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Love is in the Air!

10458098_979112588789197_4611540665700539203_nValentine's Day-17

“Everybody, and everything has a time and place, ours is here and now!” someone special to me had given me that card while we were relishing an ice cream.He had confessed his love there and then! Love has been in the air since then,for sure!

Valentine’s Day was not known to us in my growing years; at least not in the place where I grew up, neither in Orissa nor in Andhra Pradesh. It was only when I was in the University that it started to dawn on everyone about this day, and that too when we looked at the greeting cards in the shops.

When I was in school and in my undergrad years, I never had any kind of ‘interest’ in boys whatsoever. For me they were just friends, some very close and some just acquaintances. I had a lot of friends, both boys and girls, but that’s all they were, friends!! While doing Masters,I knew the looks of the boys, I realized the feelings some developed, but I always had the ‘ignore’ button!! Not until he came along that I realized ‘Love’!

Valentine’s day would have been just another day for me, had it not been for my beau back then, now my husband. I received beautiful cards from him and I sent out equally beautiful ones, thus celebrating our togetherness, though far away from each other. That day and today, things haven’t changed much, but our relationship has! So glad that I’m after all married to ‘My Valentine’ that I had met 23 years back.

One Valentine’s Day that I’ll always remember is the one that happened to be two days before my wedding day! All of us, my family, my relatives, his family, and relatives, all of us were in the same wedding venue place , though put up in different rooms. I had long been wishing to celebrate that last one as a ‘valentine’ valentine, before forever becoming a ‘wifey’ valentine. Definitely not the same for sure! I thought that since we all were in the same place, I would get to have a quiet moment with him, but it never happened! So, I thought of sending him a card at least, which I had bought lovingly to hand it to him personally.

One of my cousins’ was the ‘cat with the bell’ and she went to give it to him. She came back to give me a shock! She delivered the Valentine card to my would-be mom-in-law as she couldn’t get to him! I just kept my fingers crossed that since the red envelope said in my handwriting ‘To Prasad, from Anita’, she would give it to him, after all !! It was a day after my marriage that my husband and I found the open envelope and the card in it, obvious that someone had opened it. And guess what, we found it in my mom-in-law’s handbag!! Rest is left to one’s imagination!

After coming to the US, I was so smitten by the big deal Valentine’s Day is for everyone. Pink and red flowers, pink and red dresses, beautiful Valentine cards, yummy heart shaped cakes, everything so very romantic! You feel the ‘love in the air’ everywhere, at least a week from Valentine’s Day, and it feels amazing! Even in schools, kids share valentine cards and candy shaped like a heart. Kids wear either red or pink to school and give out the cards to their friends and teachers. The meaning of this day has taken a new meaning in the hands of these little kids, as ‘love for anyone and everyone’ day! Sweet, indeed!


Another New Year!

happy new year 2015 romantic wallpaper

Another year passed me by. Another year came into my life today.

Every year on January 1st I feel nostalgic.I don’t know if it is because another year has passed by or because I’m older by another year! Jokes apart, I always have this strange feeling on new year…. I feel as if I have just opened a new dairy and all the pages in it are blank. Scary thought, right? But, it is so true!

When I was young as in when I was in school, or rather when I was a teenager in school, I would start writing in a dairy on the 1st of Jan. A dairy that my dad always bought me or gave me one of those that he would get as gifts from his friends, or colleagues.I did not have much to write, but write I did! I simply filled it with things that happened with friends or about my favorite teachers.

As I grew older, all I would write in my dairy were poems, and short romantic stories. I used to write quite a lot of them back then, more than what I do now. And then, when my special friend , now my hubby, entered my life, all dairies were filled with things about him, and about us.

One day, some years back when I saw my daughter writing in a dairy, I was surprised. I was surprised, not because she was writing one, but because I had long forgotten about dairy writing. I had stopped writing in a dairy when after marriage, I promised my husband that whenever I felt like writing something in a dairy, I would instead tell him or talk to him about my feelings. Sounded very romantic then, but later on, I realized that it is not possible to share anything and everything with anyone! And so I took to expressing everything through poems.

I think in every country, every girl has the same feelings..when there are things she wouldn’t want to share with everyone , she takes the help of a journal or a dairy. It also gives you that smug feeling that you have some secrets to yourself. I have never tried reading my daughters’ dairy nor would I ever want any parent to do that to their kids. Trust is important and so it should be!


To Do, or Not To Do!

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I have been thinking to write something right from the beginning of the year, but somehow, it got delayed and time just passed by… How could I have done this? Procrastination and me?!!! ‘Hamlet’ was never a part of me for sure! I have never procrastinated this way ever before and that’s what makes me think back today!

When I was in school, doing everything on time was the ‘in-thing’. All the teachers in the school were very strict too. If no homework was done, then one couldn’t sit in the class. And believe me, standing outside the class in the hallway, was the most embarrassing thing. Even though I was never in that situation, a lot of kids did go through that, but did come out alive to tell their tale!

It is good that kids here in the US are serious about their studies too. No procrastination, whatsoever! No late submissions, no skipping homework either, as all work is graded which shows up on the final report card. The teachers don’t accept late submission of assignments, projects or homework, unless the student is on a sick leave. Every student, well, almost every student, (there are always exceptions everywhere, right?) takes his or her studies and assignments seriously and does them regularly on time.

I have seen my older daughter, now in 11th grade; sit up till the wee hours of the night last year, to finish her homework, no matter how sleepy she is. No matter how early she has to wake up in the morning, (she wakes up at 5:30 AM), she never goes to sleep unless all the homework, all preparations for the class next day are done and all her books are tucked away into her backpack. Though, as parent, out of concern for her health, I do scold her for sitting up late, but deep down, the teacher in me admires her for not skipping her work just to have a good night’s sleep!

My younger daughter, when in elementary last year, would get a project to submit the next day, the tension she would go through to complete it would cost her and me to sit up late. She would only sigh with relief when her work was done, and was done perfectly!

As a teacher, I have seen this kind of enthusiasm in all students in all schools. From the brightest kids to ‘Oh-its-okay-to-get-F-grades’ kind of kids, all of them care for and respect time and deadlines for all their school work. I wouldn’t vouch for their chores at home, which they might not procrastinate but ignore altogether, but I would definitely vouch for their work at school, and sincerely appreciate them for it.

I don’t know how it works in schools in India now, but I am glad that my kids are studying in USA and have learnt punctuality and value of time!

Today and Always!

She is innocent and naive, she is warm and affectionate, she is loving and amicable, yes she is always described by double adjectives, as a single wouldn’t suffice or rather emphasize on her true form! Her determination is as strong as she herself is. A winner of singing in her college, a short story writer, she is always with a smile and whole-hearty laughter as she binds the family together! Never a tired look on her face, never saying no to any of her kids’ demands, never differentiating between her kids and their spouses, and never caring less for anybody, even if she is not treated well enough by them, she is perfect!

Some cook to eat! Some cook as a duty! And there are some who cook with passion and love! She is of the third kind. From soft idlis to yummy aloo parathas, from bisibelahulibath to spicy pulav, she has her own recipes and finesse. When the family members and the relatives alike, praise her food, her kids sure feel proud of her. With all the ingredients, all the aromas and fragrances, she adds her love to all the food that she cooks. Her bhel puris, or her vadas, her cakes or her mysore paks, if she makes it, they taste ultimate!

Some are fighters! Some are survivors! And still some are fighters and survivors! She is of the third category for sure! One kid as young as five and the others not too old either, she waving at them out the window of the cancer hospital just before the surgery is not an easy task.  And after a week or two later, walking out the door smiling at everyone needs a lot of courage too. A person who got worried if her kids even sneezed , a person who was too shy to do things on her own, a person when in college needed to be escorted home by her brothers from her friend’s house, that person  fought with cancer with all the strength, will power and determination.

If that is not enough, a diabetics for years and since then she has not tasted sugar nor has got tempted by sweets. A will power so great that she doesn’t feel shy to say ‘no’ to any sweetmeats offered by anybody anywhere. She walks her way to health every day and keeps herself happy always!

She is a role model to one and all. Whoever knows her loves her! She is a mom and only one of her kind!

How beautiful is ‘Beauty’?!!


I would say, “Miss America 2014 is Ms. Nina Davuluri, “…and the Indian Idol is Anjana Padmanabh”, “The Master chef for season three is Ripudaman Handa” in the same breath. For me all these are just reality shows, which I enjoy watching.

I agree unabashedly that beauty pageant shows for me are as entertaining as the film award shows, as in both we celebrate glamour and entertainment in its full form. I have watched these shows since childhood and they have never affected me in any way as a child. Neither did I ever think of going into movies nor did I ever think of ‘how-to-be-recognized’ for beauty! For me, as a child, they were just another type of competition with an iota of entertainment.

Just as there are reality shows for singing, dancing, showing different talents, so are these beauty pageants. There is nothing great about it, but then, it is reassurance of a young girl’s beauty by the world. Young women enter the beauty pageant expecting to change their bodies, and to emerge as good human beings. Winning a beauty pageant is a recognition and confirmation of the self-assessed beauty of the participants. They follow diets, exercise rigorously and groom themselves in all ways possible to become not only more beautiful but become a ‘beauty with brains’!

Reading about Miss America, Ms. Nina Davaluri, a Telugu girl, born to a traditional Indian family settled in the US, an important thing struck me! Her parents and grandparents are highly educated and are in respectable jobs. Nina has been a good student through school and wishes to become a Doctor one day like everyone else in her family. She has learnt Indian classical dance keeping the Indian tradition intact. So for people like her, winning a beauty pageant is just another achievement giving her an opportunity to showcase her talents and brains, along with her physical beauty!

If a kid has a good voice, we tend to put her/him in singing lessons, and if the kid has interest in dance, we put her/him in a dance school to polish their talents. So also, if a young girl is beautiful, and has groomed herself well, some parents think of beauty pageants. After all, a parent always wants their kid to reach heights, earn name and fame in a rightful way. I don’t feel that that is wrong in any way. But, yes, if the parent, right from the kid’s childhood, encourages the girl’s beauty and tells her that she is born to win a beauty pageant, then that is wrong. It totally depends on us as parents to explain to the kids about every walk of life. What our kids become or want to become depends on how we bring them up and what kind of culture we instill in them.

If we put aside the beauty being personified in these pageants, the instant recognition of the individual, and of course, the grand prize money, there is another important side to it. Beauty pageants, like film stars, are always in a position to do charity work and do fund-raising for the society for different causes. Along with their brains and beauty, comes a responsibility to the society they are living in for which they are bound if not forever, at least for one year from the day they wear the crown.

Giving back to the society in the guise of a beauty pageant is fair enough as long as it doesn’t affect the individual’s life in a negative way. Think of it as another form of competition, and so shall it remain! As long as they don’t harm the society by luring all youngsters into it, it is ‘beautiful’ enough!

My ‘Booker Prize’!(Guest Blog)

A letter of Appreciation!


I know that ‘Guest Blogs’ are a rarity in Personal blogs! But when this reader approached me and wanted to write a few words about this blog site and another, I was overwhelmed! Hope none of my friends think that I am boasting or showing off… it is just a thank you to my well wisher, the reader whose feedback has boosted my confidence in my writing ability! I feel as if I have won the ‘Booker Prize’ for my writings!

I need to say a few words about this review writer- he is doing his Bachelor’s In Civil Engineering, 3rd semester now.He is basically from Bhopal (MP),India and likes to listen to music and read good articles/blogs. And here is his encouraging review:

Hie My name is Md. Adil and I’m from India.

I read all the blogs on the website and I’m quite amazed to see the work done by Ms. Anita Ayela.

With the permission of the author, I wanted to write a guest blog or rather my review of her writings instead of comments on her posts.

Even though she has been living in United States since 12 years she has not forgotten the Indian ethics, culture and the moral values which an Indian has.

Her blogs are based on factual description and daily events which is good. The blog which I loved the most was “Cyber Addiction” in which she stressed on how the kids are getting addicted to the Internet and gadgets which is true and closes the blog with words:

 “Well, come to think of it, can we blame the kids enough if we are reading this on a blog or e-magazine,on the laptop too and not in a physical book? What say guys?!”  … Which is quite ironic and true too…..

But apart from these blogs, I also read some fiction written by her in form of short stories here: 

She is a creative writer I must say, “The President’s Life” and “Goodbye” are really one of the awesome stories I have ever read.

Another side of the coin which I didn’t expect from her was poetry. “A Mother’s Concern” and “Wedding Bells” are a true piece of art.

 What to say now, she has mastered the most efficient fields of writing i.e. factual description, fiction and poetry. Even though she is a teacher by profession, she has done a great job in the field of writing.

Last but not the least I want to say that she is great writer and will definitely go a long way! 

Thank You 


Md. Adil

Thank you so much Adil! You made my day! 🙂


You want mine, then buy it !


Yesterday I went with a friend to drop off her old clothes and other stuff at ‘Just Between Friends’. I thought it was a donation store like Goodwill, but I was wrong. It was a place where they sell your old stuff for you, keep a percentage of the money and give the rest to you.

I was a little disturbed to see that even newborn baby clothes are being sold there. America is not a poor country, period. The Pontiacs, the BMWs and the Lexus cars outside this place was proof enough! But I wonder why they use used clothes when they can afford to buy good stuff at discounted prices as there is a sale somewhere or the other throughout the year in the US. This very concept of buying used clothes disturbs me as a mom, though it may be labeled as re-cycling by the Americans. Whenever I see garage sales for clothes, this disturbed feeling comes back to me again and again!

I can understand if toys or books are used again, but definitely not clothes. Whenever I go to the donation boxes to drop off old clothes or toys, I stand and think for a moment, “Am I doing the right thing?” I feel that I am giving a chance to those people to resell my used stuff. Back in India, when we donate something, we know that those go to the natural calamities’ victims or to the poor people and are not for sale!

It is true that branded clothes are very expensive, but who wants branded clothes for little kids?!! Even branded clothes can be got at clearance sales which all shops thrive on. I see some of the kids, in the schools I sub for, wear faded shirts and old pants and that too at the beginning of the school year. And the schools I am talking about are the private schools where the tuition is a hefty sum. When the parents can afford the fees, shouldn’t they be able to afford good clothes for their kids? And if they are not able to afford it, then public schools are no less in education, discipline or grooming of the kid. Well, of course, every parent has their priorities and decisions, so I leave it at that.

When we were kids, our clothes were not even passed down to the close cousins, in the fear that they or their parents would be offended. Passing down was only prevalent in the house among siblings. As I don’t have a sister, my clothes were limited and never lasted enough to be passed down. My brothers shared their clothes, and passed them down to each other too. I did that with my kids but only with the perfectly good clothes that could actually be passed down.

Passing down is one thing, buying used clothes is another. Now, how much hygiene is there in that, is a debatable question and so is best avoided. Of course, the clothes that I saw put up for sale in Just between friends place were cleaned and were in good condition. But the fact remains that they were used by some kid in some other family and now if you buy it, your kid would be using somebody else’s ‘left over’.

In India, leftover food and used clothes are given only to the poor people and that too as a donation. The concept of buying used clothes is a taboo or rather, is not heard of. Leave alone clothes, even furniture is not bought second hand by even middle class family. We buy it only if they can afford it. We believe in ‘Save money, live better’ the Wal-Mart way, rather than ‘Casual Luxury’ the Abercrombie way!

Every country has a different way of operating, I suppose. Every country’s people think differently, I believe. Being an Indian is being pampered I think, as we live life king size, a big king or a small king, is immaterial- dignity is what matters! This holds good for Indians in the US too!


Finding Our Feet…

beach-feet-shutterstock_80497978-300x200 ‘Miss America is an Indian!!’

An unusual joy filled my mind when I learnt that Miss America 2014 is an Indian. When I heard her last name, I felt immense joy that she is from Andhra Pradesh. How does it make a difference to me? Why do I feel so happy about a total stranger just when I know that she is from my community? Isn’t this wrong? Is this what is called racism? I don’t know.

The feeling of alienation, the feeling that we are not getting our due recognition in a country which feeds us but is not our own, is always engraved into our souls. And when one person from our country achieves something in this alien country, the sisterhood feeling springs out. Nothing wrong, I would say. After all who doesn’t like recognition? And who doesn’t like to show off that we (read Indians) too can achieve something?

My childhood was spent in Odisha though I’m a Telugu speaking girl. I couldn’t say with confidence that I’m from Andhra when I was growing up. But since I did my higher studies in Andhra Pradesh and started working there, I have been able to face myself when I said that I’m from Andhra. I have never felt a part of odisha simply because I was not part of it, I just grew up there! If not for my dad’s State Gov job, I’m sure he too wouldn’t have liked to stay there for so many years, away from Andhra. In a bigger spectrum, now living in the US makes me feel that I don’t belong here and crave to be a part of India.

What is it that keeps us ticking in a place that is not our own? It is this very feeling of alienation and the craving to go back to your roots! The constant longing for our state, our country and our community is what keeps us hanging in there. It is natural human psychology that we crave for and long for something only until we get it. Once it becomes ours, we tend to forget its importance. We tend to forget the journey towards the destination, all we feel is relaxed that now we are where we want to be.

When in a new country, we focus more on the culture of our country. We teach our kids the tastes and customs of India and we tend to teach them our language and culture too. What is it that makes us do this? Is it just because we are scared that we will forget our culture or is it because we want to pass on our culture to the next generation? Maybe neither, it is because we love our country and miss being there that we try to create that world here.

It is 12 years now since we moved to the US, but we are still ‘moved’ by everything that is Indian. I have seen so many Indians in the US who are happily settled here, their kids settled here and they are leading a satisfying life as citizens. But then, when something happens in India, they feel for it, they cry their hearts out to be amongst theirour kith and kin in India.

Some may say that they don’t visit India anymore because there is nobody there for them, no parents or siblings, and no extended family. For some of us, once-in-two-years regime of going to India may be for our own pleasure and purpose. But for all of us, our hearts miss a beat when we watch the news of India and the disasters that are happening there. Isn’t this what is called ‘patriotism’ in the true sense of the word? When your heart beats for something, for someone, unconditionally, that is called love, and that is where love is and always will be! In our hearts, for our country, no matter where we are! Jai hind!

Addiction of the Youth!!


(Published in as Bow your head and numb your fingers!   )




Recently I heard someone saying that though we have progressed so much, we bow our head even today like slaves-slaves to electronics. And that person was talking about ‘texting’ forever, heads down, eyes staring into the screen as fingers dance in tune!!

All kinds of screens have become the ‘in’ thing now, or as Gen Y kids would say ‘fad’!  All Apple products, all kinds of Tablets, smart phones, Kindle, all have the same effect on kids all over the world. I know that as the generation is growing and the technology is progressing, people from our generation have a need to understand and support the new generation. But easier said than done!

It becomes quite irritating at times, when kids are forever stuck to these screens. Especially when these screens join us at the dining table too, making weird noises of the arrival of SMS! I’m surprised how the fingers of kids have not gone numb by now by the frequency with which they are used to type messages back and forth!

I always wonder what is it that has pulled the kids away from the playgrounds, from the theatres or the books. I wonder when the playgrounds gave way to the laptops, the theatres to the tablets and the books to the Kindles! I believed that getting the reason out of the horse’s mouth would be the best thing and so I talked to some kids of friends and family.

Apeksha, 14 yrs old girl says “We prefer screen time because I think that a lot of the things that we do outside or at a friend’s house, we can now do on iPads, and cell phones, and main source of entertainment is now TV. The TV shows that are on TV now, are so much more real and relatable that, I think, that we kids feel that we don’t need to go outside and experience it we just want to watch it on the screen.”

I’m sure a lot of parents would have encountered this problem in the summer that passed us by-TV! Yes, TV becomes an integral part of vacation, wherever they are, be it home or holidaying in a hotel! They watch and watch and watch; repeats after repeat, making the parents scream in their heads but admonish the teenagers gently! I remember those days when India had just got TVs and the timings of telecast were fixed and so we had time to do other things too. All we had is one channel unlike the numerous ones that are available to our kids now, which obviously allows them to watch more. I don’t actually want to think what we would have done as kids if we had so many channels too. Maybe we too would have…

When I talked to another kid, Ria, 12 years old, she said

I think that kids/teens of today prefer screen time over playing outside because social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+. Twitter, Gmail.. (the list goes on and on.) allows us to talk to friends at any time, on the other hand, if someone was to play outside, your choice of playmates/friends would be limited. Also, social networking makes it easier to communicate and share thoughts and ideas. Websites like these allow kids/teens to say what’s on their mind without over thinking about what others will think of you (it gives them a form of confidence) because you are “talking” to a screen not a person.”

Well, well, kids do surprise me a lot these days. It might seem like a joke but, I have seen kids’ texting to each other in the same house too with just a wall to separate their bedrooms. I, as a parent, fail to understand how communication skills are used these days on these social networking sites and why kids need screens to boost their confidence levels. Human contact and human voices has become a rarity, at least for the majority of kids, or so say a lot of parents.

My daughter said, “Most of our teachers ask us to do our homework online and so we need laptops. No homework done means no grades. We are to type out our assignments and make PowerPoint for projects, how else do we do that if not on the computers? So, laptops and computers are a must for us.”

Now, there goes another teenager at my house, telling me that the laptop screen is a must to get grades. Now, do I have a say in that, if grades are important for us too. My memory of note books for homework, and pens and pencils for writing are slowly slipping out of my system, giving way to my kid’s way of writing and communicating! However much we as parents think of taking away all these ‘screens’ from the kids, it is not possible. It is like sending the kids into the stone-age when it is the requirement of the society to adapt to the changing technology.

We all know from experience how kids want the very thing that we don’t want them to have.Instead of trying to scream at them , snatch their iPhones or pull our own hair with helplessness, it is essential that we learn the importance of these electronics and then explain it to the kids the limitation of their usage.Maybe we need to have an eye on them while they use these electronics usefully, and set a schedule to use these ‘texting’ devices and ‘gaming’ equipment.And last but not the least, tell them the importance of meeting friends in person, taking part in sports or other extra curricular activities outside their bedrooms!!

Well, come to think of it,can we blame the kids enough if we are reading this on a blog or e-magazine, on the laptop or phones, and not in a physical book? What say guys?! 🙂



After Summer What?!!

(Published in


“Oh no, summer is done, I need to go ‘back to school’ “Sofia says.

“Good, now I can go ‘back to school’” Shan says.


Some kids like school and some don’t and so the reactions may vary.But, being a mom, I know what a parent would say after a long two and half months of summer vacation!

“At last, the kids will go ‘back to school’! “A sigh and a big smile would cross their lips.

It might sound like the parents are cruel and don’t want the kids at home, but that is not the case. However much the parents love their kids, the ability and strength to control the kids 24/7 in the house, giving in to their tantrums, heeding to their suggestions and delivering their choices, is sure not an easy thing.

Out of their daily school routine makes the kids demand more time for sleep, play and eat. This disturbs the schedule of the parents and the kids too. Every day starts out late as the kids tend to sleep in, which is usually due to their staying up late along with their parents or siblings. Watching movie with the family or playing family games with the cousins, hypes up the energy level of the kids and they get used to staying up late.

Getting up late in the morning spoils their routine and the schedule of breakfast, and lunch too. The time that they play outside on a summer evening increases due to the long days and hence, the dinner time gets pushed back. Everything changes, the time for their bath, the time in the bath, the picking out of outfits, the fights between siblings, the pillow fights, the endless hair combing to the forever lying in the swimming pools, everything is timeless and endless.

The flip side of the coin is the enthusiasm the kids and the parents have regarding the new class and/or the new school that they would be going into once the school reopens in fall. The new books, the new backpacks, the new lunch boxes, are all an excitement in itself. And shopping for these keeps them on their toes and makes them happy. The advertisements and the back-to-school sales attract the kids and parents alike and hopping from shop to shop for the best deals keeps their time engaged for a while.

When I was a kid, most of my summers were spent in my grandparents’ house that we used to go visiting. All the cousins together used to fight for attention from our grandparents and wished to be their favorite grandkid forever. But when it was play time, we would just forget that it was scorching hot south Indian summer and play outside much to the anxiety of the elders that we would get a heat stroke. Most of our evenings would be spent sitting around our grandfather with snacks in hand, listening to his stories of cases he had dealt with as a judge in court. Or on other days, we would go with our grand mom, mom and our aunts to watch a movie.

But thinking of school again toward the end of the vacation was exciting too. I remember how excited I would get in my childhood, awaiting the re-opening of school. The back-to-school regime consisted of getting to wear new uniforms too back then. In new uniforms, with new backpacks, loaded with new stationery, going back to school was always fun for me. I also waited going back to school to see all my friends again after a long vacation.

Spending time with family is great in summer time, but going ‘back to school’ to a new grade with new things in tow is an achievement in itself. It always makes the kids feel more grown up and responsible, and this shows in their glowing faces and growing statures too!