Why Be the Apple When You Can Be the Orchard?

Momservation: I’ve never been prouder that my little apple is rolling away from her tree.

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She did it!

Baby Girl didn’t just graduate from high school—she graduated with a neck-full of honors including Valedictorian! To celebrate she’s thinking of sending the Valedictorian medal to her middle school math teacher, Mr. Friedrich, who gave her the only “B” she’s ever gotten (and still thinks she didn’t deserve).

That’s my girl. The little apple who fell right directly below my tree.

Not the ubber-achiever part—that’s all her. The “I’ll show you” and “oh just try to tell me I can’t do something” part, I think I passed onto her in the womb. But she has likely been taking notes from this mom who bristles and goes into full fight-back mode at the slightest signs of underestimation.

So the fact that my daughter kicked butt and took names through high school—4-year president of her class and school, Speech & Debate president and high honor seal-bearer, National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation member, Distinguished Scholar, Scholar Athlete, special needs camp volunteer, and kids camp counselor—landing her in her top-choice college, UC Santa Barbara, wasn’t just hard work paying off.

It was likely to show that “Logan’s little sister has a name” as she used to sassily tell the kids in junior high who called her by her brother’s name rather than her own. They were going to know her name—Whitney Wheeler—alright. But along the way she earned more than their respect for ambitious achievements.

As one of many friends put it in her senior yearbook: “You are the most driven, encouraging, caring, funny, sweet, and beautiful person on this planet. You push me to be a ray of sunshine just like you.”

That right there…that’s what made me cry and swell up with pride at this finish line of trying to raise good kids. Yeah, my kid graduated high school with honors, but she’s a damn good human being first.

Her yearbook is full of friends telling her how sweet and kind and caring and positive she is. She even had her student government teacher write that if he had a daughter, he’d want her to be just like her.

Oh man, where’s the tissues? I’m crying again.

Didn’t cry one drop at graduation, though. Hearing Whitney’s name called for Valedictorian and then as she got her diploma—just happy dancing and overzealous rejoicing because these are important milestones that will set you up for future success. It is the culmination of raising a child to be a contributing member of society and getting them off to a good start in life. High fives all around. We did it! She did it!

But being a good person? That’s what takes you furthest in life. It’s ongoing. It’s not an honor or achievement, but an instilled value and principle—a personal choice. There is no greater achievement in my book than trying to be a better person today than you were yesterday; forever at the top of your To Do List.

Did she get that from me? I hope so. I’ve modeled it the best I can. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit many days I settled for being a mediocre person and some days I had to apologize to the Big Guy for not taking the higher road.

But that’s where my little apple has sprouted legs and has headed off to see what else is beyond the tree line. She will never settle for being mediocre. She has a fire and a passion to discover all the amazing things Whitney Wheeler can do. She has the determination to explore beyond what people say are her limits. And she has an innate ability to see everyone as a friend with a level of tolerance and compassion for others that is awe inspiring to me.

This is where the tree now learns from the little apple.

We’ve raised Whitney to be the best person she can be while enjoying the journey, but she has, on her own, made it a priority to make sure that her high tide raises all boats.

You go Baby Girl. Go out and plant your orchard. You are going to grow the most amazing apples.

#ClassOf2019  #MyLittleApple  #BeTheOrchard


    • kellimwheeler says:

      Awww, thanks Regan! It feels so good to send her on her way knowing she is going to be absolutley fine. I’ll take a little credit (love and support, guidance and listening), but this girl came out ready to blaze her own trail. 🙂

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