Our time will come one day, because though the boy is literally on his own at school, he’s tethered to us in more than one way. For example, we’re paying his phone bill and his Netflix account. When those things finally become his sole responsibility, we’ll know there’s been a sea change in our home.
Until then, we reserve the right to be parents and I though he’s acting pretty cool about it, I think he’s happy for someone to call when he’s out of money.
His primary task right now is to study hard, get good grades and get his degree. He’s at a school that allows him to pursue the single passion that he’s had since he was a toddler – airplanes. Yes, he’s at school to learn how to fly, how cool is that? Most of his friends think so too, but there’s that other thing called studying . . . the boy claims he’s studied more this semester than he did in all his high school career. To which the husband quipped, “That’s kind of a low bar . . . ”
We love each other around here, we really do.
And you know what? It’s cold up there . . . and it snows a lot up there.
Last month he had a landmark event. He flew the airplane by himself, his first solo. It’s a big deal in the pilot world, so the husband flew up there at the very last minute to be there for the event. He took these photos for me, because I wanted to see of course!
One day, I’ll bore you with the details of the long, drawn out process of choosing the right school but in retrospect, we made the right decision. He loves it and has adjusted swimmingly – I couldn’t ask for more. Of course, had he not liked it, getting him home for weekends would have been an issue. He’s far, far away.
So he’s pursuing his passion and yet, he’s finding that it’s a lot of work. As parents, we don’t think that’s a bad thing. We spoke to him last night and asked him about his grades. He turned to his friend, who just happened to be in his dorm room, and said, “That’s what happens when you have Asian parents.”
He’s a crack up, especially since the husband is of German descent. I think he took exception to that comment! We had the bad taste to laugh hysterically. I hope no one is offended by that.
He said he was nervous when the instructor got out of the airplane and said, “Good luck!” Once he was able to taxi on his own, he said it was like having his instructor with him. He’s such a brave boy!I was listening to his radio calls on my phone in my office . Technology is a wonderful thing. Jackie-girl was with me and said asked if I was nervous. I frankly wasn’t until she asked me:) Speaking of nervousness, some of his friends came to the observation desk to watch too, they claimed they were nervous for him. What nice boys.
The husband was texting me updates so I felt like I was right there. It was an exciting time for all of us, can you tell?
I’m so proud of him!
For her birthday, we gave her a bucket.
In actuality, I bought it to replace her other spray bottle that had a stuck nozzle. I’m the best mom ever!
I obviously know nothing about such things. We exchanged it, no problem.
Another fantastic weapon/horse sprayer! It’s linament for Ella’s legs. A few years ago she almost died crashing through a barbed wire fence. Her leg was split open to the bone and is healed nicely now but apparently Miss Tina couldn’t sleep for weeks with worry. Now we (using the term “we” loosely here) spray her leg regularly with linament, or a stronger horse version of Bengay.
I love the smell of Bengay by the way. Someone should make a Bengay candle scent.
And another Barn Mom tip – don’t get linament in your eye. It hurts.
If you are wondering if she got anything other than horse stuff for her birthday – well, there may have been cash in there somewhere. AND – she passed her driver’s test that day. The first place she went to on her very own?
The farm. That’s my girl!
Over the last couple of weeks he’s been under a little bit of pressure with school – midterms and all. I know it can seem overwhelming at times but like I said to a colleague and friend who just so happens to have a PhD in psychology, “I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”
He told me that the boy was undergoing eustress, which I pictured spelled You Stress. It’s supposedly a “good” type of stress, and it’s a positive cognitive response to stress that is healthy. It supposedly can give an individual a competitive edge if channeled correctly.
That’s what I’ll tell him when he gets home. I’m sure he’ll appreciate the explanation. Or he can just be glad to be home and take a break.
It will also be the first time he’ll meet Ella the dog. He’s been really looking forward to seeing her and I’m so glad there will be another person to play with her. She tires me out that one.
I’ve got quite a weekend lined up for myself, so perhaps I’m undergoing a little bit of eustress as well. However, I’m not the one who is going to take her SATs this Saturday, yes, the girl is also undergoing eustress.
I guess we’re all under some kind of stress or other but that’s not a bad thing. Or in other words, “It’s all good.”
The photo above is of China town and I snapped it because I loved the dual language signs. It’s just an explanation as it has nothing whatsoever to do with this post:)
He was home for Thanksgiving and after a late night out, he came into my bedroom to tell me about his night, a silly story about bonfires and I don’t even remember the rest.
Even though he’s so far away, I’m at peace knowing that he’s doing well in school, and by all accounts, he actually likes school which I can safely say is a first – ever.
We touched base with him on President’s Day to see if he had class, his school really doesn’t have a lot of days off. He said he was sick and that he couldn’t do much. I worried when he said he had a sore throat and could barely talk. A mom only thinks of one thing when she hears that – strep throat. Right? I can’t be the only one.
Among some other communication about symptoms, how he was sent home from class, and that some of other boys, including his roommate, were also sick I told him I wish I could make him soup.
He said, “Me too. Kind of missing home a lot right now I don’t like being sick up here”
My heart – oh my heart. Why did he go to school so far away again?
So in sympathy, I became sick as well. It started yesterday and last night I counted the minutes long into the night. I heard every drip drip drip of the running bathroom shower head. And every single gust of wind through the rafters.
At midnight I started to count sheep. That never works by the way. The funny thing is this – if I engage in conversation with God on those nights, He will most times give me clarity but He won’t help me sleep . . . must be a reason only He knows.
At 3 AM I turned over and looked at the clock and thought, “OK, all I need is three hours of sleep if I fall asleep right now.”
Not so much.
At 6 AM I called in sick to work – and just in case, I got a substitute to teach my yoga class the next morning.
I got up with the girl for school and amidst a pounding head and a gray veil over my vision I said, “Have a nice day!” and promptly fell dramatically on the couch.
After I woke up this afternoon from restless sleep, I text the boy to see how he was doing. He said, “Better . . . thanks for checking up.”
And you know what? I’m better too . . . funny how that happens:)
We didn’t have a show last weekend but I wanted to post this photo because though the girl was gone, the weekend was still all about her. Her last show was a few weekends ago and I still have to post about it but in a nutshell – the results weren’t what we hoped they would be.
We also brought this pooch with us because it was an all day event and we didn’t trust her alone all day. We don’t trust easily but it’s not that we have trust issues, it’s just that she’s not quite up to speed yet on what she’s allowed and not allowed to do.
But she’s catching on – thanks to a small tool called a shock collar.
Hey, we would shock our kids too if we had to . . .
We brought her so that we can keep one eye on her and one eye on the girl while she rides. It’s quite a feat I tell ya.
Last weekend, the girl went on a ski trip with her youth group. The husband and I wanted to go away for the weekend to enjoy a few days off by ourselves. I felt like flying somewhere warm and sunny – with a pool – and dolphins.
But then we realized we had a crutch called Ella the Dog. And a cat. And another dog. And then my mother fell ill again and I became distracted and worried. Coupled with the fact that we went on an unexpected trip to the tundra to see the boy at school a couple of weekends ago and – well, you get the point. It’s just life.
So I felt like I needed a drink. We went to a newly remodeled restaurant located down the street on last Friday night. The owner, Sal, is one of those people who you just want to hug; he’s a teddy bear. He gave his restaurant a facelift so the husband and I decided not to go to a fancy restaurant at the National Harbor as planned, but instead we went to Sal’s fancy place located five minutes away.
We sat down at the bar and lo and behold, one of the County Commissioners and his family was sitting next to the husband. He and I know each other as acquaintances and for the rest of the night we had engaging conversation -
- His wife is from the same small town in Indiana as the husband.
- We spoke of when the County Commissioner was running for office a couple of years ago and came to the house to campaign. I gave him a piece of my mind about an issue on which he and I disagreed. We laugh about it now but he still remembers. (I think he knows I didn’t vote for him:) I can say it now, it was two years ago – and he won anyway.
- And we talked about the weather.
It was quite fun and I’m glad we didn’t go to the other fancy place.
Meanwhile I was getting texts with photos of the girl – not from the girl of course, but from people who knew that I had a disagreement with the girl about wearing a helmet while snowboarding. I threatened her – and she rolled her eyes. I watched the bus with the kids roll away and I still wasn’t sure if she was going to rent a helmet.
Then I got this photo -
I’m glad she’s coming out of her shell. I thought she was going to win because she can eat spicy food like no one’s business but she came in second because she couldn’t use her hands and she’s a lot more dainty than the boys.
I know this is a long story but it feels good to finally just chat. And I’m on my fourth cup of coffee.
Time to switch to decaf.
The point of this entire post is this – the girl snowboarded with a helmet!
This started and ended with points and subject eons apart – but thanks for listening . . . I don’t know when we’ll have time to chat like this again . . .
For example, when my parents put Tuk Tuk on their counter we thought it was so cute. I mean look at him . . .
So then I start thinking – maybe we’re (by “we” I mean the husband and I, excluding our kids who have a different mindset all together) a little tooooo, constricted – unyielding – anal, about some (most) things when it comes to our household (children and animals).
What am I talking about? Well, I’m talking about the latest thing that is bugging me -
And that is – the fact that the boy has been at school for two weeks and has not had time to talk to his parents. What I mean is – the boy hasn’t had time to speak to his parents, you know, the ones who are paying for his education.
In his defense, he’s busy – really busy – I understand. Many of his friends and kids his age are not yet at school – as a matter of fact, I ran into a former LCAT today and asked how school was going and she said she’s still on break. The boy’s been gone two weeks – I thought everyone was back at school but apparently not.
This is a long post – I can feel it.
So I asked him if he could do a little Face Time with us and he said he was too busy.
What a good boy.
Why not – it’s not our house.
When he answered his phone there was another boy in the background who waved to me – I said, “Oh hi!” Apparently it’s not going to be a private conversation. As a matter of fact, it seems that there’s always a friend or two in picture (literally) when we speak -
But maybe he can find a corner to talk to us like he used to – about his future, life, fears, and aspirations.
He’s so independent now. When did that happen?
Oh – when he went to school 1500 miles away last August. Yes, I think so . . .
By the way – the cat has been crawling all over our counters ever since this incident. You know how it goes – give an inch and they take a yard:)
I know you miss them . . .
This is for you . . .
There’s nothing better than having a vision set upon us so far out that we envision the end and look forward to and working for that day. To make that vision come to fruition means that the goal has to be set with intentionality – with purpose. It makes the victory at the end of it so much sweeter.
The rocky road to the end – well, that’s another story all together. I’ve alluded to the obstacles on this blog once – or twice.
So many emotions overcome me when I look at the photo above. The young man in the center of my two offspring was their Youth Pastor, Mark. Pastor Mark moved to Honduras this week, yesterday to be exact. He carries with him a vision from a big organization, and for an even bigger God, but what he leaves behind is what is most pertinent to my family in the here and now.
Pastor Mark is one of those guys, the one with the big heart, the big brain, the grand vision and he uses it not for his own good but for the good of others and of God. It’s the true definition of unselfishness, one that makes me well up each time. Pastor Mark’s influence on the boy began when the boy was very young. He was ten years old when Mark first came into his life, and he immediately became a hero to the boy. What’s even more cool is that Mark’s a pilot, raising his stature in the boy’s mind considerably.
Parents like us know how hard it is to raise children today. I’ve met with Mark countless times for advice on how to parent, even before he became a parent. He will listen carefully and his advice is always sound, always wise, and always practical – even down to which college the boy will attend. At the end of each conversation, Mark would ask, “Do you want me to talk to him?”
Sometimes I would say no but other times when I’m at the end of my rope I would squeak “yes, please.”
What makes Pastor Mark’s contribution to our family’s lives so valuable is that he is in our corner. He is one of the good guys. He becomes the example for our children, and for my boy in particular.
Pastor Mark is also a prankster. On the day we had the earthquake here in Washington DC (how weird is that?) Mark happened to be over to ask the boy to lunch when the earthquake hit us. I literally thought it was a prank the boy and Mark were perpetrating on me. Silly – the earthquake was real. By the way, he stood under the door jam with us.
I don’t know what it would have been like without Pastor Mark’s presence in our lives, but I do know what it was like with him, and for that I’m grateful. I like to think there are many talented youth pastors out there, with great leadership and managerial skills and can build excellent program just like the one Pastor Mark built for our church, but it’s the person that Mark is that is so special – particularly to the boy. It is for that reason I’m sad he’s gone – but happy he was here at exactly the right time.
Mark’s influence not only saves kids but saves the families of those kids. That’s a legacy that’s real.
I’ll miss him around the office for his youthful and mature leadership.
Godspeed Pastor Mark, his lovely wife Tracy and beautiful family. Follow them on their blog from Honduras. I will be.
Back in September when I traveled to the boy’s school for Parents’ Weekend, I walked into his dorm room not expecting much cleanliness. After all, it’s two boys sharing a 6×3 foot space. Not quite – but almost.
Through the boy’s high school years, the two things we seemed to argue about the most were grades, and the state of messiness of his room. I know I’m not alone in this parents – tell me I’m not alone in this . . .
There are personality traits that controls one’s actions subconsciously and upon arriving at the dorm room, I started straightening out his clothes and snacks. I didn’t realize I was doing it. It’s an involuntary behavior. The boy ignored me – as he often does when it comes to things like this, but his roommate got out of his chair and started shoving clothes into his dressers and putting his shoes in a line. I suppose I was making him feel self-conscious about the state of their dorm room and his role in it. It was then that I realized that I had to dial myself back a little, I was only going to be there 48 hours – it’s not the proper setting to parent in that manner. And the room wasn’t even that bad!
Here the boy is making a grilled cheese sandwich.
When he came home last week, the husband and I decided that we were going to let him do whatever he wanted and that we weren’t going to place a lot of commitments and curfews on him. He is after all, a co-ed now.
As it turns out, he spent a lot of time with his friend-who-is-a-girl and his other high school friends but not an exorbitant amount. If he went out, he came back early. He played hockey one morning and the rest of the time, he spent with us.
We were grateful.
We watched movies and went out to dinner and the time went too quickly. Our other son, LCAT Daniel, came for a visit and stayed the night. It was wonderful to see him. We went to see the movie, Lincoln – oh you should go. It’s a fantastic movie.
Yesterday evening I watched him disappear into the security line and I was once again – sad. He said, “Thanks for having me,” like he was polite visitor to the family. I was struck by how fast time flies but somehow comforted in knowing he’ll be back in three weeks time again for Christmas break.
I have quite a few things to take care of at work the next few weeks so I’ll be busy. I will however, find time to post some photos on my little part of the Internet.
In case you were wondering . . . yes, we’ve had another horse meet. In between Hurricane Sandy’s raindrops, the election, Halloween and trying to find a pair of socks that match, I don’t have much time to blog.
But blog I must – because if I don’t write about it, it didn’t happen.
It’s just so odd.
I took a little nap once I got to the farm and I woke up in panic and confusion (not really) when I didn’t see anyone around. I ran into the barn and lo and behold, the girl was in the ring. I knew it! Drats. I asked one of the girls how she was doing. She replied quite loudly, “She’s doing fine for only having ridden twice in the last two weeks!” I hung my head and stooped a little lower…
The girl’s been AWOL from the farm because of field hockey. There’s a period of overlap every year and it’s exhausting I tell ya. Now that field hockey is over, she’ll be back to riding on a regular basis again. As her driver, I say, yay for me . . .
And I think Miss Tina is the best trainer in the county – no, the state. She’s always honest with me. For example, after the girl’s first class, I asked Miss Tina what she thought of the girl’s performance.
She said, “She took a winning ride and then she trashed it.”
I can take honesty, I really can. I didn’t say anything to the girl though. She’s the sensitive one. Actually that’s not the truth – she’s not phased by anything so I told her. She just smiled.
By the way, Miss Tina was right. She didn’t place in that class.
So now we settle into the horse season . . . brrrrr….