#funny, #God's redemption, High School Seniors, momfails, motherhood, parenting, Parenting boys, parents love, Perseverance, Survival

To Moms of 231-Month Olds

The Holidays are over and so is the temporary reunion with my college freshman. What a joy to have him in the nest, to greet first thing in the morning at noon when he awakens and to see little love notes in the form of Taco Bell wrappers regurgitated from our dogs. I am struck now as I mail off the forgotten items today how similar my 231-month-old is to his former 12-month-old self.

1. First: Food

His palette is ever-changing. Remember how she wolfed down carrots and got an orange nose one day and hated tubers the next?  This scenario repeats itself 18 years later after you spent $200 on food craved a mere semester ago. Cue whispers of overheard cell phone comments like, “Yea, there’s nothing to eat in the house.”  This Summer I’ll just buy $3,000 in Whataburger Cards. Family food selectors are left to read the non-verbal indicators such as rotting bananas and a half-eaten dunkin’ stick left for dead in the pantry. Look sharp because gnawed-on treats in cellophane sleeping bags are the only clue comin’ your way,  Little Debbie.

2. Second: Shared Space

Surprise!!! Your house is no longer your own. I remember wondering how my home became a yard sale of Little Tykes molded plastic gardens and work benches.  Overnight. Now the living room is all “Call of Duty” couch-compounds and ghosts of Mountain Dew benders past. So, besides extra trips to the grocery and that little commitment called your job, you have to keep the house photo-ready so your kid’s Snapchat background doesn’t look like Syria.  Sure, it has been liberating cleaning house in a jog bra and fat pants since August but, trust me, you’ll want to cover  up lest your girthy mid-section headline in her own hellish Snap Chat Story.

3. Bad ideas are still contagious.

Even before little ones verbally communicate, you know that two unsupervised toddlers together spell trouble. Just a few:

“Let’s climb the refrigerator!”

“Let’s play beauty shop with real scissors”

“The fish wanted to live in the potty”

Now that young adults are eh hemm..self-supervising, it goes something like this: (and oh so very much worse)
“I bet you can’t jump that refrigerator”

“I cut hair all the time!”

“This is a crazy You Tube- Goldie’s new bowl”
4. And most of all: They still require prayer

I remember praying constantly for my two. Jack’s delivery was too quick to squeeze the fluid from his lungs so he began life in the NICU. Once home, sister tried to feed him a cookie. Then in a few weeks he was hospitalized for RSV. Those were super fun prayer prompters.

I prayed so earnestly for my children before they were born and certainly after. Even now my favorite time of the day remains the wee hours of the morning when I meditate on God’s Word. I love to just breathe, be and pray-lax in His love.

I pray for his continued work ethic and personal safety. Of course I still pray that he will “Make good decisions!” As I used to yell as he walked down the driveway and took off into his 2002 Ford F-250.

I am incredibly grateful that a college education was important to my parents and that they found a way through hard work and sacrifice to send the three of us away to school. It proved a key season for becoming my grown-up self. What a uniquely precious experience of going away and becoming your own person by making all those decisions- good and bad- yourself.

It was a blast to have Jack home and scream-sing certain original ear worms which John has forbidden. (deleted Zimbabwe praise song, you know who you are.) I even watched my son play video games just to hang out. What a blessed few weeks for him to check in, recalibrate and remember why home is such a safe place to fall. As exciting as the launch is, it certainly is nice when they return home. If only for a visit.

High School Graduation, High School Seniors, Teaching, Uncategorized

Teacher Love

In April when my girl-mom friend Lisa told me the graduation announcements had been delivered, I got that boy-mom gut-panic feelin’ again. Considering the fact that one has to possess the translation skills of a CIA operative to decode snippets of messages from a male 18-year-old child, I am not sure why this continues to startle me.

For whatever reason last November I saved the yellow portion of the Josten’s triplicate receipt and sent the check and form order to school with Jack. After mining snipets of information from Jack’s text messages and a second clarifying phone call to Lisa, the coin finally dropped. The upshod: “When the lady was there delivering the graduation boxes (in April) I told her I probably had the order form in my back pack (from November) but she said it was too late.” Parenthetical details, mine. Bottom line was we had no graduation announcements.

I immediately called the Josten’s office here. I went on line and sent an email. I was frantic. Announcements are important but I was most fearful that we’d missed the window for ordering a commencement cap & gown. I Googled Party City + graduate costume just in case we had to go that route. I am not even kidding. The next day I received a call from the rep who confirmed that it was indeed too late to order custom announcements. He slipped in anecdotally that the only calls he receives between April and Graduation is from boy moms. He added that our school, to my relief, handles the caps and gowns.

I was upset because I struggle under the onerous misconception that everything matters equally. I feel like I am missing out when I fail to send a check for a fundraiser, T-shirt supporting some great cause or miss the chance to purchase a Class of 2017 ANYTHING. There is a little thing in my mind which taunts me with the thought of missing out. Even in my acute disorganization, I see every picture order form as a must, each senior moment as important and obsess because he is not prone to asking classmates to sign his yearbook. Jack never worries about missing out. On. Anything. So why would he worry if the Josten’s order form was caught up somewhere between the third Heaven and the organizational Hades of his F-250 cab?

Amazed at the need for the reminder, this maternal question accosted my teflon soul: “If he doesn’t care, WHY SHOULD I?” I have struggled to teach my son the virtue of useless anxiety but it simply refuses to take with that one. Aughhhh!  So after 12 hours of panic the solution was to merely go on line and select a graduation announcement. After looking on a few sites, I quickly found the card I liked. The graduation announcement had approximately 40 places for pictures and since this isn’t a People Magazine spread, I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have dedicated their lives to the teaching profession.

I asked Jack who his all-time favorite teachers were. He had to really think about this. This is the list of the best of the best: Ms. Davis (Kindergarten & 1st Grade, Lakeview El in Trophy Club, TX) Ms. Ashcraft (3rd & 5th, FBCS Shreveport, LA) Mr Walker (8th Grade History, CMM Shreveport) Ms Vigen (AP English 11th / 12th Loyola) and Mr. Vaughan (11th / 12th some advanced AP Science and they grow crazy 10-pound cabbages & stuff)

So I loaded up pictures of the “GOATS,” (greatest of all time) and in doing so felt so thankful for these men and women as well as for all teachers who have pulled out the best in my child. Ms. Davis who helped teach Jack to read when he was 5 made it possible for him to have Ms. Vigen in A.P. English Junior Year over a decade later. Ms. Ashcraft’s prayers, kindness and love for God’s Word earned her the moniker “My Rabbi,” from Jack. Mr. Walker’s love for History and no-nonsense ways readied him for the rigors of classes to come. Mr. Vaughan and Ms. Vigen both slogged through the onerous Texas Tech Honors College recommendation forms without which Jack would not be able to be a part of that program next year.

I am truly proud of my son. He has worked really hard and done well. I could not have gotten into, much less through his high school. I broke out in cold sweats at every back-to-school night when I saw everything each class would require. Thank God for genetic drift. Along with admiration for him, though, I hold a deep respect for those in the teaching profession. Those who are asked to compensate for the kids with no family support and be helicopter-parent swatters for the over-involved matriarchs. Educators are by and large patient souls who eat from a brown bag in under 22 minutes, see our children at their best and worst and in many cases still manage to impart a love of learning (or at least academic survival skills to carry them to next year’s challenges.)

Teachers: I love you people. You have made your life’s work inspiring kids not only to take tests but to learn to think. Like Lego architects, you build upon the work done before by last year’s engineers, identify vulnerable gaps and help children construct vital bridges of understanding. Here’s to you, teachers, you routinely buy paper and pencils for kids without physical supplies and often encourage those kids without emotional tools for life. You are increasingly being called upon to perform the job of referee, mentor, life coach and parent for those in your charge. It is an awesome responsibility.

Jack is beyond blessed to have learned under all the teachers in his K-12 adventure. Not every year was perfect, not every teacher was perfect but neither is any parent or child. I am just so grateful for the world of educators and I just had to stop by and tell you so. We celebrate our children at graduation and they never would have gotten to the finish line without you. Thank you.

As you reflect upon your life, reader, who are your GOATS?