It was the night of my father’s birthday, October 1988. We were having a small celebration at home, during which I downed way too much cake—as five-year-olds at birthday parties do—and transformed into the Tasmanian Devil—as five-year-olds at birthday parties do. I whirled through our living room, tripped over the leg of a rocking chair, and careened in the coffee table head first. Wham! Face meet table. Blood everywhere. I stumbled into the kitchen with my hand over my forehead, eyes filled with tears, and the first thing my dad said was, “I’ll buy you two new Barbie dolls if you don’t cry.” Way to bribe the calm out of a sugar-fueled, upset five-year-old, but it worked. I shed not one tear…not through the car ride to the hospital, the local anesthesia, the stitches, or realizing my perfect party dress was ruined. I am forever proud of that calm, brave little girl.
“Who cares what anyone thinks! You’ll never see them again!” This was advice my mom regularly shared on vacations. It was usually preceded by interest from me or my brother to volunteer to be in a Disney show or, later in life, accept the offer from a Cancun bartender to squirt alcohol directly into our mouths. I wish I’d taken that advice way more often.
Moving across the country…alone. I’m a Jersey girl and in 2013 I was learning how to adult in the state in which I was born and raised. So, I surprised my friends and family—and myself—when I accepted a job in Palo Alto, Ca. I knew no one in California; I hadn’t even met my boss in person, but I had to trust it was the right thing to do. A few months after moving, I found a good group of people to call friends, met the man I’d later marry, and started to put down roots. Now, I’m here at Duarte, working with amazing people who are changing the world.
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