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Day 30 of 30 day writing challenge

30-Day writing challenge through Kale & Cigarettes (500 words)

It's over and I wanted to reflect now on how this 30-day challenge has changed me.

Today, I spend the day motivating and helping my almost-18-year-old daughter write a 15-page play for the San Mateo Traffic Court judge in the Juvenille Court. We had the awesome experience of opting to meet with the judge on a speeding ticket of hers. We includes me because until she is 18, it's all about the parent.

Lucky us... the judge loves MINI Coopers (we have two) and is a big theater buff. My daughter is a theater and playwrite major. He interviewed us to realize how kind and creative and genuine she is as a person. He wanted to help her truly learn a lesson, not just fine her—which ultimately is all about the parent paying, and all about the parent's insurance rates going up.

when you get to write a play instead of paying the fine

He assigned her a 15-page play to be due by today, June 18, to a theme that shows she learned a lesson and will not speed anymore.

I already had to call the judge and beg for extension since she missed the first deadline due to stress of trying to graduate from high school. Around the Bay Area, that is not exactly a simple feat. Especially at her high school, the competition amongst the parents the students is insane. No wonder most kids are stressed beyond belief! Even after getting accepted into 12 four-year colleges and making her decision, the party was not beginning until after she got her high school diploma. Concerts and friends needed to take priority (especially a 5-day one over Memorial Day holiday right after her teachers had expressed concern to me and asked for my guidance to help her). Cool mom that I am let her go to Lightning in a Bottle near San Luis Obispo. "It will be like a Vision Quest but with music, Mom. I so need this."

lightning in a bottle for sanity

I so needed it too. She did it. She graduated. But it wasn't like we knew this on the day (or hours before) the graduation ceremony. Instead of putting on makeup and getting dressed up for our special celebratory pre-graduation dinner, we were searching frantically on Google Drive, Mac Searchlight for the missing Economics final paper that was turned in already, printed and handed to the teacher, but... there was confusion as to this hand-off. I, the mother, who doesn't cuss at authority figures was acting it all out in advance in text messages to my daughter telling her exactly what I was going to say and do to them "in the next 20 minutes" if we don't have some resolution. She was freaking out.

And then... I found it within myself to pretend I was in a yoga class. I found my patience. I found my words. I found my calm. (My daughter was unable to think straight). I called her teachers, one by one, and calmly showed my daughter how chaotic moments can be problem solved with honesty, tact and only a little bit of finger-pointing. I respectfully begged and offered a mother's last plea at explaining how proud we are of her, and how respectfully absurd the situation was... finding out at the last minute that a paper was lost (one that was actually written!) and diploma was pulled? WTF? (I said that without cuss words). I got a nice message back and all is well.

On this 30th day of this writing challenge, I see that I have found some lost mojo again when it comes to explaining life in a humorous yet eloquent way (that even I, a perfectionist of heart-written words, am proud to reread).

And now, off I go to continue on my writing streak on

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