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A few weeks ago we were told Maya made the cut in the school spelling bee. So filled with delight was I, I very nearly tap danced my way out of her elementary school. The kids are only beginning a lifelong relationship with words, one which I can only hope will enrich their lives, as it did for me, especially during middle school and later in life.

Since I spent most of my elementary years in PR, I missed lessons in phonetics, pronunciation and the general nuances of the English language most young native speakers learn. So, in grade school, books, poems and music were my refuge. It was my crutch since I felt my speech was deficient. While I’ve always admired orators and story tellers, I most identify with the power behind the written word, its longevity, its ability to transform. Back in the day I collected words that intrigued me and mulled them over, writing and saying them until they became part of my lexicon — an armor of words. I built lists of words and stashed them away in books, vases, and drawers as though they were porn or illicit contraband. Words such as pithy, lascivious, garrulous, and corpulent were scrumptious M&Ms.

Fast forward to present day and our emerging linguist. Given my history one would think I would have attacked Maya’s preparation with unmatched zeal and enthusiasm. In truth, my enthusiasm pales beside that of B’s. He has taken her preparation with the same dogged determination Michael Phelps pursues Olympic gold.

If Maya survives his rigorous coaching, she will be well on her way to Scripps National Spelling Bee 🙂

A father’s pride is a thing unmatched. It’s perfect.