Commencement

OnlySon has graduated.

It was a fairly quick ceremony, compared to both of my daughters’, inexplicably, as the class sizes were comparable, but for whatever reason, it went easier. Which was alright with me.

I teared up a couple of times, when they first walked up, realizing that this was my youngest, my baby…and he was now old enough to claim his high school diploma & entry into adulthood…leaving childhood behind.

And when he stood in line to await that diploma, that final walk before he left his mother’s care, and her home, to venture into the wide, wild world as his own man.

A Man in Motion.

He was not to be stopped.

With a grin on his face, he kept going…leaving me to find my own way from here on out.

Happy Thoughts…

Trying to remind myself of the good things that do happen, I decided to make mental notes of small, happy things.

1. My pumpkin patch is growing like mad! I have 1 that’s about the size of a baby’s head right now, & at least one more possible that’s the size of a kiwi…

2. I finally saw a monarch butterfly yesterday! I’ve been wondering where they were this year, with everything I’ve read about the troubles they’ve been having…and I saw one! It gave me a smile, and a happy memory of the kids & me taking care of one a few years ago, then releasing it into the park.

(Sneaky Pete from a few years ago when we released him)

3. I found some new series to watch on Netflix. The Shanarra Chronicles (already hooked on this one, & can’t wait for the next season to come out), Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Penny Dreadful (these last ones I haven’t started yet, so have no other comment).  I finished Gilmore Girls again, and I’m eagerly (rabidly) waiting for the new episodes to start in November!

4. I have a lone daisy growing wild in my yard.  It popped up out of nowhere, it’s small, & not perfect… But, it’s tough, and determined.

5. Onlyson started his senior year today. He is also turning 18 in 2 days! My youngest, my baby, will be registering with Selective Service in just a few days. Oy. Where did the time go? I want to do something nice for this big day, but he’ll be going to his dad’s this weekend, so I won’t see him till Sunday. 

I’m trying to be more mindful, more open to recognizing the happier things that happen from day to day. Some days, it’s easier than others.

Remembering the Fair

It’s fair week in my city, and yes, I went with my Youngerdaughter and Onlyson today. 

It seems as though I have to go to the fair once every couple of years to remind myself why I don’t go to the fair anymore.

I enjoyed wandering around with the kids, talking as we looked at the sales booths, joking about them playing PokemonGo, deciding what we wanted to get to snack on as we meandered our way back out of the fair.

But the rest, I could’ve forgone. I would have been just as happy to pick up snacks & go for a walk in the park. Happier, in fact, to avoid the pressing crowds, the yelling Carneys, the messy walkways in between stalls & down the main pathway of the fair.

It was hot, especially out in the full sun of the midway, which is intensified by the pavement underneath, the heat radiating off the rides, & the up-close-and-personal crowds.

I used to love haunting the fair when I was younger. As a teenager, my friends & I would spend the whole day running around, riding rides, watching enduro car racing, playing games that we knew were rigged, but hoped that maybe the carney would like us enough to let us win, goofing off & running into people we knew.
I’m not a kid anymore. I don’t have any desire to ride the rides, & I don’t have any younger children who want to go on the little kid rides. I have no desire to pay for overpriced, and oftentimes, shoddily made items that will simply sit around, collecting dust, after a week. I really didn’t miss the filthy, awful-smelling bathrooms. And Goddess knows, even though the mini donuts are awesomely good, especially with a strawberry smoothie, if I don’t have them…it’s not the end of the world. 

The $10/person admission for the 2 hours we spent there, plus the extra $25 spent on our snacks (1shaved ice, 1pretzel, 1 small bag of mini donuts & 1 strawberry smoothie) would’ve bought us all supper & ice cream… But whatever.

Chalk this up to an afternoon spent talking to my kids, while the world spun around us. And next year, I think I’ll skip the sunburn and the sweaty hair.

I’ll take them to the park, and we can sit around eating dairy queen while they hunt the ever-elusive MewTwo.

Bittersweet Graduation

Today my middle child graduates from college.

Oof.

21 years I’ve had this lovely girl with me, through all the joys and terrors, we’ve made it to this time and place.

And I don’t have enough of the correct words to express just how proud I am of this lovely young woman.

She has always been the most fiercely independent of my 3 children. And the most focused & determined to achieve her goals. 

She decided in high school that she wanted to be an elementary teacher, & now, 4 years later, she has done it!  She already has a couple of substitute teaching days lined up for next week, & has been looking at job possibilities for next fall.

This darling girl…. er, young lady.  I’ll have to get used to saying “lady” and “woman” when referring to my girl daughter from now on.

That’s going to be tough, especially when she’s always been my “little girl”.

She’s the one who delighted in being the little princess,  while her older sister rocked the “tomboy” moniker.  She’s told me repeatedly over the years, that she’d prefer to be 6 years old, & still my little girl.

The daughter who learned how to run in high heels before she could walk without tripping in sneakers.

The daughter who would load herself up with all the costume jewelry she could find, including her many, many tiaras, when she’d clean her room.  Often, I think, she’d fantasize herself as Cinderella when asked to do household chores.

The daughter who, even today, would prefer to spend the day hanging out with her grandmother, helping her garden, or bake, than just about anything else.

This daughter, this adorable,  ferociously funny, eminently tender-hearted, & tenaciously stubborn woman. She is my miracle girl, having survived at least 3 things that should have ended her life much too soon.  She lived, because she has a special purpose and destiny laid out before her in the coming years, I truly believe that.   Read on, & tell me I’m wrong.

1.  She survived being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck – twice – AND the cord had a granny knot tied in it.

2.  She survived falling out of her crib at the age of 1 & 1/2, landed on her head, & suffered hairline fractures to her skull.

3.  She survived a car crash on black ice, which flipped her car upside down, crushed a good portion of the car, sprayed glass all over, & she got out with just a couple scratches & bruises.  The cops have no idea how she lived, nor how she escaped from the car, & neither does she.

My girl has a busy, but highly effective, guardian angel.

And a purpose she has not, as yet, fulfilled.  I know this, in my bones, & to my core.  She is meant to do & be someone special..

She already IS someone special.

She’s my daughter.

And I have been blessed for 21 years to be her mother.

I’m so proud of you, my darling girl.
Stand straight, look forward, & smile… for today belongs to you.

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A Little Gaga Giggle

OnlySon and I are both enjoying playing Fallout 4.

If you are familiar with the game, you’ll know that there are certain characters you can seek out as companions who will fight with you as you traverse the Wateland.

OnlySon was playing the other night, & had Preston, a certain human companion working with him, and was telling me about the dynamics of all the different companions.

OnlySon- “You know, you can shoot them, over and over, hit them, again and again, and they will never die- and they won’t be mad at you, either.”

Me- “That’s cool, since you often like to destroy everything you see,  including NPCs,”

OnlySon – “Nah, it’s just a Bad Romance”
*snide grin for his music pun*

Me – “Actually, it’s a Rad Bromance”.

*OnlySon knuckle bumps me*

I Don’t Think That’s What They Meant

I’ve always known that reading to my kids was good for them.

Expanding their horizons, showing them different worlds, different people, cultures, ideas, crammed in the pages of a bound book.

And there are books on all sorts of topics for kids now.

Books just for the pleasure of reading an entertaining story, books for education.

There are books for potty-training, for bed-time, for learning to deal with siblings, leaning to cope with the death of a pet, learning how to be better at this or that, for learning everything from alphabets to zydeco music playing.

I know that reading – reading almost anything – broadens anyone’s mind, not just a child’s.

But – the other night, I added a twist.

OnlySon is 16.  And he and I both understand that he’s far more esoterically knowledgeable than most people think.  We talk to each other in a manner most wouldn’t expect a parent to talk to a 16 yr. old.

I talk to him more as I would another adult.  Well, at least, another adult who just so happens to be my 16 yr. old child.  There are still some subjects we both agree are not appropriate, not – ugh – comfortable for either of us.  And our agreement works.

He can handle it – and he respects me for respecting that about him.

So, the other night, I was reading a new book I’d picked up at the book store – Augusten Burrough’s “Magical Thinking”.

It’s a hilarious set of stories about things that have happened to him in his own life.  And he freely admits that he’s “emotionally damaged goods”, so, even while I can feel bad about the fucked up things he’s had to experience growing up, and since, I can laugh along with him as he laughs at himself.

I sat and chuckled, snickered, and gut-busted laughed for 2 hours straight after bringing this home and immediately sitting down to enjoy it.

Of course, OnlySon had to know what was so funny.

So – I read a chapter – out loud – to him.

All about how Augusten had found a “rat/thing” in his bathroom, and proceeded to destroy it, then to go on to practically destroy his bathroom in order to rid himself of the taint of the rat/thing’s infestation of his life.

It’s funnier in the book.

And, after hearing the story, my son proceeded to tell me about a story he’d read – about a man who’d chugged half a soda, only to find a ground up frog in the can…..

The things we do to one another for the sake of a good story. *urp*

Later than night, I was standing in the bathroom, contemplating the meaning of life (brushing my teeth, actually, but close enough), when I heard EldestDaughter downstairs.  The cadence and rhythm of her voice told me she was reading a new story to the ToddlerTornado.

And I was struck by the coincidence, and the slight difference of the subject matter we’d each chosen to read to our sons.

At least… well, leaning out of the bathroom, I was pretty sure my new book was still sitting by my chair.

I don’t think that’s what they meant when the “experts” said “Read to Your Children”.

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