Thursday, November 13, 2014


Let me tell you a story about my stepdaughter, Jenna. Jenna is currently a senior in high school and was a cheerleader both in tenth and eleventh grade. I heard, over and over, that all she wanted to do, lived for actually, was to make varsity cheer. She went through the tryouts and made it. Her dream came true and then…she quit. The whole experience wasn’t what she thought it would be. She thought it was going to be more team than me, me, me. It wasn’t and she quit. I said then, everyone said then, “Are you sure?” She was sure.

She walked away and never looked back.

I was so proud of her and loved her even more.  That’s Jenna.

Jenna was five when I married her mother. She moved from the only place she’d ever known to New York. That’s daunting for an adult much less a little kid. She also left her father, who she cherishes, behind in Florida. All that to follow her mom’s love for me and to come north to join this new family.

Jenna, Me, Maya 
She and her new sister went to the same grade school and I would drive them there every morning. In the car I would play CD’s of all my favorite songs and we would sing along. Mostly off key, but singing our hearts out, Jenna included.

I tell you that to tell you this.

Jenna is fearless.

We’d moved to Orlando and at her school she had to get up and sing in front of parents, her teacher and fellow students. Talk about tough.  And remember she was maybe, nine. Jenna was very nervous but she did it. She sang a song WE used to sing, “Give me a ticket for an airplane, ain’t got time to take a fast train…” When I was nine, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near there. Show her something she’s not supposed to be able to do, and she does it. Jenna has always put her head in the lion’s mouth.

When I had my stroke all the kids came to the hospital to visit. That meant so much to me. Jenna rode around the hospital corridor in the wheel chair I used. It was big fun for a kid and a great reminder for this guy to start getting busy getting out of that bed. So I did. She's told me time and time again how important to her it was that I did my rehab and fought so hard to overcome this bad thing. Coming from Jenna, that touched my heart. It also inspired me to keep working even when I was ready to give in.

I call this next part 'getting to know you.'

Jenna loves popcorn, our house smells like it all the time. She also loves Chinese food, in her words, “I could eat it everyday.” Not everyday for me, but close. She’s grown from a little kid to a fine young woman. She's smart, pretty, a wonderful big sister and a wonderful daughter.

She's also a great athlete. When she was younger Jenna played softball and basketball. Now Swim Team is the thing. Jenna has also been reading the news at her school via television since fourth grade. In college, she wants to major in that direction.

I know a bit about that.

The twins next.

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1 comment:

  1. If, in this life, we raise open-minded, thoughtful, empathetic, and self-aware human beings who can go out into the world and make a difference, then we have achieved the greatest. There is no better validation than seeing them soar. Kudos to you who raised Jenna, and kudos to her for her own tenacity and strong will.