magical characters with complex and wonderful designs and personalities, but I hate the style in which I draw, so their appearance remains a mystery. I’m so petrified that I’ll make a mistake or portray them wrong that I can never portray them at all. I long to use my art to bring light and wonder to the world, to tell a story that hasn’t been told before, but I’m so afraid that my story will be incomplete and riddled with flaws. So my characters are never brought to life, never see the light of day.

I love to write, and I would love even more to be recognized for my talent. I write based on my own experiences, sometimes even making up fantastical worlds all by myself. Still, I can never bring myself to actually try and publish any of my works. I tell myself that I don’t have a chance, that I’ll never become popular and that no one will ever read, let alone care about, what I have to say. Or, even worse, that someone will see my work and copy it, claiming my creation as their own while I can do nothing. So I hide everything I do, far from where anyone could see or hear it.

I’m trapped inside my own mind. My worst adversary is, in reality, myself; my own fear. I can’t show everyone all the amazing stories I’ve been dying to tell. And it’s because I’m holding myself back, preventing myself from sharing my thoughts and ideas with the world.

So I can’t tell my story. I’m far too afraid.