Everything I Do--Its For My Parents

Everything I Do--Its For My Parents

They are the ones who gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams, no matter how many times those dreams change, and no matter the sacrifices they will have to make for me.
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When I ask myself what I'm doing all of this for--college, an education, working hard every single day, I used to think it was mainly because that's what I wanted for myself, and as true as that is, it's for some other people too. My parents.

My parents, who weren't ever necessarily well-off, but grew up in large families and worked their way through college or had points when they were living paycheck to paycheck. My parents who work their butts off every single day of the year, even on vacation. My parents who check emails Sunday at midnight or are returning calls at 8 am on their Saturday mornings. My parents who had to make extreme sacrifices for my siblings and I, and would do it again in a heartbeat. My parents who came from very little and have built a better life not only for themselves, but for their kids as well. My parents who are the most hard-working, loyal, committed people I know. My parents.

And who I know will continue to do that no matter how hard or trying times can be. Who will always find more to do and look for news ways to do things. Who will be creative in whatever obstacles come their way and see these life endeavors as all part of the adventure, not a setback. My parents.

They are resilient, devoted workers and even more than that, those who love me more than anything as a mother and father. They are the ones who gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams, no matter how many times those dreams change, and no matter the sacrifices they will have to make for me. They are the ones who I go to for advice, for comfort, for anything and everything. They are my support system--in the good and the bad, in the ups and the downs. If I were half the person they were, I would consider myself lucky. My parents.

I sometimes have to beg my mom to take a break from work and read outside with me, or wait a few hours for my dad to get home from work to go on a run with him. Their time, effort, and seemingly endless energy don't go unnoticed. I strive for a work ethic as unwavering and wholehearted as theirs. They are superhuman, I swear. My parents.

I only hope to be able to give them back everything they have given me, as impossible of a task as that is. I hope to work hard enough to make their lives better in every way that I possibly can. I'm going to aim to have their work ethic, their drive, their astounding attitude. It is something that I won't only use in work, but in life as well. It is something that I wish to be. It is something that makes me love them all the more. A thank you to my inspiration, my motivation, and my roles models; my parents.

Cover Image Credit: Maddi Burns

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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30 Things That Happen To The Kids Without Parents

Last-minute realizations, avoidable experiences, and questions you just shouldn't ask people

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I could summarize this entire post in one simple sentence and call it a day. I could choose to deal with my own problems and ignore others' because they don't affect me. I could gloss over the subject and pretend none of it is real. But that wouldn't be fair, mature, or loving of myself or others.

So with that, I don't think there's anything truer I can say besides I know what it's like.

I had little to no interaction with my parents. I lived with my maternal aunt and grandmother and hadn't a clue why. The confusion probably hurt me more than knowing ever would've. Obviously, there are things you just don't tell children. You'll spoil their innocence. Or, they'll understand when they're older. But for kids without parents, it's almost impossible to get it through their heads not to mature so quickly (before it's socially "time"). It's like telling the sun not to rise tomorrow. You just can't.

But I digress. I give a snapshot of my hidden experiences here with the hopes that I help...comfort...give love to someone else. Just letting y'all out there know you're not alone.

1. My entire second grade class asked me where my dad was after I said he "was" something.

I was also the new kid in town at that time. Nice.

2. My third grade teacher excluded me from Mother's Day arts and crafts because she knew I didn't have a mom.

3. A boy in my class asked if I was a robot because I had no parents. Also Batman (how would that work???).

4. Another boy (same class) asked, "Is your dad dead?" in front of the whole class on Father's Day. 

5. When my mom wasn't my chaperone for the Mommy Daughter Dance, a girl noticed and told me I shouldn't have bothered coming.

6. I never saw their faces in the audience at any of my choral concerts growing up.

7. My junior high advisor mentioned it was abnormal that I wasn't living with my parents.

8. An ex-boyfriend told me it was no wonder I was so problematic.

(What with being an "orphan" and all. You know, the usual).

9. I graduated high school with no one in the bleachers cheering for me. 

10. I got looks for bringing my only picture of my parents and I to my graduation ceremony.

11. They didn't get to congratulate me on my first job.

Or the next. Or the next...

12. I never got to tell them I got accepted to my dream college.

13. My mom and I were supposed to get matching tattoos.

14. My parents will never know I left that toxic boyfriend they worried about.

15. I look at drugs, alcohol, and addictions from a completely different angle than other kids my age.

16. I grew up never knowing what true love was.

17. I never got to have "mother-daughter gossip."

18. I never had a male role model in my life.

19. My mom never got to meet my best friends. Just some good-for-nothing boy that broke my heart.

20. I grew up cold toward tragedy. Grieving is hard now. Things just seem to happen.

21. I see parents with their college students now and it never fails to break my heart.

22. I won't have my dad to walk me down the aisle.

23. I won't have my mom to do any girl bonding with.

24. The last image I have of them is the most haunting.

25. I rethink our last conversations all the time and speculate.

26. I see their auras in the world around me. Sometimes it's freaky.

27. I have dreams about them all the time.

Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.

28. I never get to tell them I love them, or hear their voices, or see their faces.

29. My parents will never be grandparents or in-laws.

30. I still have not completed my grieving process. Even after all these years.

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