There is a song/speech that is pretty important in our family. It’s called “Wear Sunscreen.” It was a graduation speech in the 90s and has been the soundtrack of many Sunday mornings at our house to the annoyance of some, not all, family members. One of the lines is a lifted Eleanor Roosevelt quote that says something like, “Do one thing, every day, that scares you.” This, my friends, seems to be Leo’s motto. In his tenth year on this Earth, he has shown us that you must tackle fear head on because some really cool things occur.
Early on in the school year, each class had to vote in a class representative for Student Council. This meant that you could change things you were unhappy with at school-and although Leo loves school, he despises the unfairness and inconsistencies in life like recess time and how games are supposed to alternate days, but sometimes they just don’t. So, he set out to become his Class Rep. He prepared a speech, made a sign with a BA slogan: “Be a Hero, Vote for Leo,” practiced his speech, and gave it his best shot. I thought for sure we, I mean he had it in the bag, and as his campaign manager I did everything possible to run a fair deal, but when one of his opponents talked about his newborn baby sister in his speech-and showed her sweet little picture in class-I knew we had been beat by a pathos maneuver. Next year, though, next year, we are appealing to all the emotions!
Leo also tried out for four solos this year in Boys Chorus. His teacher asked if anyone wanted to and Leo’s hand shot up first. He sang a few lines from an Oliver Twist Irish piece, a little Journey, Micheal Jackson, and Sweet Home Alabama. While he did not earn a solo spot, Paul and I received a full concert performance tonight with movements. I cannot wait to watch him this week in the actual show! He is courageous and confident-two qualities that we are so excited to see developing more this year.
Leo also decided to join the ski club this year even though he had never gone skiing or snowboarding before. What’s more interesting is that he decided to get the snowboarding lessons-where Paul or I could not help him. And while my family didn’t grow up as ski bums, we did spend some time at Mt. Holly on skis, but Paul had never done either before. It became a learning adventure for all of us! After two lessons, Leo was able to get on the ski lift and carve down his favorite run of the season: Grant’s Run. It was a sight to see!
Fear 4: Giving a Valentine
After receiving a wood burning set from Grandma and Grandpa Mattern for Christmas, Leo decided he was going to make his special friend a homemade Valentine. He worked diligently trying to create a heart with the hot wooden pen. I only helped a little. He then decided it needed color so using a red sharpie, he outlined the drawing and words. I am not sure if his friend will always remember it, but I know he will.
Fear 5: Losing a Loved One
In Leo’s ten years here, he had never known a time without Sue, our beloved dog. What he really feared was losing her for the past few years and her time finally had come. He arrived home from school in November with Claire and there was blood and poop all over the house. They texted us and then they cleaned it up together and said their goodbyes. When we got home they told her goodbye again, and we took her to the vet. Now, every morning, Leo eats breakfast with the cat, Boo-his new best friend.
Fear 6: Being the Only Brother
While this one always seems whiny and annoying, I can only imagine how tough it is on his sensitive side. Every day Leo patiently does his best to get along with all of his sisters and all of their very strong-yet unique- personalities. He tends to gravitate toward Pearl who either wants to play with him or fight him. Isla is his snuggle bunny-when he can get ahold of her. Claire is his soul sister-his adviser in all things Hahn Intermediate school, and soon, the dreadful middle school. Leo loves them to beyond and while it is a challenge, it is one that we are so grateful to watch grow.
Year 10 has been an adventurous one filled with learning, laughter, and some tears. We cannot wait to see what 11 will bring-while we are sure blueberries and sisters are in the picture, we always wonder what fears Leo will be conquering next.