No, I haven't died. Here's the short list why I've been largely absent here:
7th grade homework (need I say more?)
Social skills group
Wrestling (middle school) (!)
CYO basketball (four games this week)
Beginner Orchestra (violin)
music lessons (piano and violin)
Social Skills group
Managing all the above
The obvious question is: Am I nuts? (and the obvious answer is yes). There is a method to my madness, however. That Nic is involved in middle school and CYO sports is already a huge win, since I never thought these things would ever be on the table, let alone something he'd be doing.
Let's be clear: he's never going to be a rock star athlete. That's not why he's doing it. He's doing these things because he's learning more about social skills, teamwork and sportsmanship than in any environment. It's not pretty. Sometimes, it's really hard to watch. Nic gets out there and does his best--and those games (10 points against St. Albert the Great a couple weeks ago--which included two free throws) get his whole team pumped.
Likewise, Gabriel announced during dress rehearsal for the winter concert: "I don't feel like doing this." Nonetheless, not only did he play his instrument well during the concert, he looked just like any other kid up there.
"I really didn't feel like playing," he confided at bedtime. "And that's what made it so awesome," I answered. "You went up there and did it, anyway. And you did really well."
I deliberately under scheduled this week because, quite frankly, as I reflect on our summer and fall, we've all been running hard. The kids appreciate hanging out and building their lego kits. Nic's been grumbling that I am making him work out this week (and I'm glad for the basketball tournaments); however, he perks up when I remind him that he's lost 7 pounds since wrestling started and that he looks good.
External motivation is still key for Nic; there is an elevator road trip in his future if he completes his wrestling seasons successfully (success here simply means that he participates and competes; anything more than that is gravy). And for Gabriel, he simply enjoys everything he does. Which is the point.
Another important development this fall is Nic's new friend. After about two years of correspondence, J's mom and I decided it was time to introduce our boys. And you would think they were friends forever the way they interact with one another--really great for them both.
As we finish this year, I am grateful yet again for the great strides both boys have made, and find myself, as I often am, raising bars, re-setting expectations, and wondering what to change, and how to change it.
I'm already looking ahead to our track season and working on Nic to get out and start training now. And since he's already training for wrestling, it'll be a much easier sell than previous years. Not that I expect him to be a champ; I just want him to be fit and healthy.
And you have to start somewhere.
Happy New Year.