Flower Mound High School's student-led newspaper


Flower Mound High School's student-led newspaper


Flower Mound High School's student-led newspaper


Christine Bolitho (right), Valme Alvarez and Adam Morrison each pose for a photo, excited to start teaching at Flower Mound. They all came from different backgrounds, but were ready to educate. “I guess you could say it’s my dream to come work in Lewisville because its such a good district,” Bolitho said.
A Warm Welcome
Nina Aitha and Isabella Reyna October 24, 2023

As each new school year begins and new students are welcomed, a wave of eager teachers are welcomed to Flower Mound as well. Teachers work tirelessly...

Call Your Mom

Christian Shaffer
My mom and I sit on a balcony in a beachside restaurant in Clearwater, Florida. This picture was taken by my father on vacation in 2017, when I was 11.

I was recently brought to tears at a concert. Last weekend I went with some friends to go see Noah Kahan, an artist who has just kind of exploded, becoming a recognizable name even outside the indie, alt folk scene. The album he just finished touring, Stick Season, is admittedly pretty depressing at some points, but also has a welcome touch of sincerity. During Kahan’s performance of “Call Your Mom” (a ballad that offers hope in the face of depression which I would love to get into further, but this isn’t an album review), I turned to my friends and exclaimed through tears, probably more genuinely than I have in a long time, “I love you guys!”

Maybe it was seeing American Airlines Center lit up by the crowd’s swaying flashlights, or maybe I just wanted an excuse to be a little emotional; I’m not really sure what came over me, but after I said that to my friends and we hugged it out, I felt a little guilty pulling myself together. There was someone else on my mind that deserved just as genuine a message, who I think I’ve had a difficult time communicating those kinds of feelings with for a while. I know it’s not necessarily what the message of the song is, but I have to believe it’s a request Kahan would have to support anyway. All throughout the stadium, recoiling off the walls: Call your mom.

I’ve been tasked to take on a significant level of responsibility here. Writing is not hard, as long as you’re not good at it. When you get good at something, often you’re expected to remain good at it. In no way do I think my talent for writing or my will to improve my writing skills will ever disappear, but the more I write, and I’ve been asked to write a lot these days, the more likely it is that some of those pieces are ‘phoned in.’

I do not intend to do that here. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a work than when I found out that my last personal column made my Dad cry, something I would, under normal circumstances, not consider to be very easily done. My mom, on the other hand, might be an easier target in that department; let’s find out.

As of writing this, my mom is beginning a new job; today is her first day. I’ve seen her do a lot. Of course, I’ve heard about her work as a paralegal. I’ve seen her fulfill with seeming ease what is almost universally agreed upon to be the most difficult job there is: motherhood. I’ve seen her as an artist, as a designer, as an event planner, as the only reason her employer has their life together and as probably the most competent employee in any office. Truly, my mom can do anything.

And she does do anything; I would know. She is always the first one ready to act when I’ve gotten myself in trouble, often to defend me, sometimes to teach me a lesson. The two of us used to watch the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs together, which we frequently identified with. The show is about Adam F. Goldberg’s childhood, when he was a nerdy kid who filmed everything. An amateur filmmaker myself, I felt very connected to Adam. The most iconic character in the show, though, was undoubtedly Beverly Goldberg, the overly-involved matriarch of the Goldberg family, who often impeded on her children’s lives, but was one of the most resilient, confident and resourceful characters I had ever seen up to that point. This was another thing Adam and I shared: moms that cared for their sons so obviously that she would storm into school buildings or enter debates with strangers in his defense. Of course, I associated Beverly and my mom very closely. 

I’ve dealt with some anxiety in my youth, about a number of things. There have been sleepless nights, there have been tears and panic attacks, laying on the cold floor to calm down. When I was younger, I had some issues coming to terms with my own fragility as a human being. I was often scared by the idea that the human body could so easily be damaged—people contract diseases and are the victims of freak accidents. If you’re thinking, “wow, what a strange thing for a little kid to worry about?”, yeah, tell me about it. My career as a competitive gymnast played a role in that anxiety as well. In fact, I’d go as far to say that anxiety, both that I could get severely injured and that my social life might never recover, was what played the biggest role leading me to leave the sport behind. 

I have always been a perfectionist, too. Those who know me know that I like things a very particular way. When the stars align and everything works out appropriately, I might be the most confident man you’ll ever meet. But when that’s not the case, when I’m no longer the smartest in the room, my confidence wavers. 

And despite all of this, I have never once in my life truly felt alone; I know my mom has dealt with far worse. I know she’s been to hell and back and walked in with the devil’s head strapped to her cross-body bag, his blood dripping down her side as she freely wishes me a “Happy Fri-yay.” I’ve always been able to confide in my mom. Many times I’ve taken her up on it, others I’ve been comforted just knowing she’s there if I need her.

My mom can be anything. I haven’t known a single obstacle able to stop her. She is the best part of me. Emotionally transparent, empathetic, perseverent, beautiful, a clever problem solver, adventurous, out-going, honest, welcoming, nuanced, accepting, curious, strong, inspirational—there are too many ways to describe her character to list here. 

I’m proud of my mom. It’s hard for me sometimes to show it, sometimes I need something to remind me to be more appreciative, but that’s not because there isn’t plenty to be proud of. Writing is the best medium I have found to share those feelings that are hard to articulate in speech, so it seems to me that this is the way I can most clearly and accurately express this sentiment. Mom, I love you.

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    Elaine TakacsApr 10, 2024 at 11:09 PM

    What a moving piece! You have captured the love from your mom and shared it with all who read your story. I can tell she loves you and you for her. I can feel it in your words!