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Becoming a Middle Schooler Over Night . . . (and it's not a nightmare)

I’ll never forget the first time I purchased a Judy Blume book . . .

In middle school, I saw the title. Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret, on the scholastic order sheet, and I thought, why not. I’ll give it a read. My (not really my dad, but was my dad) dad used to read to me every night when I was a child and helped instill my love for books early on with Where the Wild Things Are, Hats For Sale, and Ferdinand (that incredible bull!).

When my order at school came in, I devoured Judy’s book immediately. And when the next order sheet arrived, I ordered more, and she became my first beloved author. Before long, my whole bookshelf had her stories lined up chronologically. I wanted to be a writer, brave, bold, and truthful. She had all the qualities I desired but was too scared to become, and she understood me like no one else!

How did she know the thoughts of an overweight girl teased mercilessly with a crush on Andy while being raised by a single mom who was never home. How did she know?

Now here we are, decades later, and I’m alone and see her documentary on Amazon. And I think, why not? I’ll give it a watch. In ninety-seven minutes, my lips had curled up with glee, I’d almost spit my water out laughing, and tears streamed down my face.

There she was, the woman that inspired me to be the woman I’m slowly learning to be, and you know what I did next?

I did something I should have done decades ago. I took out a pad of paper and a pen, wrote to Judy Blume, and told her everything I would have as a twelve-year-old girl.

I almost said, I can’t believe what happened next, but I can. Because it’s just who my first-time favorite author is …

She read my letter, and sent me this. I hid her words because they're of such a personal nature I want to keep them private between Blume and me <3

This has become my catchphrase or mantra, so I know you’ve heard it come out of my mouth before, but here goes…again—NEVER, I repeat N.E.V.E.R, give up on your dreams! Or . . .

tell someone important to you that they are.

With peace, love, and a little gift of light,


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