Monday, May 4, 2015

May the Fourth be With You

     This may come as a shock to some of you, but growing up I was a complete nerd.  (I know, right?!) I loved reading and learning so much; school was my favorite.  I made A's all my life.  (Until Nursing school, of course.)  In primary and middle school I was teased mercilessly for not being cool or popular.  I remember being called names, bullied, and even tripped in the hallways between classes.  At recess I would hide in the library, where I'd research anything from ancient civilizations to American history.  But that didn't always work, and some nights I'd come home very upset, and I'd cry to my stuffed animals.  On nights like those I remember being cheered up by the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he went off in search of dragons and treasure.  On other occasions when I was made to feel bad, I'd perk up while watching Luke Skywalker use the Force to conquer the Dark Side with my daddy and big sister.  Sometimes, just daydreaming about what it would feel like to have superpowers, like the X-men, would make all the worries go away.  I didn't always like being a nerd, though.  I tried not to be one for a while, and I was miserable.  I wanted to be popular in middle school, but that would have meant giving up all the things that made me happy.  For a while I tried, but it didn't work.  It just made the misery worse.  Finally in high school I found people who liked me just as I was, no pretending, and no sacrificing the things I was passionate about, but I was still hesitant to let my inner nerd truly fly, having been made to suffer for it all my life.
     It's odd how paradoxical life can be.  As bad as I wanted to fit in while in grade school, that's how badly I want my daughter to stand out.  Even after all the torment I went through as a nerd, I'd love to see my daughter be one too.  And here's why: nerds, geeks, dorks, whatever you call them have one thing in common: passion.  They are incredibly passionate about the things that make them happy, whether that's science, technology, comic books, novels, Halo, Magic the Gathering, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, LOTR, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.   It doesn't matter what ignites their excitement, once a geek likes something, they let everyone know about it, and they pursue it for life.  I want my daughter to be passionate about life, and I want her to find joy in even something as trivial as a card game.  That's why I encourage her when she shows an interest in something to go all out with it.  You like superheros?  Superhero books!  Superhero coloring pages! Super hero costumes!  Oh, you're into Pokemon now?  Cool.  I'll buy two decks, and then we can play together.  What's that?  You were playing Star Wars at school with a friend?  Sweet!  Let's watch the movies, so you can accurately imitate a strong female character like Princess Leia.
     Being a nerd is something that I thought brought me great strife as a child, but now I realize that's only because I didn't embrace it at the time.  I hope my child enjoys her nerdiness, and embraces the fact that you can get really excited about a movie, or a scientific fact, or even a new trading card, and that's OKAY!  That's more than okay in my book; that's pretty cool :-)
    Coincidentally, this monologue is being brought to you on none other than May the Fourth (if you don't get the reference, you're excused).  You know...Star Wars Day?  And since the theme of the evening is revel in your nerdiness, allow me to share with you the epic lunch I sent Monkey to school with.  This is the lunch my sister deemed, "The most epic and nerdy thing you've ever concocted" (and that's saying something).

     This marvelous Star Wars masterpiece was so much fun to make.  I created Princess Leia by drawing a cartoonish version of her onto a sandwich bun using a food marker.  The Storm Trooper was made by simply drawing on a boiled egg with the same food maker.  Yoda was created by cutting a green apple in half; I then cut one of the halves in half again, and I soaked those three parts (the half and two quarters) in a bowl of water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice for about 5 minutes to keep it from browning before lunch.  I arranged Yoda's ears and face by using green grapes to keep everything in place.  Next I used the tip of a grape as a nose by securing it with a toothpick, and I added a pair of candy eyes using a couple of dabs of Nutella.  I threw in a handful of Wheat Thin Chips for good measure, and I sent Monkey off to school.  But, wait, there's more....

     I had to add this fun little note to the lid of Monkey's lunch box.

     Today was also Monkey's day to bring snacks to school, and I had a LOT of fun putting these together.

     I found Star Wars themed Teddy Grahams, although you could also use the chocolate Teddy Grahams as Ewoks, and I placed those in one snack bag per child.  Then I dipped pretzel sticks in white chocolate that I had dyed blue and red, although, the red turned out pink :-/  Monkey didn't mind though.  She knew which ones were for the Dark Side lol.  I printed out little labels from card stock that said, "Happy Star Wars Day", and I used those to staple the two bags together.

     Next I printed out little labels that said "Jedi Juice".  I let Monkey color the lightsabers before I enlisted J's help to tape the labels onto juice boxes.

     I had a lot fun putting all these together for Monkey, and she informed me that her classmates enjoyed playing with the mini lightsabers before devouring them.  Yay for organized nerdiness!

Happy Star Wars Day!  May the Fourth be With You! :-)