Stop the Ride

Younger graduates next Thursday.

We finally received his graduation announcements Tuesday. So, I guess we have to decide if we will hand those out the day of the actual ceremony or save them for the party.

Missouri S & T expects Younger to prove he’s actually received his immunizations. But I can’t remember the name of the medical group we visited during his first year and apparently, only some physicians submit immunization records to the state database.

We received an email that Younger had to complete more forms and watch more videos for his summer job or his funding might be DELAYED. We have until tomorrow at noon. They sent the email yesterday. And he has finals this week.

I am grading essays from four college composition classes while preparing Blackboard for my summer classes. And I’m working a couple days a week at the local army installation.

Meanwhile, rain is in the forecast next Thursday. And, if it rains that Thursday night, we’ll get six tickets to somehow distribute between grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. And three of the six tickets are for us — me, my husband, and Elder. I’m not good at math, but this does not appear to be adding up.

And I am realizing that I really can’t dig my heels into the ground and stop the world from spinning, so that next Thursday never comes.

Someone should have installed a set of brakes on this ride we call life.

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Honestly

Younger was sick and missed school on Monday. So, on Tuesday, as we drove to school, I told him, “Since you only have two weeks left, you should probably not miss any more days.”

“Wait. What?” His head turned towards me. “When is my last day?”

“Next Friday,” I responded, drily. “Less than two weeks.”

As odd as it sounds, considering he has always been in a hurry to finish each school year, he has never counted down the last few days. He always liked “to be surprised.”

“Oh.” He considered my information for a moment. “Then I should be studying for my statistics final.”

“Younger,” I chided, exasperated. “I have been telling you that you only have a few weeks left. Why is this a surprise?”

“I was ignoring you.”

Well.

At least he’s honest.

Maybe not the genius he claims to be.

But honest.

This Is the Life

This summer, Younger will work a forty-hour-a-week job. So far he has asked:

“Do I have to talk to people?”

“Can I wear shorts?”

“But it’ll be hot, why would I want to wear jeans?” (He’ll be in an air-conditioned office.)

“I have to be there at what time? And for how long?”

This is the life he has been awaiting since kindergarten.

“College,” he corrects me when I remind him of that fact. “I’ve been waiting for college.”

Well.

Now, I have a few questions . . .

Never Easy

A few days ago, Younger and I were sitting in the car in his high school’s parking lot when I smiled slightly, sadly, and said, “You’re almost done with this place, Younger.”

He was quiet for a long moment, staring at the brick building stretched before us. “It’s a lot sadder than I thought it would be.”

Yeah, I know.

I think we all want easy. Easy to love or easy to hate. Easy to keep or easy to discard. Easy to stay or easy to leave.

But most things have both sides. And we tend to focus on one until the other is the only side showing.

Then we know, really know, that nothing is ever easy.

Growing up is hard.

For all of us.

Book Smarts

Today was the first day of classes and after teaching five college classes in one day, I am absolutely exhausted, so I am sharing an old story from 2000 when Elder would have been four years old . . .

I have been reading a book in which the author states that after each disciplinary action, you should discuss with the child his misbehavior and your response.  Common sense, right?  I had actually already made a habit of such talks, although I decided I could probably do better.  So, the other day, Elder misbehaved – I can’t even remember what – and I had to scold him.  It wasn’t anything of any major importance – he didn’t even get sent to his room.  But I thought I should follow the verbal reprimand with an explanation.  Right?  So, I finished my scold with, “And do you want to know why?” only actually pausing for a breath, not an answer.  But before I could continue, Elder, who had patiently listened to the reprimand, barely glanced in my direction, and in a voice of absolute indifference, said, “No,” and walked away, leaving me staring then blinking and deflating slowly.

I guess I need to read the book to Elder?

Listen and Learn

Today, I am in the midst of grading final essays, which does not always positively impact my humor. So, I thought I would share an old story from 2000, when even at four years old, Elder knew one of life’s simple truths . . .

Last Wednesday, Dad dropped Mom off at the office, so she was with me when I picked the boys up from the babysitter.  On the short drive home, Elder was explaining something to his Mama — I didn’t even know what it was at the time.  But whatever it was, he apparently didn’t believe he was receiving the attention the matter warranted because he told her, very firmly, “Listen, Mama.  If you don’t listen, then you’ll never learn.”

. . . And of course, Elder has always believed we should be listening to him to do our learning.

What is painful is when he is right.

Y Chromosomes

Yesterday, as I was working diligently in the kitchen, I requested Younger help brown the hamburger.

“Are you asking because you need help? Or because you want me to learn?” he asked suspiciously.

Rolling my eyes, I latched the can opener onto another can. “I would appreciate the help, and you should appreciate the learning.”

“We are listening to my comedians,” he told me, as he reluctantly straightened from his slouch on the sofa and onto his feet.

“Why do you and your father believe you need either incentives or rewards for participating in the cooking of your own dinner?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged then offered, “Y chromosome?”

“I don’t know why chromosomes, either,” I replied, dryly.

“See, Mom,” he responded, shuffling into the room. “We all have two chromosomes –”

“I understand about the Y and X chromosome, Younger,” I interrupted, now with an edge.  Then I pointed over my shoulder at the pan on the stove behind me. “Brown the hamburger.”

“Well, Mom, some of the kids at school don’t know about chromosomes, and they just learned about it. It would have been a long time ago for you.”

So, Younger was the only one of my three males who didn’t feel it necessary to explain everything to me.

And, apparently, I’m old.

It was a rough day.