Chapter 51: The 21st Night of September at the Border of Crazy

September is a prime time for our family.  With the start of the cool breeze and turning leaves, it represents the mourning of a summer gone by too quickly, the beginning of the school year, the start of the holiday season, and the time we celebrate MSP’s (Miss Sassy Pants) birthday.

Memorialized by Earth, Wind, and Fire’s song, “Do You Remember the 21st Night of September?”, the song September has become the anthem that celebrates the life of a brilliant, sassy, and sweet young lady. 

This year, she celebrates her 12th year of life while starting the 7th grade. 

One day after school, she stormed excitedly into the house and said, “Mommy, you have homework to do!” I was terrified! I’m way 26 years past homework and was NOT excited about the prospect of being given an assignment with a deadline. 

Her English teacher gave the parents a task “In a million words or less, tell me about your child.” Panic immediately sets in.  When I was a student, I was never one for homework, and now, I need to encapsulate my daughter into an essay.

As a writer, you’d think that would be easy. However, I often find it challenging to capture the essence and love I have for MSP in words, spoken or written.  Words aren’t grand enough, and I wanted to do her justice.

The pressure to describe her strengths along with her challenges is not simple or easy.

There is also the guilt I carry about telling her teacher that she is a child of divorce.  Each time I share this information, it feels like a scarlet letter, a tattoo of sorts that she is marked with for the rest of her life.  A circumstance that she didn’t choose, but that is a significant part of her life experience.

It’s forever a part of her story, for better or worse.

But this is a happy story about a cheerful girl quickly transforming into a woman before my very eyes.

Here she is, standing tall on her birthday.  She is also pictured at her birthday dinner with some of those who love her dearly, including me.

She is the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sass and vinegar, honey and lemon.  I admire all that she is and all she is becoming.

The world is better because she exists. 

Here is the completed essay assignment that attempts to capture my favorite human in under a million words.  As I like to tell her, I love her more than all the stars in the galaxy, and I hope this does her justice. 

Through this exercise, I fell in love with her all over again. I have no doubt you will too!



A million words about Eve Escribano (more like 1,349 words)

There is no better person to tell you about Eve Escribano than the sassy girl herself.  But I’ve been tasked to tell you about her as a guide and witness. 

I find it incredibly arduous to encapsulate the awesomeness that is Eve, or as I call her, Miss Sassy Pants, aka MSP.  Her other nicknames include Sugar Plum Fairy, Honey Nut Steve (Steve for short), Evie, Evie Bujeebees (Bujeebs for short), and finally, Petunia (the pet name anointed by her Nanny).

Eve is a Virgo.  The reason this is worth mentioning is that she’s recently become obsessed with astrology.  She soaks it in with an insatiable curiosity to get to know herself better.  Being a Virgo is vital because it helps her identify her needs, strengths, and quirks.  It makes her feel seen and understood.

According to Allure magazine, like Eve, “Virgos are logical, practical, and systematic in their approach to life. This earth sign is a perfectionist at heart and isn’t afraid to improve skills through diligent and consistent practice. They are kind, gentle, and supportive friends who use their incredible intellect and resourcefulness for problem-solving. These earth signs are always striving to provide workable solutions and improve broken systems. Methodical, committed, and hardworking, they make excellent teachers, healers, editors, and musicians.”

True to her sign, Eve is a musician.  She has taken piano and voice lessons for over three years.  This past year, Eve took up the drums.  She loves to express her power by smashing those drums every week!

Singing is her passion.  This past summer, she memorized nearly every song in Hamilton and entertained us with music performances from the main stage of our kitchen.  She performed in FAD day last year and just auditioned for Sharps and Flats (I’m praying she gets in!). 

At one time, I thought her perfectionism was a trait that she inherited from her Father.  However, after reading the Virgo profile, she is destined to be a perfectionist.  There are times when Eve will try something and want to give up if she’s not perfect the first time. This is where she needs encouragement and grace to fail.  To get up, dust herself off, and try again.  She can give up too quickly.  This has improved over time, but it’s important to reinforce that practice makes perfect. As I like to say, fail forward. As she matures, she’s starting to listen and respond to this advice.

When Eve was 4-years old, her pre-school invited the children to dress up as their future career. She chose to be an artist.  And since that time, she has painted, illustrated, doodled, and built Legos. With an art easel instead of a TV in her room, she has free rein to express her creativity in whatever medium tickles her fancy.

Her artistic abilities also shine through baking.  Over the years, her career path pivoted, and she is vehemently committed to being a pastry chef when she grows up (at least for now).  Recently, she baked homemade cookies for Air Force servicemen and women on Ft. Maguire’s base.  She sourced the recipe and baked them herself with her good friend Ali.  They were the BEST chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had (and I’m not just saying that cause I’m her Mom).

While Eve embodies the heart of an artist, she is also an athlete.  Currently, she is working toward her second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and recently joined the Westfield Intercounty soccer league, the Canaries. Her speed, strength, and agility shine with soccer as she takes the defensive position.  The discipline, precision, and regimented approach of Tae Kwon Do brings out the best in her.  When she comes out of her weekly class, she is literally on fire.  Electrified by learning her “form” and her instructors who challenge and encourage her. 

She self-identifies as the Mom of her group. The ultimate organizer, she is ready for every potential disaster, from a runny nose to a rainy day.  Eve is always prepared.  She actually loves to map out her schedule every week, of course with artistic flair, but it gives her a sense of calm to be mentally prepared while visualizing her plan.  This doesn’t inhibit her spontaneous nature but frees it. 

She attacks her studies the same way.  She wants to achieve her potential.  Her passion for studying is undoubtedly attributed to her Father, who is a teacher and lifelong student.  She loves to write, gets math, is fascinated by history, and relates to science.  Eve is an AVID fan of Greek Mythology, so be careful when you ask her about it. She will tell you ALL the stories about Gods and Goddesses, even the gruesome ones.

She is a voracious reader and psychoanalyzes the characters and debates their choices.  A self-starter who loves to support other students and was often asked to help other students when the teachers couldn’t get through to a particular child. I remember her teacher’s telling me they loved to talk about fashion, music, and cooking with Eve.  They thought of her as an equal, and she responded positively to being treated that way.

Possibly influenced by her only child status, she is an old soul melded with the silliness of a 12-year old girl who enjoys an interactive and dynamic learning environment. You can count on Eve to be engaged and to engage others. She is also a natural leader who intuitively understands that sometimes you must give others the chance to take the reins. 

While the pandemic was challenging, yet again, Eve rose to the occasion. Adding an extra layer of complexity to her transfer, 6th grade was Eve’s first year in the Westfield school system.  Expectedly, the first four months were hard.  She was anxious about making friends; she felt behind the curriculum and struggled to find her equilibrium. 

Eve made a goal to make one new friend last year, and the chances were dismal.  This is where her guidance counselor, saved the day.  Knowing Eve was new to the school system, and we were generally newbies to Westfield, she began to match us up with other new families.  In January, she introduced us to a new family that moved to town from Hoboken, whose daughter in Eve’s grade, Ali.

This was a turning point, as Ali and Eve became very close, as did her Mom and me. They live one block from us, and we now carpool each week.  Ali and Eve are different in many ways but also complement each other’s strengths and areas of development.  With her goal achieved, she began to make friends easily and regained her confidence in her studies with the help of a tutor. She ended the year with almost all straight A’s (only one B in math) and was granted the Roosevelt Award due to her history teacher’s nomination.

Finally, and arguably least importantly, Eve is a child of divorce.  It sounds like some scarlet letter or disease when I say it like that.  This is an aspect of her life that will likely impact her in ways that have yet to surface.  I listed this last as divorce does not define who Eve is, it’s a fact of her life experience. Interestingly, despite the difficulties caused by divorce, her Dad and I have worked together to make that transition as positive as possible.

There is no doubt we made mistakes, and it was challenging at times.  Somehow though, in Eve’s true fashion, she fights her way through and shines regardless of the circumstances.  Her kind, intuitive, resilient, empathetic spirit healed our family and is why we try to be the best versions of ourselves.  Eve makes you want to be a better person.

I don’t just love Eve as a mother loves their child, I like her, and I am truly privileged to be her lifelong witness and guide (one of many). 

I’ve loved this exercise and appreciate the chance to help you get to know her through my adoring eyes. 

Cherry Maggiore is the proud mom of her 11-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka MSP – Miss Sassy Pants), two-year old furry daughter, Bella and soon-to-be betrothed to Mr. Pizza.  She’s spent the past 25 years as an award-winning senior marketing executive at a major media company.

Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company, Cherry Home Designs LLC, after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.

This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.

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