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MGardeski

@mgardeski

  • A P R I L  2 0 2 4 

#mg1se #1seme #1secondeveryday
  • M A R C H  2 0 2 4

#mg1se #1secondeveryday #1seme @1secondeveryday
  • F E B R U A R Y  2 0 2 4

I heard someone say that January took a whole year to get through and February said it had somewhere to BE. And I couldn’t agree more. 

#1seme #mg1se #1secondeveryday #february2024
  • J A N U A R Y  2 0 2 4

#mg1se #1seme #1secondeveryday #january
  • 2 0 2 3

Here’s my year in 1/2 second glimpses. 

This year did not in any way go to plan. I’m ending 2023 miles from where I thought I would be in many areas of my life. 

If you know me you know I have a love hate relationship with planning. I hate doing it. But once I’ve done it, taken the time to put thought and resources toward a desired outcome, I cannot stand when my plans are derailed in big ways. 

I take pride in being able to go with the flow, but I’m learning that this is only true within a certain deviation outside of how I believe things should go. And unfortunately, life doesn’t fit into neat little boxes. 

I’m feeling more and more that I need to get outside of that restrictive area and step more into unknowns. Get comfortable with pushing my self enforced boundaries. 

This is probably self preservation. If I’m comfortable with scary things, they can’t really be all that scary right? But no matter the reason, I’m looking for ways to be brave this next year. 

Brave will look different on a day to day basis. 

I’m not planning on jumping out of a plane any time soon or anything. But as I learn what God is asking of me, I’m hoping that I’m willing to set my plans aside and take the next step without hesitation. Or maybe even just a little less hesitation.
  • D E C E M B E R  2 0 2 3

#mg1se #1seme #1secondeveryday
  • N O V E M B E R  2 0 2 3

It’s kind of rude that December is tomorrow. 

#1seme #mg1se #1secondeveryday @1secondeveryday
  • Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
  • O C T O B E R  2 0 2 3

#mg1se #onesecondeveryday #1seme #1secondeveryday #october
A P R I L 2 0 2 4 #mg1se #1seme #1secondeveryday
3 weeks ago
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1/9
M A R C H 2 0 2 4 #mg1se #1secondeveryday #1seme @1secondeveryday
2 months ago
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2/9
F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 I heard someone say that January took a whole year to get through and February said it had somewhere to BE. And I couldn’t agree more. #1seme #mg1se #1secondeveryday #february2024
3 months ago
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3/9
J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 4 #mg1se #1seme #1secondeveryday #january
4 months ago
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4/9
2 0 2 3 Here’s my year in 1/2 second glimpses. This year did not in any way go to plan. I’m ending 2023 miles from where I thought I would be in many areas of my life. If you know me you know I have a love hate relationship with planning. I hate doing it. But once I’ve done it, taken the time to put thought and resources toward a desired outcome, I cannot stand when my plans are derailed in big ways. I take pride in being able to go with the flow, but I’m learning that this is only true within a certain deviation outside of how I believe things should go. And unfortunately, life doesn’t fit into neat little boxes. I’m feeling more and more that I need to get outside of that restrictive area and step more into unknowns. Get comfortable with pushing my self enforced boundaries. This is probably self preservation. If I’m comfortable with scary things, they can’t really be all that scary right? But no matter the reason, I’m looking for ways to be brave this next year. Brave will look different on a day to day basis. I’m not planning on jumping out of a plane any time soon or anything. But as I learn what God is asking of me, I’m hoping that I’m willing to set my plans aside and take the next step without hesitation. Or maybe even just a little less hesitation.
5 months ago
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5/9
D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 3 #mg1se #1seme #1secondeveryday
5 months ago
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6/9
N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 It’s kind of rude that December is tomorrow. #1seme #mg1se #1secondeveryday @1secondeveryday
6 months ago
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7/9
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. 

To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. 

Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. 

To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together.

#aboutlamtime2023 

📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
Still over here crying about how good this day was. To my Gracie, it was an HONOR to stand beside you. (Even if I failed at fluffing your train!) We both know there’s no guarantee that we won’t grow apart throughout the course of our lifetimes, but I know that neither of us would let our friendship go down without a real fight. You care for so many, but please know that while you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend you do HAVE to be mine. And vice versa. Wilson, It’s takes a special person to out nice the nicest person I know, to surprise the kindest person I know with kindness, and to love someone who loves as deeply as Grace. You’re stuck with all of us now, but I know you’re up for the challenge. To both of you, I am so excited to see how you grow as you enter this new season. And I know that you will grow, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. The honor was all mine helping you make this day one fit for marking the start of a beautiful life together. #aboutlamtime2023 📸: @leannecantelon (a magician I swear)
6 months ago
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8/9
O C T O B E R 2 0 2 3 #mg1se #onesecondeveryday #1seme #1secondeveryday #october
7 months ago
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9/9

Untitled (Part 1)

This is a work of fiction that I’m working on. It is as of yet unnamed. (The unofficial working title I’ve given it is Bridget Goes to Nebraska, but is has nothing to do with a girl named Bridget, or Nebraska….. so…..)

**Disclaimer**
I went to school for graphic design, and have always felt “stuck” when trying to sit down and write fictional stories. I’ve written enough newsletters, and product descriptions to fill a novel many times over and I can’t count the number of people who ask me what the right wording for something would be. But, fiction has always eluded me. With that being said, creative writing is something that I’ve always wanted to be good at. As you don’t magically become good at something without practicing it, that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do.

I work as a Graphic and Web designer, and by the time I get home at night, that side of my creativity often feels tapped out. But, I’ve always needed a way to express myself creatively that is just for me. So, I’m writing. It’s stretching me, and I’m surprised to say that thus far, I’m actually enjoying it.

I don’t think this will become anything other than an exercise in creativity to entertain myself, but I’m sharing it anyway. This is the first section that I feel is to a place where I’m comfortable with others possibly stumbling across and reading it.

If you manage to get through to the end of this (lengthy) post, I’d love to hear some of your feedback!

 

 


The first time that I decided I wanted to write a book was during my senior year of high school. My best friend and I were inspired to write what we just knew would be the next great American novel based on a pending visit to my recently relocated Nana in Nebraska. We lovingly named this great literary work “Bridget Goes to Nebraska”, and then…. Well, there was no and then. That was it for Bridget. I’m not even sure why we decided that the heroine of our tale should be called Bridget, but it sounded like a name of a girl who was starting life anew in the Cornhusker state.

I’ve always been a creative person. As a Designer, dreaming up things is my job. And people tell me I’m pretty good at it. But all of my book ideas last just about as long as Bridget did. I always start with the greatest of intentions, but after writing an initial scene where I do the tiniest bit of character development, I get bored, and can’t possibly imagine another thing that my characters would ever dream of doing. Or, I decide that absolutely NO ONE would want to read the things that I can think up on my own. And yet this want to create an interesting story is one that comes back to me time and time again. I just can’t seem to shake it.

I’ve been writing blog posts about the design world for Daily Online Magazine for just a little over a year now. I was connected with the Magazine when they were looking for someone to rebuild their outdated website. Apparently, they liked my work, and when my now editor asked if I would be interested in writing a biweekly column on design trends, I jumped at the chance. I mean, it wasn’t a book deal, but it’s a start, right?

I’ve really been enjoying the different side of creativity that comes from carefully choosing words to take my readers through a range of emotions. That’s something that I just don’t feel like I really get from designing an eye-catching piece. There’s something so special about creating a connection with readers twice a month that’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. I know I’ll never be winning a Pulitzer or anything like that for this column, but it’s fun. Like seriously fun. Which is something that I never expected when I started.

They say that sleep is for the weak, and I think busy designers are those that coined this phrase, and then took it to the next level. There’s no such thing as too much caffeine in my line of work. I have about ten million other things that I should do right now. I’m supposed to have finished a website for a friend by this evening, and should have already completed some logo design for one of my clients. Yet here I sit, with my computer open to Gmail. Staring blankly at an email that I opened half an hour ago.

The email that sits open on my screen is something that I never in a million years expected to be reading. I’ve only been writing my column for a couple of months, but apparently I’ve been doing more than merely adequate work. I didn’t even know that the Editor-In-Chief of the magazine knew my name. Not only does he know my name, but he’s also been reading every single one of my columns. I try really hard not to think back over every piece I’ve ever submitted, which is honestly a lesson in futility. My face grows red as I think of every silly comment I’ve ever typed about a new photo-editing app for your phone, or what color combos were trending for the season. I suddenly wish that I had focused my column more on how design affects unemployment or something, anything, besides the fluff topics I’d been writing about.

Even though I highly doubt that I’ll ever be winning awards for my writing, Stuart Jones has them plastered all over his corner office. As Editor-And-Chief of Daily Online Magazine, he has been racking up achievements for the last decade. And, according to the curt string of black and white on the screen before me, he is requesting that I schedule a meeting through his assistant to discuss the possibility of my permanently joining the Magazine staff.

As a part of the full-time writing team.

There had to be some kind of mistake. I was sure of it.

I read the email for the tenth time, just to see if I could pinpoint where and how this particular mistake had occurred. But, sure enough, there was my personal email address in the “To” field, my last name in the greeting (Dear Ms. Taylor), and my first name sprinkled through the whole blasted thing.

One thing that people should know about me is that Max Taylor tries her best to look fear in the face, and to not back down. Even when it comes to potentially embarrassing, career altering conversations. While my resolve is high, I snatch up my phone from where I’d left it on the table and punch in the number to Mr. Jones’s direct line with as much confidence as I can muster. Just because I don’t back down, doesn’t mean that I don’t second guess myself, and when his administrative assistant, Judy, answers with a cheerful “Daily Online Magazine, Stuart Jones’ office, this is Judy speaking, how can I help you today?”, I seriously have to restrain myself from giving into the violent urge to hit the red button on my screen as many times as I can in rapid succession to end the call.

Instead, I find myself saying, “Hi Judy. This is Max Taylor. I’m a freelancer that works for the design department, sometimes as a designer and sometimes as a writer.” She greets me back with a simple “Hello, Max.” before I barrel on.

“I received an email from Mr. Jones this morning wanting me to set up a meeting with him to discuss a possible full-time position. But, I think there is probably some kind of mistake. I just write a column a couple of times a month and design some graphics for the site once in a while. I’m guessing that he was looking for someone that might have the same last name as me, or something like that. If that’s the case, that’s totally fine I just–”

Judy interrupts me hastily with a curt, “Ms. Taylor.”, or I would have gone on blabbering incoherently forever. “While I’m sure that Mr. Jones would love to hear all about the mistake you believe he’s made, I can assure you that he is aware of who he was writing to. If you’re through assuring me you’re not a good fit for any position that might be offered to you, can we find a time that will work with your schedule to meet with Mr. Jones tomorrow afternoon? My job is to do as he asks, and even though I now feel this is a mistake, I know he would prefer that this discussion happen sooner rather than later. Please let me know now if there is any issue with my scheduling the appointment for 2pm.”

Feeling thoroughly admonished, I meekly reply with a simple, “That’s a fine time for me.”

“Please arrive by 2:15 and stop at the front desk to get a badge from security if you don’t already have one. You will need to complete a couple of forms before you speak with Mr. Jones, so please do not be late.”

And with a soft click, the call is disconnected. Seems like, according to Judy, I didn’t merit a goodbye.

I smile and make myself a promise that I am going to be sure to keep. If they really offer me a full-time position, that is something I can accept, I’m going to make it my mission to get Judy to like me. Even if it takes all the time in the world, I am going to prove to her, and to myself, that I’m up for the challenge. I’ll prove to the both of us that I’m not in over my head.

I should really call my parents. I talk to them about everything, but hadn’t called them immediately upon opening the email from Mr. Jones. It’s been four years since I graduated from college with my dual degree in Graphic Design and Communications, and I had yet to land that all elusive “dream job.” (Or even figure out what exactly that might be for me.) My parents have always been my biggest fans; pinning every purple polka-dotted puppy I drew as a five-year-old, attending every art show I ever had a piece in, and making sure that I never went without something that I needed, even when it meant that they went without. Sometimes, all that faith in me was a lot to live up to. Being their only child meant they had a lot of time to spend observing my every move, but usually I really loved it. I still don’t want to get their hopes up this time before I knew anything for sure.

My mom grew up in a big family smack dab in Middle America, or as she likes to call it, “country.” Even though she’s been living in Southern California for the greater part of three decades, she still likes to tell people about how when she was growing up, her town had a population of about 3,000 people and 4 times that many cows buried under three feet of snow at any point.

Dad grew up across the pond in good old Town. I’d only ever been to England once, and that was with an art club I was President of in college. Dad couldn’t bring himself to go back there once he left. He doesn’t talk much about his family, even when I ask him. About five years ago, I sat down with my mom to see how much she knew about his family—I’ve always been more curious than I should be—and all she could tell me is that he didn’t have any connections left in England, and that it was super hard for him to be there the one time they had managed it on their teachers’ salaries.

That’s how they met. They were both going to college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln for teaching, and met the week before they were both going to graduate with their undergrad degrees. Dad says it was love at first sight, but mom tells the story a little differently. They were slated to go off to different universities in order to get their Master’s degrees, but mom still agreed to a date when dad asked. I guess you could say that the rest was history. Dad was actually the one to change where he would go to work toward his Masters after only knowing my mom for two weeks. He says that he doesn’t believe long-distance relationships work, and he really wanted to see where things would go with my mom. I guess I should be grateful that he was impulsive at least once in his life.

They married a week after they both finished their degrees, up to their eyeballs in student loan debt, and no job offers in sight. But they were in love, and they knew it would work out. At least that’s how they tell the story.

When I was about twelve, I made them sit down and tell me all the cheesy details of their relationship. Again, curiosity got the best of me, as I had decided that this was something that a daughter should know, even an adopted daughter, especially an adopted daughter. I wanted to know what had happened in their lives that had led them to me.

Mom and dad had tried to have kids right off the bat. My mom was from a big family, and she wanted one of her own. There was a certain amount of pressure, as she was the oldest of eight, and the last to start her family. Since dad didn’t have any family to speak of, he had dreams of starting a big family to make up for the one he was lacking. After a few years of trying with no success, they went the whole route of medical testing to see why it just wasn’t happening for them. Their doctor at that point told them their testing was inconclusive, and that there was every possibility that it was just stress causing them not to conceive.

My parents decided that starting a family was priority number one, and that this was their sign to start a “new life” somewhere where they thought they would have less stress.

They moved to sunny Southern California, where dad took a job as a high school art teacher in one of Los Angeles’ largest public schools, and mom landed an administrative position at a small private preschool. They worked in those respective positions until they retired, together, a few months ago.

After moving and settling into their new lives, my parents tell me they decided they would not worry about what was going to happen, and just let their family start whenever God thought it should start. They kept trying to have kids, of course, but when they hit their tenth year of marriage, they were once again becoming discouraged, and felt that they should start the process of becoming foster parents. As teachers, they too often saw children in “the system” falling through the cracks as they transferred from house to house and district to district. They saw this as their opportunity to do something tangible to help these children.

I found out that my biological mother was the first long term foster care placement they had. She was placed with them because my parents had indicated that they were willing to take in “problem cases”, or in the case of my biological mother, unwed, pregnant fifteen-year-old’s. I think you can guess where this is going from here.

My adoption was complete as soon as I was born, and the only name I’ve ever known is Max Taylor. My parents named me after my dad, and his dad, and his dad before that. The name Maxwell Taylor has been passed down through generations of first-born sons in my dad’s family. I think that by the time I came around they had decided they had better not take any chances on not being able to pass the name on, and thus I have spent my life confusing many a teacher on the first day of school. Luckily, they went with Max and spared me the ridiculousness of being a girl named Maxwell.

From day one, our bond has been special. I never really knew the depth of their connection with me, but when I was finally nosy enough to get all the gory details, I could fully understand. They’ve given up so much in their lives for me, when they didn’t have to, and I owe them everything right along with loving them with my whole heart.

I decide at that moment that after everything we’ve been through together, it’s not fair to keep something like this possible job offer from them any longer. Even if I am terrified of letting them down, if this whole thing turns out to be nothing, I need their opinion. There is no way I am going to be able to make this decision on my own. It’s time to call in the reinforcements and run what I am thinking past the only parents I had ever known. They’ll know how to unravel and sort through the maze of thoughts that are going through my head.

 

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