Letter To The Person I Miss Most

Letter To The Person I Miss Most

Life would be better with you.
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Dear Mom,

I can't tell you how much I miss you everyday. It's only been a little over a month since you left us. Your picture and phone remain by my bedside. Your keychain is on my wallet. You remain in my heart. I am so heartbroken. I want to be able to rub your forehead like I would. I want to text you goodnight. I want you to call and complain about not having anymore Diet Mountain Dew. I want to hear about the latest Criminal Minds or Bates Motel episode you watched because I never get the chance to watch TV. I want you to make long, embarrassing Facebook posts about my sister and I. I want to write you a Christmas list and shop for you. I want to buy you a bunch of magazines and puzzle books. I want to hear your laugh. I want to be sleeping on the floor in front of the couch where you slept. I want to make pumpkin rolls, pecan pie, and hard tack candy with you. I want you to be here. I want you to be okay.

There are so many things that remind me of you. Everytime a customer gets Diet Mountain Dew, I think of you. I heard a Christmas song and thought of you because that was your favorite time of year. Everytime my sister smiles, I see you. I can't look at white t-shirts the same because that's all you wore.

My 17th birthday is here and I can't help but think of the surprise party that you threw for my 16th. (Even though you could never keep surprises and ruined it.) This birthday wasn't the same without you. None of my birthdays will ever be the same.

Anytime I smell cigarettes, I think of you. Anytime I smell vanilla, I think of you. Anything apple cinnamon reminds me of you.

It's so hard going places and not being able to tell you all about it. I just hope you're still proud of me because everything I do is for you. I'm gonna mess up but I hope that you can forgive me. (Like, I'm super sorry for getting acrylic nails when you always told me to never do it because it'll ruin my nails!!!)

I miss your long, rambling text messages with 'ur txt tlk' that never really made sense. I miss trying to interpret those text messages and eventually understanding.

I wish you were still here because I know that I always had someone who cared about me so much. And I love you more than anything in this world, mom. We all miss you so much. Thank you for always showing me you were so proud of me all the time. Thank you for teaching me strength. It's hard sometimes but when I think of you, I know I can do it. Thank you for being the best parent.

I want you to be here. I hope you're okay.

I love you forever.

Ur the gr8est.

Cover Image Credit: Allenah DeLara

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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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My Boyfriend's Family Helped Me Find My Home Away From Home

Taking "home is where the heart is" to a new level.

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I have always heard that one day I will find a place that will feel like my home away from home, specifically with my significant other. Honestly, I couldn't envision loving a place like the way I do my hometown, let alone love it even more. Nonetheless, here I am, sitting in the Little Rock, Arkansas airport tearing up as I say goodbye to my home away from home.

Let me tell you about my hometown. I live in a relatively small town in Wyoming and it has always been my home. My family, friends and work are here in Wyoming. But, there happens to be this man who has my whole entire heart. His hometown is a little town in Arkansas, that also happens to be 17 hours away from me. I came to visit him in his hometown for the first time ever. Not only to see Arkansas for the first time but to see him for the first time in a month and to have the opportunity to meet his family.

I won't lie, meeting parents for the first time is definitely nerve-wracking. It's not that I am hard to get along with, it's the fact that I want them to love me because I love their son and I couldn't conceptualize that ever changing. From the moment I stepped into their home, I was welcomed with big arms and beautiful smiles. His family welcomed me, a complete stranger, into their home with no questions asked. Right away I knew I felt like I was home.

Finding your home away from home is easy to recognize. Home is a place full of love and laughter and that is what I found in Arkansas. It was a second home that I felt comfortable in. Feeling comfortable somewhere is not always the easiest feeling to grasp. For me, I feel the need to be in a comfortable place to be myself and call it "home."

I believe that it is essential for everyone to have a "second home" or a "home away from home." Having a second family can and does provide so much more love in my life I never knew I needed. I of course do and always will love and adore my family with my whole heart and soul but having these other people in my life gives me so much assurance that I'll always be surrounded with love and happiness. You can never have too many friends, too much family and certainly never too much love. So thank you. Thank you for welcoming me, loving me as your own, and showing me that having a home away from home is such a positive part of my life.

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