I was a straight-A student through most of high school. For the most part, this didn’t require too much work. When there was work to be done, I did it—but only at the very. last. minute. I considered my procrastinating, staying-up-till-all-hours shenanigans my personal “work style.” Which might have been fine and dandy, except for the fact that more than occasionally the assignment requirements read: “Typed—Double spaced.”

In my house that meant: I scribbled some stuff on loose leaf, finished sometime around 3 in the morning the day that it was due, then left it out for my mom to type up on our fancy silver-and-blue typewriter at 7 am. She’d type and make a few expert revisions while I blearily ate my Raisin Bran, then I’d dash out the door, final copy in hand, with minutes to spare before school started.

I was a Sophomore when my mom finally brought down the hammer. “I’m not typing your essays anymore. You’re going to take typing.” When I complained it wouldn’t fit into my schedule packed with music and honors classes, she said, “Then I guess you’re going to summer school.”

I objected. Strongly. My mother stood firm. And you know there’s just no getting around a mom standing firm… So off to summer school I went.

I don’t remember too much from those mind-numbing mornings of typing class. That is, I don’t remember much from the classes I actually attended instead of ditching to go eat donuts with my boyfriend… (Sorry, mom.) But the legacy of that loving push has served me well in the years since—from a college application essay that helped earn me a full scholarship, to having two articles and a book published, and now to this blog.

Thanks, mom, for helping give me the best gift I never wanted.