Archive for the ‘growing up’ Tag

I’m getting older   Leave a comment

I realize this is painfully obvious.  But I just have to say it, to get it out of my system.

I’m — getting —  older!

Parents of young children look to me like they are still in college.  People in college look like they are in high school. People in high school certainly appear to be in middle school.  I’m only on base with children under 10 as far as guessing ages any more.

I look in the mirror.  I see grey hairs.  I see wrinkles.  Sure, I’ve had the wrinkles between my eyebrows ever since I got windburn on my motorcycle trip to Minnesota with Uncle Dwight when I was seventeen, but I have a lot more wrinkles than those now.

Please tell me that I’m not the only person who truly thought she would be exempt from growing old?

Growing up, yes, I saw that coming, but growing old, never.  Intellectually I know people don’t live forever.  But some part of me just seems to assume I will.

In the past, I observed other people’s children growing up, and read obituaries, and noticed those old people over there at the next table.

But now, yep.  I seem to actually be a member of the human race.  Just like those old people over there.  The ones who aren’t really that old.

Speaking of which, when you read the paper,  have you noticed how young many of the couples look who are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversaries?


Posted September 20, 2014 by swanatbagend in reflections

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Missing?   2 comments

It’s Saturday and for the first time since August 24th, I did not talk to Zach today, and I won’t be talking to him today.  We planned to talk every Saturday and we have kept that commitment with the exception of one time it worked better to talk Sunday.

But this Saturday my oldest is incognito as far as communication is concerned.  I can’t reach him by phone, email, fax, text, message, US postal mail. Nor can I talk face to face, for the first time that I can think of.

He’s in another country on a study abroad trip, seeing new sights, having new adventures, and as Dave Barry would say, “learning new words for ‘blood transfusion'” and I’m sure he is enjoying every minute of it.

It’s just one more step down the path of the new era for me.  It’s a fantastic opportunity for him, and I am thankful that he has it, and yet it’s odd that I won’t hear anything from him nor will I be able to reach him for another week or so.

When your children are small, their times away from you are short and prescribed.  You know precisely what they are doing and when they are going to be back.

The notable exception to that would be the time you misplace your child.

Zach took a walk by himself when he was two years old.  I had been outside with him but gone back in to finish dinner, thinking it would only take me a few minutes. When I came back out fifteen minutes later he was nowhere in sight.  It was a December evening and darkness was already starting to come down.  When Greg got home from work a few minutes later, and our neighbor JB heard our situation, the two of them took off down the road two different ways, and I started up the hill, calling for Zach, and berating myself for ever letting him out of my sight.

At the top of the hill, I saw a little red-coated figure bobbing along, accompanied by JB’s dogs.  That was the most relief I think I have ever felt in my life after the longest fifteen minutes of my life.  All at once, everything that had seemed, and for all I knew, been horribly wrong, was made right again.  I knew at that moment, that my child was not a project or activity I kept busy with, but a person who was priceless and could never be replaced, and I knew then just how much his little self meant to me.

I picked him up and hurried back down the hill to let the men know he was all right, telling him I didn’t know where he was and I was so glad he was all right.  I got him back inside, sat him down on the couch, told him please to not go off again by himself like that, and he said, “I sorry. I stay.”

Well, this time I do know generally where he is, but no specifics.  That has to be enough and it is.

He is no longer a small, sweet boy who likes to be outside, looking at bugs, but a large sweet man who likes to be outside looking at bugs.

He has grown up, seems like when I wasn’t looking.  I must have been inside, just for a minute, making dinner…..

Posted December 15, 2013 by swanatbagend in parenting

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8 more days   Leave a comment

In 8 more days, I get to see my boy again.

And no, I’m not counting down.  At least I haven’t been the entire time he’s been gone.  Nope — when I saw that it was three plus months between now and then, I definitely chose not to mess with  my head by counting down.

But now that it’s less than two weeks away I confess that is how my brain works each day when I look at the calendar for the days’ events, usually just to check and see that I’m not missing anything important.

My brain then goes, “10 more days til we see Zach,” or however many more days it is, of its own volition.

This fall has gone well with school, bypassing my traditional “Start of Term Meltdown,” for which all involved are grateful.  At this point I don’t worry that I can’t possibly help the kids learn this year.  So much the better.  We’ve enjoyed fall, the kids are both moving forward with their work, and re-grouping is starting to make sense to Beren.  Helena has archery practice every Monday night, and scouts every other week, and Beren has participated in two STEM classes at the local science center downtown.

So we’ve been busy enough that we haven’t been completely lost without Zach, but almost every day, what Zach does, did, thinks, said or would say, comes up in conversation amongst the four of us.

Just tonight, Beren was putting plates out on the table, and started off, “Mom there aren’t enough–Oh.”  So, we still haven’t fully adjusted to not being five people.

And the closer we get to the first reunion after Zach left for college, the more I think about him.  Even though he is now officially a Pimento Loafed Iguana Man, and not just a Youth-Man-Thingie.  Maybe he’s both.

Anyway, we’ll sure be glad to see him.

Posted November 19, 2013 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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Zach went to college last Saturday   Leave a comment

And when I stay busy I don’t feel it too much, but every time I slow down I start feeling a bit restless and at loose ends.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad he’s there.  He’s taken the next step into the future. He’s doing what he wants to do, and I want him to do what he seems to have been made to do.  This is part of his plan to become an entomologist (although as Greg says, he already is an entomologist, he just needs a degree to prove it). But it just feels a bit strange to be here at home day after day, and for the first time in 18 years, not have him here.

We took him to Ohio State last Saturday, went through their amazingly well-organized move-in process, and got him unpacked and the computer working within a couple of hours of our arrival on campus.  He met his roommates, we found the nearest cafeteria, and were happy to find out that the food is more than decent.  It’s actually quite good!

We did a few other things to help out, such as walking his route to his classes with him on campus, going to the bookstore to pick up orders for two of his classes, getting the bike lock working.  We took the bus south to church on Sunday to walk through how that would work, only to have it not work when the driver ran into a car that stopped in the middle of a right hand turn.  The bus driver became hysterical and we tried to help reassure her, before we set off on down High street, walking, knowing that another bus was not going to come by for half an hour.

So that didn’t turn out how we had planned, but one thing I observed was that Zach stepped up and checked with the people in the car to see if they were all right.  There were a bunch of other students on the bus, but they all stood around talking with each other.  It was Zach and a few adults who addressed the situation.  I was proud of him and glad to see him do what needed to be done.  That actually helped me.  He faced something that didn’t work as planned and stayed cool.

Late Sunday afternoon, after we escaped from a Columbus parking garage that didn’t want to let us go, we went back to his dorm and hugged him goodbye in the lobby, leaving with those final words of advice.  I had thought, all through this process of college exam testing, applications and admissions, that when the moment finally came I would probably just have one good long meltdown in the car as we went home.

That didn’t actually happen, as I was both relieved to be heading home since I was really tired from all the work and walking of the weekend, and confident that we are leaving him in good hands.  The staff and faculty at OSU have already shown a great interest in getting new students acclimated and comfortable.  And as for Zach, he’s in his own capable hands.  He has really matured a great deal in the past couple of years.

Still, for me there are some realizations I’m working through this past week.

He’s the one responsible for his actions and choices and ultimately how his future plays out.  I can’t teach, do, or help now except to be praying.

And, this change for me is both good and bad.  I’m launching a child, a friend, a student I’ve taught for the past 13 years, and hey, I guess I feel like it’s safe to say that I’m doing it “successfully”.  After all he’s going to Ohio State on scholarships, and this is the school that had President Obama as its commencement speaker last spring, so whaddya want?  I’m thrilled that he is moving forward.

But I’m also baffled at the speed at which the last three years flowed over us and baffled that my child has grown up.  I just, truly, don’t comprehend this, can’t yet wrap my mind around it totally, how he’s grown and my life will now be different.

I haven’t freaked out or cried for hours or anything like that.  I miss him most at work and transition points at home when, just two weeks ago, he would have been in my mix.  Going to church without him in the car.  Leaving the house early yesterday and remembering driving him first thing these summer mornings to volunteer.  Washing his towel and putting it away in the cabinet instead of hanging it back up.  Getting up every morning and looking into his empty, clean room.  Those little, goofy points at which it is clear that he’s not home.

So we’ll see how it goes for us, as we adjust here, and as he adjusts there.  I know one thing’s for sure – I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year!

Posted August 25, 2013 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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