It's not every day that your only child turns 25, so forgive me if I brag a bit. Kristen is extremely smart, and was named to the "Talented and Gifted Program" when she was in grade school. She read "Gone With the Wind" while still in grade school.
She has an exceptional gift for languages. In high school, she won the gold medal in the National Latin Exam and won first place in the state in the National French Exam and the National German Exam. She was a graduate of Highest Distinction at Bismarck High School.
She won a scholarship to Georgetown University, studying German and French, and earning a B. A. degree in French. Right now, she is pursuing her first love, reading, by attending grad school in library science.
She loved She-Ra and My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake and her Pie Patch (Cabbage Patch.) And, obviously, she loved to read. A petite little thing, she was still "the social director" when it came to playing with other kids.
She was a great kid, very loving and good. But that didn't mean she didn't have her moments. Our biggest battles were over clothes, even in grade school. She insisted on rolling her jeans or pants way up, and her socks way down. She had one outfit I thought looked so cute - a periwinkle blue turtleneck and pink and periwinkle blue overalls. Turns out she HATED that outfit, and tried to sneak another outfit to school in her backpack.
During high school she wasn't rebellious or wayward, but it was during her sophomore year that we discovered that she was suffering from depression, which explained a lot of her moods.
Kristen's path hasn't been smooth and easy. In college, she had a serious physical illness and nearly died. She also had a major depressive episode. She had to drop out of school for a semester and really fight her way back. And she did. On her My Space site, she has a quote from Shakespeare: "She is little, but she be fierce."
Yes, she is fierce, and strong. When she was so ill, there was one doctor who was not preaching doom and gloom. He told me, "She's young and she's strong." That became a mantra for her dad and me. She has learned so much, and she is so wise. She now is often the one counseling me when I have troubles.
In college, she became fascinated with the "Lord of the Rings" books and movies. If you ever want to know the answers to any LOTR trivia, she's the one to go to. She has a deep love for animals. She always cried for the horses who died in movies, not the people. When "Clyde the Bear" at the Dakota Zoo died, she cried buckets. But her greatest love in the animal kingdom is for dogs:
KRISTEN AFTER LADY IN "LADY AND THE TRAMP")
BEAU GUARDED KRISTEN IN HER CRIB, TOO.
HER MOST FAVORITE DOG OF ALLIn addition to going to grad school, Kristen also holds down a full-time job. She has a steady, loving boyfriend. She takes care of her body (unlike her mom), her soul, her mind and her spirit. She is responsible, dedicated, funny and cool. As you can tell, her Dad and I are extremely proud of her. So, Kristen:
WHETHER IN SPRING OR FALL,
WHETHER SHORT OR TALL
(OKAY, NEVER REALLY TALL)
I LOVE YOU, MY DEAR, MOST OF ALL.WHETHER THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
OR ON GRADUATION DAY
I'VE CARRIED YOU IN MY HEART,
AND YOU'RE THERE TO STAY.
WHETHER YOUR HAIR WAS SHORT OR LONG
WITH YOU AS MY KID I COULDN'T GO WRONG.
BE IT WAS PURPLE, PUNKED, SPIKED OR BLUE,
WHATEVER IT WAS, I LOVED YOU.
WHETHER WITH BRACES OR WITHOUT
MY LOVE FOR YOU WAS NEVER IN DOUBT.
WHETHER A LITTLE WITCH OR BABY DINOSAUR,
I COULDN'T HAVE LOVED YOU ANY MORE.