Monday, June 15, 2009

To Chelsea, the High School Graduate

I asked Chelsea if she would like me to post a tribute to her on Facebook, like I did for Rick. She said, "I'd appreciate the thought, but not the abject humiliation." So I'm just posting it on my blog, where I can safely assume that none of her friends will read it. I know that there's nothing worse in the life of a teenager than a proud parent.

Especially a teenager like Chelsea, who never wants to draw attention to herself. She couldn't understand why the school made a big fuss about her becoming a National Merit Scholarship finalist. "The SATs are stupid anyway. Nobody can help how they do." I don't know what happened to the award statuette she received--it never made it home from school.

Chelsea has always been an independent thinker who challenges my assumptions. One time when she was in kindergarten, I explained to her that daddy was voting in an election to make sure that there would be enough money to make her school look nicer. (I'm not a U.S. citizen, so I can't vote.) "And who will pay for that?" she asked.

"The people who live in Glen Ellyn."

"What if someone can't afford it? I don't think nice buildings are more important than food."

And that is how Chelsea has always been--a compassionate person who thinks rationally. Around Chelsea, we never get away with hypocrisy or faulty logic. She has a fresh and thoughtful perspective on everything. We are much better people for having raised her. 

With, perhaps, a few more gray hairs. One of Chelsea's many "talents" is her amazing ability to pull things off at the very last minute, without the slightest increase in blood pressure. She finished her UC application at approximately three minutes before the deadline. I can't count the number of all-nighters she has pulled. I'm just grateful that when she goes off to college, I'll know nothing about the near-misses. 

Congratulations, Chelsea! We love you.

Mackinac Island, 1992

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