Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve Eve

Well, it's Thanksgiving Eve Eve.  So very much to be thankful for:

A loving God who forgives and loves and leads
My husband who loves so well, works so hard, and give so much
My 3 kids, who make me laugh, make me nutty, make me grow, make me better
Friends who make my life so fun and full and real
A warm, cozy, safe house...a home
All my needs supplied
A life full to the brim of love...both given and received

So much more, there is no way to express my thankfulness fully and completely.  On this Thanksgiving my heart is full, my gratitude deep.  Being thankful, counting your blessings, makes your heart happy.  And so many blessings to count...

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Picture upload experiment underway, thus the irrelevant picture at the top of this post!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thoughts on This Season

I'm learning so much lately about how to be a good parent to my teenage son.  And we are mere months away from sending him off to...Baltimore?  New York?  Seattle?  Eugene?  Tempe?  Wherever we send him, it will not be here.  That's so the way it goes with raising kids.  Just when you think you are getting a handle on a season, the season changes.  

I've always been one to soak up knowledge about parenting...I've sought out the parents of kids I like and asked them lots of questions.  I've surrounded myself with women who are both in my same season and who are a few steps ahead of me.  I watch, I listen, I observe actions way more than I listen to words.  And I've picked up such valuable wisdom along the way.  Why reinvent the wheel, right?  If I see someone getting results that I like, I figure out what they are doing that I could do.  Some of the most valuable lessons have been observing results I don't want, and figuring out how not to emulate that.

I've also prayed a lot, listened to the One who has all the wisdom.  Keeping the Biblical perspective of why I'm doing what I'm doing and what I want in the end has been so integral in sorting out the advice, the instincts, the questions.

The instincts?  Sometimes accurate, sometimes not.  It can be dangerous to let your feelings steer your actions.  That is sure true in parenting.  The gut feeling that is the nudge of The Lord?  Always accurate.  Having discernment for which you are feeling?  A journey.

So here I am, entering the end of one season of parenting and preparing for another.  Some days I could easily weep at the thought of sending him off to the East Coast.  Last night?  I would have driven him to the airport, hugged him tightly, and wished him well navigating his life while he knows it all.  If you've been there, you know.

I know the reality is I will miss him like crazy.  He is a joy in our home (most days).  His energy is both energizing and exhausting to me.  I'll cry buckets of tears when he leaves.  I'll wonder if I did enough.  I'll wonder if I prepared him for all the things I'm responsible for preparing him for.  I'll wonder if I got enough right amongst all the things I got wrong.

The deadlines and due dates and commitments are overwhelming right now.  I'm stressed for him.  I'm helping in the ways I can, but so much of this is on him.  We are past the point of micro-managing.  I have had to bite my tongue (or put chocolate in my mouth) to keep from managing his schedule and making "suggestions" that aren't welcome.  This is a great time to learn to manage his own stuff, in a safe place.  And yet there are so many crucial things that are big deals and can't be overlooked.  So I keep an eye peeled.  I breathe deeply.  I cry.  I pray.  I encourage.  I blow it and vent my frustration.  Then I cry again.  And pray again.  And breathe deeply again.

I've been warned that parenting a senior is not for wimps.  How true that is.  Money here, money there.  Essays here, essays there.   Applications here, applications there.  Auditions here, auditions there.  Ugh.  It's overwhelming.  Cap and gown ordered, tears shed.

And here's what I know for sure:

1.  Teenagers are exhausting.  I remember being exhausted with my little ones, feeling like that 8:00 bedtime was barely reachable.  Not to undermine that kind of tired, this is just a different tired.

2.  Teenagers like to talk late at night.  Their engines rev up right when mine goes into neutral.  It's so hard for me to be engaged late at night, but good connections have been made then.

3.  Teenagers like to be talked to logical and respectfully.  It's good to explain to them that their brains are just not fully developed yet.  They are wired to be more emotional and it's not their fault that the frontal lobe is just not on full throttle.

4.  Teenagers need affecton.  They need assurances.  They need encouragement.  They need forgiveness.

Now I'm typing blindly, becasue my iPad screen will no longer how me the end of the screen.  I'm sure there's a way to fix that, but I'm not too handy with gadgets.  So it's a good place to end....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Technology Allows Me To Update and Prevents Pictures

Oh dear.  Intentions are grand, are they not?  Well, I have had the best of intentions to be better about blogging, but it frankly has been swallowed up in the to-do lists of life.  So now I will resort to a list, mostly to make myself feel as if I'm getting a grip on all the scattered pieces of things I intend to get done.

And I'm doing this blog post right from my iPad, sitting on my couch with my puppy.  Hey, it's a big deal for me!  One reason blogging has become so difficult is the access to my computer.  Two of the three munckins are computer-dependent for homework.  And it is a little shallow to ban them from doing there homework so I can blog.  And by the time they are done and I can use the computer, I'm just too tired.

Yesterday, my favorite son told me he was going to give me my Christmas present early, and that I would understand why when I opened it.  This evening, he gave me my present...wrapped in Safeway bags, as is becoming his signature wrapping.  And the present is the coolest iPad case that has a keyboard attached.  I didn't even know this existed, but it does and it is so fun!  It turns my iPad into a little laptop!  He said that now I can blog without waiting for the computer!  After I hugged him and assured him of his ongoing status of my favorite son, I told him he could have saved this for Christmas.  His response, "Well, then you wouldn't have been able to help me with my college essays as easily.  Christmas would be too late for that."  Ah-ha.  Truth revealed.  Well, whatever.  I love his thoughtfulness and generosity.

So much has been happening:

1. Brenna ran an outrageous District meet, helping her team qualify for State!  The little miss dazzled us this season, running varsity the entire season.  The team took 14th at State, with their top runner taking 4th place!  Brenna also was given the Freshman Award at the banquet, given to an outside freshman who is "one to watch".  Yep, agreed.  Yet again, that girl has proven that a strong work ethic can take you far!

2.  Beth had her 12th Birthday!  I can hardly swallow the fact that my BABY is 12 years old!  One more year of a pre-teenager.  What a blessing this girl's life is.  I'm so thankful for her and her life.  The birthday itself was a FUN event.  We had her party at one of the gymnastics centers in town, and it was one of the best parties we've had.  Those girls hopped, jumped, flipped, twirled and bounced themselves silly for two and a half hours.  They were red-faced and sweaty and thoroughly worn out when we were done.  Even Beth admitted to being worn out on the way home.  And that girl does not wear out easily.

3.  We had our cheer banquet to officially end the season!  It was a great evening of celebrating 3 months of hard work (and fun) for the girls.  I cried, of course.  It's really amazing to watch these girls turning into young ladies.  Some of them have been with me for the last 5 years, and I am so blessed to be a part of their lives.

4.  Alex had the opportunity to perform his Mozart bassoon solo at the Washington Center.  It was chill-bump amazing.  So proud of his accomplishments, and it is fun to watch the upcoming opportunities begin to play out.

5.  Sweet Lucy continues to keep us laughing and on our toes.  She is such a good puppy, and we are all completely smitten with her.  She had her big spay surgery on Friday, so the current challenge is to keep her from being too keyed-up while her belly heals.  This is an 18-pound pup that can chew threw steel mesh to escape her crate and jump our short fence to get over to visit the neighbors.  She is smart as can be, and we are working to use that intelligence for good and not evil.

6.  I have a kindergarten friend who is quite the ladies man.  Holding hands with one girl for  about a week, and then switching to another this last week.  On  Wednesday, they walked up to me at recess, holding hands, and announced that they were getting married someday. "wow!"  The little lady announced that "J" was going to change all the diapers.  "Oh!"  "J" said that was because she was the one who had to "have her stomach cut off to have the baby, so I'll do the diapers." Now that's some advance planning.  The next day, they came walking up to me, holding hands, and "J" said, with a big smile on his face, "Hey Mrs. Caw-son, do you know a good place around here that we could hide to practice kissing?"  I thanked "J" profusely for asking me first, then had alittle conversation about not kissing at school. Love those little ones so much.