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Yeah, I don’t know about the exclamation point, either.

This was a throwawy until I did some relighting in a plugin. The plexiglass cover does bad things to the neon underneath. Now the softness from the plexiglass is weird and good. Just like how I feel right now. Weird and good. The weird is because I’m actually happy. Happy. It’s been awhile. I like it. I’m going to do things to keep it around and make it a lot less weird.

* * *

In other news, last night, Leta got her scores from her piano performance last week. You should have seen the pride on that kid’s face. She was beaming as she got in the car. After all of the talk about quitting, the maneuvering (“Dad, I feel like you want me to be a pianist when I grow up and if I’m not, you will be sad and disappointed.” “Dad, if I quit piano, your feelings will be hurt and I just don’t like piano because it’s HAARRRRRRRRD.”), the tears and the anxiety, she walked to the car like I’ve never seen her before.

She got in and sat down. I took her piano bag and left the dome light on so I could see her eyes. “Well? I’m dying to know, Leta!”


“YES! I’m so so so so proud of you Leta! And you wanted to quit three weeks ago! How do you feel right now?”


“And do you want to quit?”


“Leta! I’m so happy for you! Give me a hug!”

She reached up from the backseat through the front seats and we hugged. Glorious moment. Glorious.

I felt the joy and the tears welling up. Kept it together without spilling a tear. We stopped at our favorite Thursday night dinner place and before we went in, Leta asked me to read the judges remarks. They were so kind and supportive. They always note areas for improvement, but the line that got me, that really caused me to lose it with joy was this line: “You have such a gift for music!”

They are right, she does have a gift. Leta thought I was laughing because I was holding my mouth and shaking, a habit that started during the separation from her mother. I would cover my mouth so she wouldn’t see me starting to cry. I was actually happy that she thought I was laughing. I told her that I was crying, but crying because I was so proud and happy for her and that she does have an amazing gift for music.

It is nothing short of astounding to see her with a personal win like this. This hasn’t been the best year for her, but things have turned in her world. And I think that seeing it manifest like this is part of my happiness as well. She’s turned a corner. And she’s done it through work. Force of will on her part and her family.

Part of this I owe to you as readers. Being able to devote time with Leta at the piano has been due to your continued support. I may not always have the luxury of that kind of time. It has been such a gift. Thank you.

Maybe one day, Leta will thank you as well. Until then, I thank you in her behalf.