I hope she’d be proud

Me+at+five+years+old+wearing+a+Phineas+and+Ferb+brother+for+sale+shirt.

Tom Kemppainen

Me at five years old wearing a Phineas and Ferb “brother for sale” shirt.

It’s all for her. It always has been.

Screaming “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” in Emmy’s kitchen with the windows wide open for the high school parking lot past the backyard to hear; that was for her. She dreamed of having friends with whom she wouldn’t mind losing her voice to scream a song that only one or two could minutely relate to. 

She grew up on Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, so I scream their songs with the people I could only hope of having back then. I ride windows-down in anyone and everyone’s passenger seat and stick my head out the window when I see someone I know, even if I’m mid-scream of “People Watching” by Conan Gray. This kind of chaos and bursts of losing the fear of being judged is something I hope would make younger me be filled with all-consuming joy at what is to come later in life. 

This kind of chaos and bursts of losing the fear of being judged is something I hope would make younger me be filled with all-consuming joy at what is to come later in life. ”

I gift my cousin’s daughter Sadie with matching dinosaur converse just in hopes that I can build the same relationship with her that I have had with her mom for my whole life. I beg my parents to let me see her at any time so she can grow up with as big of inspiration as I had. It’s all for her—all for younger me. Although she is fifteen years older than me, my cousin has never felt too far away to connect and has always made me feel like a priority—made her feel like a priority. I told her at a young age that I wanted to be the same for her daughter, and every day, I live by that.

I wear what makes me happy because even in a pink zip-up sweatshirt and camouflage cargo pants, that’s what she did. Even though I hope I never find myself in that outfit again, I still love a little pink matching shoe action as I had then. When in doubt, I wear a zip-up sweatshirt because that’s what she did. 

I thank speech therapy every time I have to introduce myself because she couldn’t say her name. The “r” sound came out as a “w.” She would have older girls trail her at her brother’s baseball games just to correct people on her name when needed. Now, after three years of speech therapy from second to fifth grade, I no longer have to take those measures. 

I put a piece of her in every part of me: my room decor, my job, my music taste, my clothes, my friends, and so much more. Even though the room she grew up in has changed, and the pets she once knew are passing, I’ll still do it all for her. I’ll live every second of every day for the little girl who wore a “brother for sale shirt” because frankly, sometimes I’d appreciate that shirt. I’ll make mundane car rides chaotic and let my emotions out as she would do. 

I’ll go through life knowing that at least I have my purpose: it’s her.