I Don't Want to Brag, But I Have the Coolest Parents Ever This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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It all started when I was born. It was the morning (well, actually, I have no idea what time of the day it was, but I like to imagine it was a lovely morning with birds singing and flowers blooming and whatnot) of March 25, 1995, in a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. From what I hear, about a gajillion members of my extended family showed up to the occasion. I was the first grandchild on both sides, so I was (and (who are we kidding) I still am) a big deal. I don’t remember details of what happened that day- I was a little busy being born- but I’m sure if I did remember, I’d be pretty happy. Because, believe it or not, I have the coolest parents ever.

My mom is Cheryl. She grew up in Phoenix and has 7 siblings. Her parents were both in education- her dad was a guidance counselor at a high school for years and her mom was an elementary and special ed teacher. My Mom was the third oldest in her family and often helped out with her younger siblings. She graduated from Central High School, (a feat not easily accomplished- from what I hear it was a pretty sketch) went to Arizona State University, and ended up teaching first graders at a Jewish charter school before receiving her degree (which is funny, considering she’s Mormon, not Jewish). She met my dad at a church Christmas Eve dance. After the dance they ended up spending almost everyday together. They got engaged and were married that May, just five months later. My mom had me the next March (if you’ve already forgotten that story, refer to the first paragraph and take a nap or something, my goodness), and ended up with three organ-donors-if-Lauren-gets-hurt/back up kids after me- Ellyse, Milan, and Lani. But anyway, back to Mom. Since then she’s devoted basically all of her time to being an awesome mother to me. She’s driven me across town to auditions and rehearsals, payed for almost six years of private cello lessons for me, helped me with my homework (unless it’s math related- none of us are good at math, so it’s basically the blind leading the blind), comforted me while I cried about boys or school or mean people or my hair or any other topics ranging from understandable to absolutely ridiculous, and helped raise me to be the person I am today. I admire everything she does- whether it be her calling as an LDS church leader over all the women in our congregation, which requires hours and hours of hard work and nights spent up late taking phone calls from distraught neighbors, or making meals for the family that just had a baby, or putting aside some time in her busy day and asking me to play something on the cello for her and then always applauding and commending me for being so “talented” (regardless of the quality of work- let’s be real, there are times when I’m no Yo-Yo Ma) and making me want to practice, or just making a lunch for me when I’m running late- complete with a sandwich made with just the right amount of mustard, a water bottle with a lemonade packet (because she knows I don’t like the taste of water), and just enough snacks to get me through a day at school. And if this wasn’t enough, she leaves a note in there that is simple but well thought out and always makes me smile, even though its the- “omg”- worst. day. ever. I know other people claim to have the best mom ever, but I’m fairly certain mine is the best.

My Dad is Christopher. He grew up in Phoenix, but decided one day as a Junior in high school that he wanted a change in scenery. So he called up his Uncle Mark and Aunt Camille and worked out a deal- he’d babysit their young daughters for free if they’d let him live with them for his senior year. Apparently they bought it, because a year later he was graduated from Mesa High School. He spent a little time at BYU Idaho, but he just wasn’t a college person. He went on an LDS Mission to Vancouver, Canada, where he learned how to speak Canadian fluently, eh. He came home from his mission to Arizona, and one Christmas Eve was talked into going to the dance (I sure do hope this story is sounding familiar, and if it isn’t... forget about going back to the previous paragraph, just go do something else). He met my mom and the rest is history. But here’s the thing about my Dad....he’s funny. Not funny in a typical Dad kind of way, but unusually funny. He is an entrepreneur and has owned everything from a moving business to commercial real estate and everything in between. We even owned a spa for a little while. Which is weird, considering he’s not much of a spa person. Right now he owns a children’s swim school (again, weird, because I literally have no memories of him ever swimming) that has locations nationwide. He drives a Mini Cooper. He is actually really great at fashion-related stuff, and has, on multiple occasions, taken me shopping for jeans/prom dresses/shoes, because the stuff he picks is really cute. He decorated our whole house (which looks pretty classy, I might add), right down to the curtains that he sewed himself. Last year I just decided to run for orchestra president on a whim, and he wrote a full-length rap for me, complete with dramatic background music, that emphasized that I wanted to use being orchestra president as a stepping stone to, someday, rule the world. Needless to day, I was voted president. At church, my dad teaches the 14-18 year old sunday school class, and before then he taught the adult sunday school class. I get stopped in church constantly by people who want to ask me, “Do you know how funny your Dad is?” (my question for them is: You know I live in the same house as him, right? And that he works from home? And that I’m always around him?”). Once, he was teaching the adult Sunday school class about Jeremiah in the bible, and he started the class by asking “What do we know about Jeremiah besides that he was a bullfrog and a good friend of mine?”. I’m pretty sure anyone old enough to get the reference laughed, and the ones who didn’t laughed too, because my Dad is just funny like that. But my Dad can be serious though, too. Just the other day I came home from school in tears over what I thought was a traumatic day involving finding out the boy I “liked” didn’t feel the same way about me anymore, and wanted to be “just friends” (note: I am 17. This will seem stupid, like, a year from now, but right now it’s totally sad, okay?!!). My Dad sat down by me gave me some very well-thought-out advice on boys that was something along the lines of “Boys are SO dumb!”, which, to me, meant a lot coming from my Dad. I’m going to go out on a limb and say most dads wouldn’t approach their daughters boy problems with a haz-mat suit on. But my Dad isn’t afraid because, as I said earlier, I have the coolest dad ever.

So anyway, this essay was supposed to be about my hero. But I have two. My friends beg to come over to my house. Not because we have a pool (we don’t), or because we have cool video games (we don’t), or because my house is like Arizona Disneyland (it’s not), but because my parents are so darned fun! Like I said earlier, my dad holds the title of “Coolest dad EVER”, and my mom is known as just "Mom" to most of my friends. I don't know how else to express how I feel about them. I can't thank them enough for every concert attended, every gift bought, every laugh shared, and every piece of advice given. They’re just awesome people, and I can’t imagine anyone else being my heroes. This one’s for you, Mom and Dad.





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