La Petite scared Chuck one day when she said she had a "case of the babies" coming on. I laughed out loud at his expression. Call it what you will: monthlies, Aunt Flo, That Time of the Month, or other euphemistic name. I knew what she meant.
It was a term she picked up from her college friends, and it actually makes sense. The phenomenon is a function of the reproductive system, after all.
The guys in their peer group learned to be cautious when all the girls were wearing sweats and looking grumpy. Ah, some real life learning outside of classes: how to understand women. If their gal pals all have a case of "the babies," the guys have learned to treat them with TLC. It'll make them good husbands some day, really.
Recently, I remembered why I preferred a family doctor to an OB/GYN. The latter tends to have an unpredictable schedule because of their own cases of babies: delivering them! And then it takes a special and post-baby effort to convince the nurses that yes, my appointment is important, baby-making age or not.
My own "babies" are ages 23 and 18. the only case of the babies we'll deal with around our house is the potential for grandbabies or our adorable little niece. She is a sweetie, isn't she? Now that's a good case of the babies.
It really is that season- of reading all about graduations. Last week was Abe's graduation. He is supposed to get a diploma from the city that we live in, and they had their graduation a few weeks ago, but this one, from his boarding school for the last 2 years, is the one that means the most to him, and to all of us.
The ceremony itself was short and sweet; it was finished in under an hour. Abe was first in line coming in and first to get his diploma (alphabetically). He was also recognized as being one of the few to make it to the highest, most independent level. Actually, I was the one who pushed for this level to be instituted based on Abe's internship.
The speeches both from the 3 graduates that talked and the staff included acknowledgement of all the hard work that the parents put in, also. Being an advocate for a special needs child is not an easy task.
All the staff will miss him but they all agreed that this past year he has made tremendous gains and really is ready to take on the challenges of a small college. A larger school might still overwhelm him, but he is starting out at a community college and living at home- so that I can still give him lots of guidance.
Even while other graduates were shucking their cap and gown, Abe retained his; he was so proud of being able to wear it!. Family and friends came from near and far to mark this day.
His grandmother came from California...
His grandfather came from Maryland...
And family and friends came from Minnesota and western Mass. and close to us in Newton.
But the day wasn't over yet. Now for the sadness. 13 months ago Abe and Rosie's dad died. So with all the family gathered together, and with the additional of even more local friends, we went to the cemetary for the unveiling, the dedication of the tombstone. It was a very emotional moment for both of the kids, but for me, it was just another task checked off. I don't hate him anymore and I can remember a lot of the good times, but I don't feel any emotional connection there.
But then it was back to celebrating for Abe and back to the condo and more food and more people dropping by.
Then it was time for Rosie to get back to camp (another long story) and us to start packing for our vacation.
This week is one of changes in our household. It gets upended from 2 different directions (does that mean it stays level?)
This week is also one of accomplishment.
Abe is graduating high school!!! And he'll be going to college.
And Rosie will have cleaned up all her stuff all over the place (by force if necessary).
I'm very proud of Abe. Especially in the last year, he has developed a sense of equilibrium to deal with situations, either common everyday or unexpected like last week's car incident. (BTW- it wasn't a disaster in terms of money to fix!)
After two years of living at boarding school, Abe is moving back into the house full time.
At the same time, Rosie is off for 2 months of camp. Except for some other scheduling problems associated with both of these occurences happening at the same time, I'm actually glad that they are at the same time. It will give Abe some time to settle in to living at home again.
Of course, he's not going to be home for long since he and I, and one set of aunt & uncle & cousins & his grandfather are all going on vacation together (for a week) the evening after graduation. Rosie will be back at camp, as she declined to go with us.
a Yiddish expression (anglicized for our viewing audience) that means
extreme joy/pride in one's children.
And that's me in a
nutshell. This weekend I saw my son, the Drama King, perform the role
that I have always said he was born to play:
Yep, the title/lead role in "You're a
Good Man, Charlie Brown."
If you have seen it -- or
even never heard of it -- it is a collection of little scenes and songs
based on the Peanuts characters of Charles M. Schulz. I saw it once,
years ago, and have listened to and loved the music since.
from the time he has been interested in theater, I knew my boy WAS
Charlie Brown. It's a perfect part for him -- the self-deprecating,
insecure, lovable loser with a permanent case of bad luck.
wish I had a photo of him in his yellow shirt with the black zigzag on
it. Maybe next weekend, when I go back and see him perform again.
truth of it is that the show -- done in a 40-seat theater and produced
by one of DK's friends -- was less than stellar. Some of the other
performers are frankly -- ahem -- not endowed with talent. One, in fact,
was unable to find the key of her song, picking one out of the air
instead. The singer in me cringed noticeably.
boy? My boy shined bright.
This is not just mommy
pride. He really is talented, having played lead roles in community
theater and college plays over the years.
If only he
would get over his fear of failure and actually go for the BIG
Meanwhile, I'm just going to enjoy the
glow of seeing him do what I KNEW he could do and, in doing so,
making me -- and him -- happy.
After all, even Charlie
Brown knows that “Happiness is anyone and anything
that's loved by you.”
Hmm, wasn't there a show with a similar name? Well, it's not relevant.
But our family, every single one of us, Mom/Ora, Rosie and Abe, were all invited to go to 4 weddings this year! I haven't attended 4 weddings in the last decade!!! (Maybe only one.)
So we had to make some decisions about who was going to which wedding. I let the kids decide, with a little prompting for Abe.
The upshot was that all of us went to the wedding this weekend. It was the mother of a friend of Rosie's, whom I'm close to, and it was at our shule, so it was close by. It was a lovely wedding and I had a great time, but watching the kids interact was a different story.
Rosie hung out with her friends and Abe was seated at the "boys" table. The 2 younger boys (Rosie's age) mostly hung out with the girls, but Abe and another boy a year older than him mostly just sat there like lumps on a log. I did drag Abe out onto the dance floor once, but at one point I had to say to him and the other older boy, to move seats closer together and talk to each other!!
The dance floor was mostly populated by parents with the littlest kids and my table of friends- but at least Rosie wasn't complaining that I was embarrassing her!
So the 2nd wedding is next weekend. Rosie said no early on, but Abe liked the idea of going. I discouraged that. I'll admit it was selfish and figuring out how to get him back to school. But it also was because I asked him if he would dance and talk to people while we were there, and he said no. So I get to go by myself.
I'll tell you more about the other weddings when the dates get closer, but Rosie and I are going to one together and then all three of us again.
And the Bat Mitzvah... I'm the only one invited to the party. I'll pull out the dress that I wore to my nephew's party and go have some fun on the dance floor!
It was a lovely day: sunny, warm, but not hot. No rain marred their walk from the apartment (the legendary apartment!) to the fieldhouse to join the crowd. I wondered, in fact, why I drove. The parking lots were so full I wondered where the pregame tailgate parties might be. Traffic control was as involved as it is for a Green Bay Packers or Milwaukee Brewers game!
The crowd inside was large, too. I sat waaaaaay in the back. How on earth was I going to see the action from there? By closed circuit TV, of course. There was a screen in the front of the crowd - and quite a crowd it was. Look at this long line of graduates! And I brought my little pocket camera, thinking I might get something to share? What was I thinking?!
Wait a minute -- the processional came directly in front of me! There she was!
...and there she was again!
I even got her attention, with a little help from the other families around me.
Yes, the crowd was that huge, and most of my pictures were totally worthless. But the speakers were good, the music (brass quintet) was wonderful, and the administrative ceremonial types who ran the show really kept it moving. It was worthwhile, every minute of the long commencement presentation. It ended with these appropriate words:
because there isn't something to say, but mostly because I get tired of
being beaten over the head for being "anti-lesbian." My friends -- both
real-life and online -- know how off-base that is, but that doesn't stop
the blistering comments and personal emails blasting my "attitudes" and
"hypocrisy" when I write about her.
It even has been suggested that I should find a
"lesbian-friendly" therapist to help me work out my issues.
instead, I take the lesser road -- and just don't say much.
this past week, she hit a milestone that I wanted to acknowledge. Last
Friday, she turned 20.
Good-bye, teenage years. Hello,
This young woman has come a long way,
baby, over the almost 10 years I have known her and the almost seven
years she has lived full-time under my roof.
before her 18th birthday, I wrote something about her that I would like
to reprint here. A tale of how far she has come, edited to bring it up
Until she moved into her own apartment, she had lived exclusively
with us since she was 13,
when she was halfway through the eighth grade. Her choice. A decision
made after an earthquake in the city where she lived with her mother fuh-reaked her out beyond all
Now you have to understand about J-bear. She
was -- in my unprofessional opinion -- clinically shy and monstrously
introverted. The first time I saw her -- not MET her, mind you,
her -- she was about 10 and hiding behind her father at a chorus
That position turned out to be commonplace.
She couldn't look anyone in the eye -- not grownups, not kids. She
reminded me of a frightened bunny, never really able to step too far
away from the comforting aura of her dad.
first came to live with us, she was a frightened loner. The Roo-girl, four
years her junior, was really her only friend. In fact, she would follow
Roo to play with HER
She would wear hoodie sweatshirts -- with the
hood up around her head and her face pulled back into its recesses as
far as it would go. It became a trademark look that made her highly
recognizable on campus. Her father and I refused to buy sweatshirts with
hoods at one point.
She was behind in her social
skills. She was behind in her emotional growth. She was behind in her
Before she came to live with us, I exacted a
promise from her father AND from her mother -- that I would have their
permission to do what I saw fit
to help this child recover from the trauma of the earthquake AND get
her on track socially, emotionally and academically.
felt uniquely qualified to take J-bear on as a project since I had
fought the school system successfully for a variety services for my two
older boys and had some valuable experience and knowledge to offer.
required therapy, which had not been offered to her to this point. I
offered tutoring. In fact, that first summer before she started high
school, I worked with her a minimum of three hours a night on her daily
summer school homework. I took her shopping for her first bra. I, along
with Wonderhubby, provided a noisy, family-filled environment where she
had to learn to share her father and cope with four insta-siblings and
the tumult that comes with.
Today, J-bear is a confident young woman, with friends, a high
school diploma, a black belt in karate, a
responsible job and the ability to walk into a room and -- while not
completely comfortable -- fake it so that you don't see her
stands tall, my J-bear does. And I truly do believe that her father and
I have done an amazing job of guiding the little scared bunny through
some tough times and out the other side.
And in honor of her 20th birthday, I would like to help her move into
her next decade here as well.
J-bear was a name I picked for her based on a childhood nickname.
Today, she's entitled to something a little more mature, but I don't
know what that should be.
And so I ask you to help me. What should we call her? Leave a
suggestion in the comments. I will pick the ones I like the best and let
you vote on them.
La Petite graduates from college in three - count 'em, 3 - weeks.
Amigo graduates from high school in six - count 'em, 6 - weeks.
I sense a party looming. I sense dilemmas falling around my shoulders, more like hail than a gentle rain. I sense decisions and more decisions, planning, planning, and finally making things happen.
And all this while teaching full time, training in new math and language arts methods, and working on a course in differentiating instruction.
What was I thinking?!?
I can do this. I can do this if I focus on priorities, make lists, and attack the lists step by step. Here goes!
La Petite's graduation ceremony
Put date on calendar. Done; don't underestimate the calendar item. Chuck and I get very frustrated with each other when the calendar isn't up to date because we get burned in the firestorm of commitments.
Make hotel reservations in the small University town. The town is small, not the University. There aren't many choices. Done; good thing we acted on this one already. We got the last room at the inn - a fancy suite. It's worth it. Repeat: it's worth it.
Start moving what we can, do it early, and do it often. She's fighting this a bit, not realizing that the contents of her apartment were moved in over a span of three years, and we're moving it home over a span of three weeks. I keep providing her with boxes; she keeps accepting them grudgingly. If we don't fill the minivan a little with each weekend trip, we'll have to rent a U-Haul and.... let's not even thing about it.
Consider, choose, and purchase graduation gift. Oh, my goodness, I've hardly given this any thought! She is a photographer, aspiring photo-journalist, artist, writer, traveler. She's a typical millennial in her techi-ness, able to switch effortlessly between Mac and PC platforms. No land-line, she lives by her cell phone, a newly acquired smart phone. Ideas, readers?
And then I need to think about a gift for Amigo - what to get an 18 year old, sports fan, public radio fanatic, concert-goer and music lover?
MCMM readers, I need you. Please leave me gift ideas in the comments! I must (oh, such a sacrifice) start shopping!