“When are you going to start writing again?” a friend asked recently. 

It’s a question I hear on the regular.  You folks sure do flatter a gal and her keyboard.

A stack of files beckons from my desk and my wrist buzzes with the warning of another e-mail’s arrival, the not-so-subtle demands of the ‘real world’ offering me some legit excuses.

But we’ve had some pretty good talks here, you and me. In nine years, we’ve covered much ground:  from family, babies, miscarriages, and wifehood (trophy-style, holler); to performance underwear and chicken doctors; to property appraisals, schools, government, politics, economic development, taxes, elections, and [gasp] cheerleading tryouts.

I’m pretty passionate about you, Stephenville, Erath County, Texas.  You’re my people.

So I s’pose the answer to my friend’s question—and the coincidentally-timed (riiiight, sure, mm-hmm) invitation from the editor to jump back in the column cycle—is: today.

Last year I walked for months through our neighborhoods, meeting people and talking about whatever you cared about when I showed up on your porch.  Today I can drive down most streets in town and recognize a porch, recall a conversation.  I love connecting with you.

It’s a privilege to serve and help shape just what Stephenville wants to be, can be, is becoming. The deliberation and development of our ‘what next’ is exciting. 

Full disclosure: I also used the word ‘exciting’ to describe, publicly, a tax increment financing workshop this week.  And I listen to legislative committee hearings for fun (#txlege #sb2 #sb3).  To each her own.

I’m a dreamer; a planner; a policymaker; an analytical optimist; a believer in the power of volunteerism and the importance of political engagement.  Show up, stand up, speak up.

I’m also a wife and mom, raising two young ladies who I hope will grow into a love of servant leadership.

At bedtime this week, the fifth grader was enthusiastically pitching student council campaign ideas.

“Picture it!” she exclaimed, her hands spread wide as she described a poster displaying her slogan and the most unlikely of campaign mascots.

She’s fired up about running to serve her school, and I’m fired up about a kid who’s fired up about service. 

I was still smiling to myself as I crossed the hall to the kindergartner’s bedroom. 

That youngest one, she keeps us real.

As I tucked the mermaid and rainbow covers around her, she chastised me for missing her soccer practice to attend the workshop at city hall.

“What was the meeting for?” she asked.

“To talk about how a city can pay for things like streets and sewers so it’s a safe, nice place to live.”

“Ugh. Bor-ing,” she groaned. “The city should just make its own money and buy those things. Problem solved.”

And then she grabbed a kazoo off her nightstand, spit out a few bars of ‘Mary, did you know?’ and bid me goodnight.

We clearly have years of lessons in economics, fiscal conservatism, and government ahead of us, but I still stood there beaming nerdily over my babe. 

Because a girl who can punctuate a conversation with a kazoo? She’s bound to be a master of parliamentary procedure.

Or so a mom can dream.

Shelby Slawson, attorney, business owner and passionate community advocate, is a member of the E-T’s community columnists. She can be reached at shelby@slawsonlawfirm.com.