Screentime: How Gonzo Made Me A Bad Parent

(YouTube/YouTube Movies)

On Being A Good Parent

Being a good parent means a lot of different things to different people, but one of the things it means to me is this: I will always try my hardest to take time and answer my daughters’ questions. She may have asked who’s shoes those are 16 times in the past 10 minutes, but each time I calmly respond “Those are your shoes, that’s why you’re wearing them.”

This philosophy also means that when the time comes that I don’t have an answer for her, I’m committed to finding one. I expected that time to come around when she started school, but as it happened it came this year when she is but 2 and a half.

On The Muppets

My daughter loves The Muppets. The first movie she ever sat through was Muppet Family Christmas. She has watched every episode of The Muppet Show at least twice. I maintain that this love comes entirely naturally to her, and has nothing to do with my own Muppet fandom.

So it was only natural that one day she would point at Gonzo and say “Daddy, What That?”

We’d been through this before with the other Muppets, and it had gone swimmingly. “That’s Kermit,” I’d say, “He’s a frog.” “Kernit. Frodd” she’d repeat happily. Miss Piggy (Pig), Fozzy (Bear), The Swedish Chef (Chef). Easy stuff. But now we came to this. The first question I did not have the answer to.

What. Is. Gonzo?

The Muppets have been around for four decades. During that time they have starred in 8 theatrical movies, 9 TV shows and 26 TV specials. Kermit and his crew have used those productions to ask some troubling questions: What would the offspring of a frog and a pig look like? Can Michael Caine dance? What if Tim Curry was a pirate? Questions I’ve struggled with and bested. But to answer my daughter’s question, I had have to peer deeper into the heart of the Muppetverse than any man should ever peer. I have braved the Muppet wilderness, and this is what I have brought back.

Here we go.

(YouTube// Walt Disney Studios Australia)

 

On Reality Itself

Of course, you probably think you already know the answer to my daughter’s question. “What is this idiot on about?” you think to yourself, “Gonzo is an alien.”

This idea was first put forward in 1999’s Muppets From Space. In fact, the entire plot of Muppets From Space is concerned with Gonzo’s “people” coming to earth to take him home. Case closed, column finished, move on.

Not so fast, bucko. What makes you so sure Muppets From Space is real? What makes you think its telling you the real story behind Gonzo? Its long been the conceit of Muppet movies that they are either presenting a fictionalized version of the real story or are just completely fabricated.

This tradition goes all the way back to 1979 and The Muppet Movie. The film begins and ends with a segment showing all the Muppets attending a screening of The Muppet Movie in a theater. Kermit explains that the movie depicts the Muppet’s arrival in Hollywood “approximately how it happened”. It’s therefore clear that Kermit et al. are merely actors playing themselves in a semi-autobiographical work.

NOTE: One important caveat here is that Statler & Waldorf appear in the audience for the film but NOT in the film itself. They are merely members of the general public. (This idea is supported by both The Muppet Show and Muppet Family Christmas). It shows that not all muppets are Muppets. That is, not all muppet-like-creatures are Muppet cast members. Remember this, it’s important.

This idea is made even clearer in their follow-up film. Released in 1981, The Great Muppet Caper stars Kermit and Fozzie as identical twins who are journalists. Miss Piggy plays an aspiring model. Kermit et al. have the same relationship with their characters here that any actor has with theirs. The movie exists entirely in its own fictional universe, without reference to the established characters that we know. Heck, the whole production even begins with a song called “Hey, A Movie!” to cement this idea.

(YouTube//ZuzuFitzwaller)

On Non-fictional Muppet Movies

“Ok,” you think, “Great. The tradition of Muppet movies dictates that Muppets From Space is a fictional story, so Gonzo is not an alien.”

Good job! You solved my Gonzo riddle. Pour yourself a drink.

But hold on just one second! What if I told you that the markers that prove that The Muppet Movie and Great Muppet Caper are fictional stories aren’t present for ALL Muppet releases. In fact, there are three releases that don’t contain the combination of an explicitly fictional plot and impossible metatextual references that indicate a fictional Muppet movie. Those films are: Muppets From Space, The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted. That’s right, the very movie that establishes Gonzo as an alien!

(YouTube//HTK1968)

Muppets From Space has all the Muppet cast, acting exactly within their established characters, living in a house together. The Muppets living all together is not a completely new idea. The extremely short-lived CBS series Little Muppet Monsters established a shared Muppet dwelling way back in 1985. It is, perhaps, unusual that Statler & Waldorf live with the rest of the cast. As discussed earlier, they have been established as members of the public. However, their increased involvement in sketches in later seasons of The Muppet Show may indicate that, at some point between 1987’s Muppet Family Christmas and 1999’s Muppets From Space, they became fully-fledged cast members. So there is nothing in characterization or setup to indicate that Muppets From Space is fictional.

How about any meta-textual weirdness? Gonzo may be given some hope by one line in which Pepe refers to the adventure being like a “Muppet movie”, but the comment in context is not that much more meta than something you or I might say to a friend. Still very ambiguous.

On Job Security

However, not all hope is lost. As any private eye worth his salt will tell you, sometimes clues come from the most unlikely source. Thus, in order to finally solve the mystery of Gonzo, we must follow the tracks an unlikely suspect, an obscure Muppet who seems entirely innocuous, but may actually hold the key that unlocks the mysteries of the Muppetverse.

Bobo The Bear.

(YouTube//dangersque37)

Bobo The Bear was a late addition to the Muppet universe. He first appeared backstage on Muppets Tonight as a security guard at KMUP, the TV station which airs Muppets Tonight. After that, he shows up again only in the TV Special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa and in the movies Muppets From Space, The Muppets (2011) and as a cameo appearance in Muppets Most Wanted. That’s right, the 3 movies we’re interested in! Each of his major appearances give him similar roles, outside of the Muppet cast, and it is possible to trace quite a neat career path for Bobo just from these productions.

1996-1998: Muppets Tonight – At the start of the show, Bobo is already working as a security guard for KMUP.

1999: Muppets From Space – At some point between the end of Muppets Tonight and now, Bobo has moved into government work, presumably with a good reference from KMUP. He now works in a prominent position at C.O.V.N.E.T. While his position is not exactly a logical leap from security guard work, he seems to be a general henchman, which his skill-set and experience make him a good fit for.

2008: A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa – Bobo has remained in government work but has, at some point between 1999 and now, been significantly demoted (presumably after the disastrous mission depicted in Muppets From Space). He is now working as an airport security guard.

2011: The Muppets – After presumably getting tired of low level government jobs, Bobo has entered the private sector. He is now working for Tex Richman, as (you guessed it) a general henchman.

There are three important things to note here: First, Bobo’s appearances all see him play a specific type of role, which can be added together to give a consistent career path. Second, all of these roles place him in opposition to the main Muppet cast. He is not shown to be a member of the Muppet crew at any point, nor is he ever seen to be affiliated with their productions except in a tangential way.

Finally, and most importantly, most of his appearances occur in works which depict themselves as being non-fictional. Muppets Tonight is a continuation of The Muppet Show, the place where the established characters of The Muppets come from. A Muppet Christmas and The Muppets (2011) are set in a world in which The Muppets are all famous actors.

This all seems to suggest that Bobo is merely a member of the general public (NOT a Muppet cast member), whose various jobs have brought him into contact with the Muppets several times. His appearance as a henchman in Muppets From Space therefore cements its position as a non-fictional work. It’s much more plausible to accept that a former security guard would accept government work than to assume he would join a group of actors with whom he has butted heads in the past. Finally, we have confirmation: Gonzo is an alien, everything is great.

(YouTube//Activeaffiliates)

On Ricky Fuckin Gervais

And then Muppets Most Wanted shows up.

Muppets Most Wanted begins at the exact moment The Muppets ends. The big dance number finishes and the crowd dissipates. The first lines of the film are spoken: “And…. CUT!”

The Universe is torn asunder.

With two words, Muppets Most Wanted retroactively reveals The Muppets to be a work of fiction after all. Kermit et al., were just playing versions of their real selves.

At first this seems fine. Its just a fictional version of a true story, like The Muppet Movie. But the problems run deeper than that. Bobo’s presence ruins everything.

You see, the fact that Bobo has a role in the The Muppets means he is not just some hard-working security guard. He is a member of the Muppet’s cast. When did he join the cast? Was it in 2011, after leaving his government posting? Or was it in 1997, after Muppets Tonight? If it was any time before Muppets From Space in 1999, Gonzo’s status is unknown yet again.

But more than Gonzo’s species is at stake here. So much more. What if Bobo joined the cast even earlier? Has he been a cast member this whole time? Is Muppets Tonight also fictional? Is it all a sham?!

The implications of this are staggering. If Muppets Tonight is just another work of fiction, that means that The Muppet Show is too. Nothing is true!

(YouTube//dorcm1973)

Well…not quite. This state of affairs leaves one movie, one keystone holding all the others in place: Muppets Most Wanted. By revealing everything else, everything upon which The Muppetverse is built, as fiction, Muppets Most Wanted reveals itself as the only thing that is real. Walter, Costantine, Ricky Fucking Gervais. That’s the real, true story of the Muppets. Everything else is bullshit. They were just playing roles for 40 years. And now, finally, we know the truth.

But Muppets Most Wanted has one more trick up its sleeve. Right at the end, right at the climactic wedding scene, who shows up in the audience? Bobo The Bear. Its as if he’s saying “I’ve been here all along, hiding in plain sight. Everything you know is a lie.”

Epilogue

And so I return to my daughter a broken man. Not only do I not have the answer she seeks, but I have knowledge that to impart to her would be to destroy her world. It would be better had I never attempted to answer at all, if I had given up my researches and used that time to play with her and like, teach her to count or whatever. But what’s done is done.

Later she asks again. Pointing to Gonzo and looking up at me, all innocence.

“Daddy, What That?”

That’s Gonzo, honey. He’s a….whatever.

“Gondo. Whaever”

 

(YouTube//Sam P)

 

 

Healthcare Worker and NFL Mom Gets Honored on Madden Cover

Miles Boykin Mom on Madden
(Twitter/MBoykin814)

Over the summer, Baltimore Ravens receiver Miles Boykin tweeted that his mom finally discovered he had used her credit card to pay for his Xbox live membership and that she had been paying it for the NFL player since he was in SIXTH GRADE! But, with some help from Xbox and EA Sports, he made up for it by helping his mom, a healthcare hero, become the first female to grace the cover of Madden.

Madden reigns supreme when it comes to sports video gaming (personally, I’m an NBA 2k and FIFA guy, but you can’t deny the Madden popularity over the years), even if the fabled Madden curse has become but a footnote in history thanks to Patrick Mahomes. And NFL players today, like Boykin, grew up playing Madden.

Still, it’s always funny when a professional athlete with a multi-million dollar contract has his mom paying for his Xbox live membership. He tried to intervene and take over the payments, but she said she might as well just keep picking up the tab.

Boykin appealed to Xbox for help. And they came through, in a big way.

Boykin’s mom, Felicia, is a healthcare worker, so Xbox and EA decided to help Miles show his appreciation for her. She not only received an Xbox Game Pass (so she’ll finally stop getting charged for Miles’ subscription), she also got a copy of Madden with herself on the cover, which will also go to some of her healthcare hero colleagues (along with new Xbox consoles).

Miles also takes the chance to tell his mom how much she’s meant to him and his development.

“You’ve always been there. You helped me become the man I am today and I will forever be grateful to you. I would give you the world if I could and you would still deserve better,” he said. “You not only supported my passion for football but also my second love of gaming.”

She also received a custom Xbox One controller, a pair of new Nike Air Zoom Pulses, and a pair of custom cleats for Miles to wear with her image painted on them.

It’s a great way for Miles to repay a parent, and I will now consider this the threshold for all kids going forward when it comes to recurring subscription fees.

National Museum Helps Oldest Living World War II Veteran Celebrate 111 Birthday

Lawrence Brooks and Victory Belles
(YouTube/The National WWII Museum)

As people who have the privilege of enjoying the freedom and safety of life in the US, we owe a huge amount of gratitude to veterans. Veterans sacrifice their own safety, time with their families, and sometimes their lives to ensure that we are able to live our own lives in relative safety.

Veterans are essential to the sense of security we have living in the US, and we do what we can to show how much we appreciate them. Actor Gary Sinise created a foundation to support veterans and their families in 2011 and continues to provide assistance nearly a decade later. Earlier this year, a 104-year-old veteran received over 70,000 Valentine’s Day cards, from people around the country who wanted to make his day a bit brighter. Now, the world’s oldest World War II veteran is getting the birthday celebration he deserves.

Lawrence Brooks, a veteran who served during World War II in the 91st Engineer Battalion, has been celebrating his birthday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans since he turned 105. Due to the pandemic (what else is new), the museum had to put together a safe and socially-distanced celebration – and they absolutely did not disappoint.

According to a post they shared on Instagram, the museum arranged a performance by a vocal trio called The Victory Belles, a military flyover, a birthday cake, and nearly 10,000 birthday cards they collected from a national card drive.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The National WWII Museum celebrated the 111th birthday of Mr. Lawrence Brooks, a New Orleans native and the oldest known U.S. veteran of World War II, at his home last Saturday. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we arranged a socially distant birthday celebration. The Victory Belles, performed a series of numbers including “Happy Birthday,” and Mr. Brooks enjoyed military plane flyovers courtesy of the @aeroshellaerobatic and @bigeasywingcaf. We additionally presented Mr. Brooks with a cake and nearly 10,000 birthday cards that were collected as a result of a national card drive. #WorldWarII #worldwar2 #WWIIVet #happybirthday #oldestlivingwwiiveteran⁠ ⁠ Click the bio link and then this image to watch the full video.

A post shared by The National WWII Museum (@wwiimuseum) on


The museum’s vice president, Peter Crean, told FOX News after last year’s celebration, “We absolutely love Mr. Brooks. We’ve told him, ‘As long as you keep having birthdays, we are going to keep having birthday parties for you here.’”

Though circumstances didn’t allow for Brooks to celebrate at the museum itself this year, Crean kept his promise by bringing the celebration to Brooks’s home. The 111-year-old smiled from his porch, surrounded by balloons, a birthday banner, and everyone who came to celebrate with him (from a safe distance). Though Brooks lost his wife Leona in 2005 to Hurricane Katrina, he is surrounded by the love of his five children, 13 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren.

Brooks told FOX, “I’ve started to think about not having many birthdays left. But I’m not worried about it, because God has let me live this long already. I think it’s because I’ve always liked people so much. Oh yes, I do.”

Let us throw our birthday greeting onto the ever-growing pile – happiest of birthdays Mr. Brooks, and thank you for your service.

Relationship Argument Leads Couple to $177K Lotto Win

Argument leads to lottery win
(Courtesy Virginia Lottery)

Relationships aren’t easy. There’s always going to be disagreements, arguments, and fights about those arguments. That’s a healthy part of the relationship (assuming those fights aren’t WWE-style), as ignoring problems can just make them worse. For one Virginia woman, having an argument with her boyfriend paid off with a lottery win and hopefully, they don’t argue about splitting it. because the payout was substantially more than the $1 jackpot we previously reported on.

Like, literally, in real money, not in relationship building or coming to a better understanding of each other. Chyanne Creel got into an argument with her boyfriend and they decided to go for a drive to cool off.

When they stopped for gas, she sent her boyfriend inside to buy some snacks (essential) and some lottery tickets (why not?). One of the scratch-off tickets hit the grand prize of $177,777. She won almost $200K because of this fight.

There are some important lessons we can all take away from this. She didn’t elaborate on what the fight was about. Was it about improperly loading the dishwasher? A disagreement about the distribution of household chores? Could they not come to an agreement about what to watch on Netflix?? Who knows what the magical elixir was here? So, the take away is to ignore what popular literature would tell you about not sweating “the small stuff.”

Instead, sweat it, sweat it all. Never miss a chance to argue or fight, and make sure to chase every single argument with a lottery ticket. This is a proven path to success both financially and in a relationship. Is she grinding your gears because she’s hogging the remote? Don’t hold back, because that could be what brings a massive influx of cash into your lives.

I mean, sure, she hit the big prize on odds that were greater than one in a million. So yeah, it may take some time for this path to bear fruit. But even if you don’t deliberately go searching for an argument, at least you know in the back of your head, should you find yourself in a fight, there is more than one way to make-up and get lucky.

Daughter Saves Dad’s Taco Truck With a Tweet

Twitter Taco Plea Saves Dad's Business
(Instagram/taqueriaeltoritoofficial)

The global pandemic has crushed huge swaths of the economy, decimating entire industries. Few have been hit as hard as restaurants, travel, and entertainment. We’ve lost thousands of great, independent restaurants and dive bars, the places that give communities character (along with great meals and memories). And some shops have needed some extra help to stay open in these brutal times.

One of these was a taco truck in Texas. A young woman in Texas had been checking in regularly with her dad, as his taco truck business began to slow to a crawl. One day, after hearing he had only made $6 during a 12-hour shift, she decided to try and help the best way a young person can: by posting about it on social media.

His daughter Giselle posted: “Hey Twitter!! I wouldn’t normally do this, but my dad’s taco truck business is struggling, he only sold $6 today. If you could retweet, I would appreciate you so much!!”

And retweet they did, as it quickly went viral, getting more than 10,000 RTs. And it worked, as he has had more business than he can handle.

His daughter tearfully posted a thank you after customers came in waves until he was sold out. He’s been working ferociously since, as his daughter’s plea to give her dad’s cooking a chance has been heard far and wide.

She said her dad doesn’t understand social media, but “is so grateful for everyone who is spreading the word.”

“COVID has been a nightmare for small businesses, thank you for putting a smile on his face,” she added.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Tortas Cubanas made FRESH to order 💕

A post shared by @ taqueriaeltoritoofficial on

It’s a sweet story of a daughter’s love for her dad helping save his business, but the broader takeaway is just how hard this time is on a lot of people, and the only path forward is for communities to come together to help those who need it most in any way they can.

This LEGO ‘Brickroll’ Is Never Gonna Let You Down

Lego Brickroll
(YouTube/Domy13)

The 80’s was overflowing with great music. With songs like Take On Me by a-ha, Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” still making regular appearances nearly 40 years later, it was undoubtedly a golden age of music. There was one song, however, that has withstood the test of time no matter how freaking hard we’ve tried to avoid it. Some might even say that this particular song is never gonna give us up. Of course, we’re talking about Rick Astley’s iconic “Never Gonna Give You Up”. It’s a fine song, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect to emerge from an era fueled by Garbage Pail Kids and cocaine.

Over time, this song transformed into its own beast. Meme culture got its sticky little hands on it, and now it’s virtually inescapable. You’ve likely heard this song way more times than you ever intended to, clicking completely unrelated links only to be hit with the ol’ “bait-and-switch”. The sweeping phenomenon known as the “Rickroll” has been going on for well over a decade, with no sign of slowing down.

Astley himself eventually accepted his meme fame, using a float to Rickroll anyone watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2008. In another live-action Rickroll, Astley showed up at a Dave Grohl show and the two proceeded to duet Astley’s inescapable song to over 60,000 fans.

Most recently, a new take on the iconic Rickroll has us conflicted. On the one hand, it’s still a Rickroll – but it’s so impressively done that we kind of love it. If we’re going for accuracy, we should clarify that it’s less of a “Rickroll”, and more of a “Brickroll”. Specifically, a LEGO Brickroll.

In his first Youtube animation, a user named Domy13 created an entirely Lego-based recreation of the iconic ‘80s music video. The detail is incredible – in fact, Domy13 was so confident in his Lego rendition’s accuracy that he even posted a side-by-side comparing his animated version to the original. Regardless of how tainted your opinion of the Astley hit may be, this video is well worth a watch.

Now do Freebird!

Cowboy-Hat-Wearin’ 94-Yr-Old Great Grandfather Conquers Water Slide

Great Grandfather Conquers Water Slide
(Facebook/michaelandmichelle.graham)

Sometimes in life, you just gotta go down a cool water slide into a pool. And if you do it when you’re in your 90s, the levels of badassery are compounded. It was a 94-year-old great-grandfather in Oklahoma who did just that, in a video that has since gone viral and, as the kids would say, “won the internet.”

It’s a cute video, as the family helps up him the ladder and cheer him on the entire way. One of the family members shared the video and said “When your 94-year-old Papa says I’m going down the water slide that means he’s going down the water slide! I love him so much and hope to be half the man he has been through his life.”

He later told the Today Show that he had some trouble explaining to his grandfather why so many people watched the video.

“I said two things that I see. One is people were really excited to see someone of your age still active and doing things. Then the other is there’s been lots of comments, how much people can see the love in the family. And that’s always been a big part of our life. He is the patriarch of the family and everybody gets together and has each other’s back.”

And you know what, he’s pretty much nailed it. It’s not the type of video that’s going to start a conversation or change the way things are done. It’s not going to cancel a celebrity or force a brand to make some serious commercial. It’s just a fun moment, captured by a family and shared with the world, to give you a smile as you scroll through your phone, working your way through another day.

The world doesn’t have enough of those short, joyous moments, so sharing them wide and far is important.

I guess if you wanted to extrapolate some sort of inherent life lesson or assigned meaning to it, you could say, when life presents you with a water slide into a pool, just enjoy the damn slide.

12 Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week 9/18/20

Funniest Parenting Tweets Week of 9-18-2020
(Getty/Star Tribune, Twitter/simoncholland)

Few things are more hilarious than a kid saying or doing something ridiculous, mostly because they often don’t even realize just how funny they are. Even better, if the really embarrassing stuff comes from a kid that’s not yours. Fortunately for us, Twitter parents document the good, the bad, and the just plain absurd. Each week, we collect the funniest parenting tweets for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home – any messes these kids get themselves into aren’t yours to clean up. Here they are, the 12 funniest parenting tweets of the week.

The backbone of his household

Maybe be more specific next time

I think I’d have the same reaction if I saw whatever that is

You’ve earned it

I bet he’s the coolest kid on the block

Nothing like seeing your kids push themselves to succeed

Uh, you learn something new every day

Jealous?

Sign me up

If you think you’re muted, mute yourself again

Third time’s the charm

You’re doing great

Did you miss last week’s funniest parenting tweets?

New Virtual Camp Aims To Make Gamers Healthier

Virtual Camp for Gamers
(Hybrid ATX)

Gaming. One of the most historically popular methods of leisure. Its benefits are countless: learn problem-solving and social skills, improve focus, memory, and hand-eye coordination. Don’t forget the improvement of relationships. Video games are great! But they do sometimes have negative side effects, be they controller-smashing fits of rage, or addiction, which can lead to lapses in a proper diet, exercise, and exposure to sunlight.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Now there’s a virtual day camp called Hybrid ATX, where kids can learn healthy habits to amass alongside their gaming ones. Video games foster discipline, and that discipline can easily be used to pick up valuable life skills, according to camp founder Sam Gonzalez.

“We are going to lead by example,” said the 28-year-old Navy veteran in a recent interview. “To show that just because you play video games doesn’t mean you’re rotting your brain and you’re gonna die fat and lonely,”

(Spectrum News)

Along with a team of counselors, kids aged 11-15 can play video games while learning about proper nutrition, the importance of emotional intelligence, and ways to nurture their physical well-being under quarantine. Here you can see Sam leading a group in some jumping jacks, a perfect way to kill time during those pesky load screens.

(Spectrum News)

Hybrid ATX, whose slogan is “Building Better Gamers,” also offers kids lessons on the history and evolution of video games, and teaches them about the industry’s wide array of career opportunities. It’s an inclusive, uplifting environment, dedicated to showing kids that gaming can be a tool for positive change and growth and not just a means for saying abhorrent things to strangers on Xbox Live.

“There’s a lot of online toxicity, raging and really unhealthy behavior that happens,” Sam continued. “So we are looking at how to teach them 1) not to contribute to that, and 2) remove them from that when they see it.”

(Spectrum News)

Now if can just offer a course on showing adult Animal Crossing enthusiasts how to channel their focus into real, actual housework, we’ll be golden.

You can check out the Hybrid ATX website right here, where you can find info about a free orientation week for students!

4-Year-Old Celebrates Cancer Remission With Beautiful Photos

4-year-old beats cancer, celebrates with photoshoot
(instagram/kris_bowden)

There are so many things that we prepare for as parents. We prepare to be sleep deprived for a while, we prepare to send our kids off to school, and one day, maybe even walk them down the aisle at their wedding. One thing we don’t prepare for though (because honestly, it’s too painful to even consider), is for our kids to get sick. In March of 2020, the Bowden family faced the unimaginable – their beautiful, smiley, 4-year-old daughter Lula Beth was diagnosed with cancer.

After visiting the doctor, the family was told that Lula had a Wilms tumor on her kidney, a tumor that turned out to be football-sized. To treat the stage 2 cancer as aggressively as possible, Lula’s tumor was removed along with her kidney. Following the incredibly taxing surgery, the brave little girl faced 13 rounds of chemotherapy in just 22 weeks.

“She flawlessly got through them all and remained the light in our family,” Lula’s mom Kristin Bowden told Good Morning America. “She has not complained once and graciously completed her course.”

In just four short years, Lula has endured more than many of us will endure in our entire lives. Her strength, bravery, and positivity inspired both her family and the world. On August 28, 2020, the Bowden family got the news they’d so desperately needed – Lula was cancer-free.

To celebrate Lula’s journey and clean bill of health, Kristin Bowden, a photographer, staged a stunning photoshoot. The powerful photos have spread across social media platforms, drawing both support and congratulations from around the world.

 

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She did it!!! CANCER FREE 😭🧡😍

A post shared by Kristin Bowden (@kris_bowden) on

Lula, smiling in a brightly-colored dress fit for a queen, holds up a sign. The sign reads, “It came. We fought. I won.” In just six words, Lula tells a touching story. Her smile shows the world that her spirit is stronger and brighter than ever, even after all she’s endured.

Kristin continues to document the emotional journey, with a more recent photo celebrating the removal of Lula’s port – a tube put in place to make it easier for doctors to deliver intravenous medication and fluid.

 

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HER PORT IS OUT! She is D O N E!

A post shared by Kristin Bowden (@kris_bowden) on

Kristin shared an important reminder on Instagram, telling her followers that “No one has a free pass in this life.” Lula’s photos remind us that we are stronger than we think we are – that though we all face challenges in life, we can come out the other side, our smiles wider and brighter than ever.