Dear Husband, you are not the man of my dreams.

Dear Husband,

If I sat here and tried to list all the things I love about you, I might never finish this letter. My fingers would be bleeding from typing for so long.


Instead, I’m going to take a moment to thank you for all the things that you are not, all the things you don’t do, the things you could never be.

Doesn’t sound like much of a thank you, does it? Bear with me.

You aren’t my dream come true. In my dreams, my man would never falter. He would meet all my needs before I knew I what I needed. He’d always know what to do and say and how to take care of everything. On bad days, when I’m at my worst or when the kids are getting on my nerves or when everything seems to go wrong, I’d rather have you because you’re real.

You don’t have the all the answers because no one does. You don’t have infinite patience for when I’m being unreasonable. You don’t love everything I do because not everything I do is lovable! If you were always dreamy, imagine all the pressure that would put on both of us! Thank you for being genuine, human, flawed, and most importantly, for never even trying to pretend that our life is like living in a dream.

Thank you for never trying to be a “knight in shining armor.”

All photos via iStock.

I love that you know when to don your armor and fight beside me. And I love even more that you know when it’s my job to slay my dragons alone. There are battles in life that we are meant to fight by ourselves, and I’m glad you never rob me of the opportunity to hone my own strength and gain wisdom from a tough battle. If you were my knight, would I know how to fight for myself? Would I feel like I always needed you to rescue me? Would I ever want to be that weak?

I love that you know when to don your armor and fight beside me.

We’ve both heard over and over that you should never settle for anyone. We’ve heard that to have a great relationship, the things that are important to you should be important to your partner, too.

Well, I’m glad we settled for each other.

You crank your stereo up when you’re alone in your car and you love going to concerts, yet you settled for a woman who can’t stand loud music. You’ve settled for someone who wakes up at the crack of dawn even though you prefer to stay up late at night. I’ve settled for someone who hates the beach even though it’s one of my favorite places. You, an Italian-American from New York, settled for someone who thinks pasta and bread are not a big deal. I, the avid reader, settled for you, who rarely cracks open a book. Imagine the passion, excitement, lust, joy, adventure, and contentment we would have missed had we decided we could not settle for one another.

When I was a little girl, I thought that “happily ever after” might actually exist, even though I never saw it in real life.

I’m glad you don’t try to make me happy every single day. Thank you for being smart enough to know that it’s not your job to make me happy. If I couldn’t find happiness within myself, nothing you do or say could instantly turn me into a happy woman. You’ve spared me from failed attempts at cheering me up or sweeping me off my feet during times when I just need a few minutes to cool down. I’m glad your life isn’t dedicated to making me smile all the damn time because a life of nothing but smiles is not a real life. I’m glad you don’t constantly compliment me/encourage me/inspire me/esteem me and that you don’t make me feel like I’m the center of your world every single day.

Thank you for being smart enough to know that it’s not your job to make me happy.

Don’t you think we would miss out on some amazing make-up sex if you were so perfect that we never got into a fight? We’d be so good at pretending to be happy that we wouldn’t know what real happiness felt like. I’ll take the life that we have and all of its challenges, victories, and struggles over a futile attempt at nonstop happiness any day.

I know that you will almost always be here when I need you, but since you’re not a mind reader, sometimes I will have to ask. Grief, strife, fear, and disappointment will make both of us fall short for one another once in awhile. Thank you for always taking care of yourself first. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to care for me during times when I really need you. And even though you’ll never tell me everything I need to hear (again, because you’re not a mind reader), if I look closely enough, I can see your love, appreciation, and admiration for me in so many things that you do.

I’m glad you threw the fairy tale away long before you met me.

And there’s no one else in this sometimes crazy, sometimes dreary, sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly world I’d rather have by my side. While it’s fun to share our dreams, discuss our fantasies, and pretend that little problems don’t exist from time to time, I don’t know if I could enjoy reality with any other person as much as I enjoy it with you.

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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