Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Write Now!

I literally do not have anything to do right now but write.

And it's beyond time for an update.  My boys have settled into the rhythms of their school years; my older one is now talking about going stag to the coronation dance. I worry about who he's going to hand out with or if he'll find anyone to hang out with.  My younger boy brought home his safety patrol sash and proudly announced that he is directing the third graders during dismissal.

And mom is in the process of letting go of all the volunteer stuff. This next chapter of our lives challenges us all, and I can't afford distractions. Alas, the world is full of them.

This summer, we had more outings and get-togethers with friends than we ever had before. And the best part was that we didn't have to explain anything to anyone--we just went out and had a great time. And had a whole bunch of great times.

While I hammer out what the remainder of G's religious education program is going to look like, AS at the high school has taken note of all Nic's growth over the last six months and is pushing him to the next level. And G's AS works toward giving him the tools he needs to conquer middle school next year. Already, Nic's parted the sea for little brother, but little brother will still have to paddle his own way.

Speaking of sea, G surprised us all this summer by literally diving into the ocean. He used to be afraid of the waves, but this year, he's developed a healthy respect for the size and strength of the ocean alongside genuine enjoyment. We also re-discovered his preschool music teacher, who now visits us in the house once a week and works with Gabriel on singing, piano, and occasionally, guitar. (He still plays the trombone. Summer POPs was, at best, a mixed experience for him).

And we're supposed to sell popcorn. But I can't think about that right now.

And Nic's made a bundle metal detecting. He's becoming a pretty apt businessman, also.  Between snow shoveling and various scientific studies, he's doing better than I ever did baby sitting at his age.

I don't know what the future holds for either of them. But they have each other, and they have us.

And that's a good start.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Persistence

At what point does one give up?

I'm locked in a constant search to find something--anything--my kids  can do. In some ways, it's been easier to find stuff for G. He's never been the behavior issue his brother is/has been. But having said that, he's quieter, he tends to disappear in his own head, so people tend to overlook him.

Unless of course I've drawn attention to him.

I sign him up for things, often against his will. After all, he'd be on the computer all the time if I didn't.

But I have to be prepared for the downside of that.

He's a sweet, goofy, lovable kid who digs in and keeps going no matter what.

Maybe it's time to define 'what.'

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Navigating Heartbreak

My older son is now a high school student.

His nervousness was palpable as he filed in with his classmates to the high school auditorium yesterday morning. His shoulders hunched a little less when he glimpsed me and his dad in the crowd. And they squared as he mounted the podium to shake hands with the school board.
And he is quite the young man, now.  He sought our eyes a few times over the course of the ceremony. It was long(ish). And hot. And crowded. But he made it through, just like the rest of his peers. 

After the ceremony, dad and I surfed the crowd, looking for him. Outside, I found B and his mom. I congratulated them both, and as I chatted with them, I was acutely aware that they were both distinctly uncomfortable talking to me. So smiling, I turned away and looked for my men. 

A little later on, we went to a local eatery to celebrate, the three of us. And there were quite a few of Nic's classmates there, in groups. And there was my son with his folks. They poked each other and pointed. Nic did not notice.  All Nic noticed was that he got to sit at the bar with the adults with his burger and seltzer. And he wished his friend went to the same school as him. 

I'm not sure what my point is. I am elated beyond belief that he was promoted at his home school with his peers.

OTOH, I had my husband kicking me at different times during the ceremony. Like when the girl giving the send off speech said that in the seventh grade, you might change friends.

"If you have friends to start with," I muttered. Kick one.

And the part about sorting through Bar/Bat Mitzvah memorabilia:

"Assuming you were invited to any," I muttered. Kick two.

I forget what the third one was about, but you get my drift. 

So, my son has made massive gains this year because of inclusion. But he still remains socially isolated. And I worry this will continue. Don't get me wrong--I love, respect, and admire all the teachers and staff that have helped get him to where he is now.

But I can't ignore the fact that he has no friends in this place.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Finding the quiet

So, older son graduates 8th grade from his home middle school tomorrow. Younger son moves one year closer to middle school.

I've been so overwhelmed by the demands of daily live that it really takes some enforced down time to understand the magnitude of this accomplishment.

And realize how daunting the gauntlet ahead is.

This summer will be spent preparing for 9th grade--literally and figuratively. We need to get our house in order and we need a plan.  Up until now, the plan has been rather fluid, since my expectations have required adjustment and re-adjustment over the years.

Now,  we need plans A-Z--and maybe beyond. My recent employment history has given me a great deal of experience strategizing for various events and outcomes. These things have only been practice for the real thing.

It's go time.

Now is the time to prepare for the rest of his life.

God speed us on our way.

Monday, May 12, 2014

(R)evolution(s)

Fledging is as good a place as any to begin.

After years of attending the church of "Let's Fling This Against the Wall and See What Sticks," my boys have a fairly good idea of where they excel, what they like, and how they want to spend their time. Recently, G told me he didn't want to go to campover 'because it will ruin my weekend plans.'

Up until this point, I didn't realize my 10-year-old was making plans.  So I asked him what he had in mind. And he laid out a fairly complex and well-thought-out itinerary that quite frankly blew my mind. It included the camp-out, but it also included a pasta dinner, bowling league, and the rest of the weekend as it played out. And it was quite reasonable, so I amended our plans accordingly.

And much to my surprise, my 10-year-old boy's plans yielded an enjoyable weekend for us all.

I think this is where my previous entry, about things coming to an end, comes into play. When you stop forcing things to happen, there is room for other, wonderful things. Although we are not quite where I expected we would be by now, I couldn't have planned for some of experiences that have come about--marvelous opportunities and times for both of them.  They have had opportunities to chose, and make choices, and make the most of those choices.

In some ways, both of them are testing their wings. And finding strength each of them never realized he had before. It's wonderful and terrifying, all at once. I am awed and humbled as they both learn to take flight.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shutting down

A friend of mine talked to me many months back about shutting down, taking things off her plate, getting ready for a big change.  "How do you know when it's time to pack it all in?" I asked her at the time.

"You just know."

Much like the answer my brother gave me to the question, now decades ago, "How do you know who Mr./Ms. Right is for you?"

"You just know."

He was right.  And my friend is right, too. I find myself in the peculiar place of knowingly ending some things, and readying up, preparing for something. What? I don't know. I just find that some things that need to be said are coming out, sometimes unbidden.  Things that I used to worry about now seem to be answered with "So what?"

The busi(y)ness of this year actually camouflaged an eerie calm. I can see the surface of our lives glass-clear under the sun. But I see red skies on the horizon, and any good sailor knows that you'd better pay attention to those skies in the morning.

I don't know what's ahead; I only know it's time to get things in order.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Perfect Storm

On October 17, we celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary as a family of four at our favorite restaurant.

Unbeknownst to us, this was the beginning of a two-week tempest that encompassed family emergency with major life milestones. The short list:
  • Wedding anniversary
  • Younger boy's 10th birthday
  • Younger boy's hospitalization for burst appendix
  • Older boy's confirmation and first communion
And the last two happened concurrently.

This past weekend was 10 years since our younger guy was baptized.  Older boy and I head to Kentucky for cross country nationals on Thursday while little man celebrates his third consecutive year as popcorn king in his cub scout pack.

Hubby just returned from visiting his uncle in another state. While he was gone, I hosted a sleepover for the boys, which went extremely well.  Everything gets easier with a little practice.

Life ebbs and flows, and I enjoy the light, sunshine and colors  of this fall. I would not trade this life for anything, nor would I miss a minute of it. Older boy caps it all off with second honors--no grade inflation, this time, I'm sure--just mom nipping at his heels and making sure it all gets done. And turned in.  Such a typical, normal problem to have.

The best thing?  Older boy performing flash fiction with his class. He looked just like any other kid up there.

At long last.

Looking ahead, feeling thankful for so much, and blessed beyond all belief. God is good.