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One of my favorite memories I enjoy sharing with people is the time I changed a diaper for a friends baby boy. She and another friend stood in the bedroom door, both with bottom jaws unhinged and eyes as big as saucers. I laid the child on the bed, removed the old diaper, cleaned the affected areas (thank goodness it wasn’t a #2 load), and redressed the child with, what I believe was, a high level of efficiency. The two experienced mothers watching from the door were simply speechless, for whole minutes, after my performance.

I do not have any children of my own but I’m certainly not without skills in childcare. I’ve always wondered why parents talked about the things they’ve sacrificed for their children, often with pride, so their children could have more out if life. Well, I finally get it. I understand why sacrificing for your child means so much.

I met Meah when she was 10. It was October and her 5th grade teacher confidently informed her mother that Meah was going to fail 5th grade. Now, given that there was still six months or more of school left, I decided the teacher needed to reevaluate her decision about Meah. I cannot stand for anyone to decide that a child has failed. Fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves is something we all should embrace from time to time. Especially when we have the power to effect change. Meah’s mother asked me to help, and I, being the kind hearted soul that I am (please understand sarcasm here), agreed to see what I could do. Mostly I just wanted her mother to stop crying because we shared an office and I found the sobbing quite distracting.

Meah is an incredibly bright young woman. Well, she’s a young woman now, but in my mind she’ll always be 10 years old with chocolate ice cream on her mouth. Meah just needed to be directed and motivated differently. Any teacher of worth could have figured that out. Yes, in Meah’s case I blame her teacher. Meah and I worked three evenings a week and visited museums and built projects and I’ve done anything I can to help further her education.

Meah is now a junior in high school and once again slipped into a bit of difficulty. Her teachers have given her the opportunity to do some makeup work over Spring Break. What teenager wants to work over Spring Break, right? Well, she is.

Then I got a call, asking if once again I could come help. In that moment, I knew. I knew that if the call had come when I was in New Zealand or Spain, or anywhere in the world, I would have dropped what I was doing to be by her side. Any parent would. No sacrifice is too much for our children. She may not be my daughter by birth, but I love her as my daughter by choice. No sacrifice is too much.

Instead of writing my first book while sipping on Pepsi in a recliner (sorry, I’m not a cocktail drinker), I’m teaching her to solve for the probability of a normal distribution, and literal equations, helping with the genetics of infectious diseases for biology, and with some difficulty, assisting with Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, but no sacrifice is too big, so I’ll aprender. Aprender, Spanish for learn. I figure my readers can learn something while I’m doing this!

Perhaps I won’t be able to finish my book before I leave for Spain. In the grand scheme of life, that’s just a minor sacrifice I’m willing to make. I’m proud, a parental pride I believe, of her for rising to the challenge.

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