Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Drinking Cats

My cats are spoiled.

Not only do they have a fancy, electric water bowl that refreshes the oxygen content, but I let them drink from my tub faucet. It didn't used to be that way. I'm a sucker for a cute, furry face, I suppose.

Every morning when I get up and open my bedroom door, both tear inside and leap into my bathtub. Then they cast me a curious stare until I go turn on the faucet. If I'm not fast enough they'll actually start to meow. It gets pretty loud from time-to-time.

Toby is the youngest. He's a real stinker. I've wondered in the few months that we've had him if cats can have ADHD. If so, I'm convinced Toby is a prime candidate in the critter category. Half the time he forgets that he's supposed to drink the water and ends up jumping on the side to play with the stream. Each time he sticks his paw in there, he'll stop and look at it as if the water is foreign to him. Then it will draw his attention again. He performs this action over and over. Gives me several minutes of pure entertainment.

Now Paws does what he's supposed to do and climbs in the tub to drink. Of course since Toby's sitting on the sidelines slapping the water above him, it gets sprinkled on Paws' head. Hey, maybe Toby thinks he's a priest or something, blessing his "flock". I'd love to know what's going through Paws' head when he gives Toby the glare.

When Toby gets tired of the stream antics (or I decide to try and conserve the water he isn't drinking) he'll jump up onto my counter and lay in one of the sinks. He fits perfectly in there. Of course that is NOT the most sanitary thing in the world, so I slide him out and set him back on the floor. He's yet to figure out that the sinks are off limits. Maybe he's just trying to get me to stop and hold him for a moment. Nah, probably that short attention span ADHD thing again.

I guess I can be glad for one thing though; at least they aren't slurping from the toilet bowl.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Movie Review!!!!

Wow - we went to see "Expelled" over the weekend. Can't find it much on movie internet sites, but it is a very interesting documentary. I highly recommend it regardless of your views on Darwinian evolution.

Due to my years of study on World War II and the Nazis, I found the part on eugenics fascinating as well as horrifying. Ben Stein visited Dachau, a former concentration camp near Munich, Germany where political prisoners' and countless Jews' lives were snuffed out. He also visited Hadamar Hospital, converted now to a museum, where over 14,000 of the mentally ill and physically disabled were gassed by the Nazis.

Interestingly enough, when Mr. Stein asked people if they thought Hitler was insane none agreed. Social Darwinian thought was prevalent throughout Europe both before and after World War II. Events after World War I only solidified thoughts which led to the atrocities of actions by the Third Reich.

The point of Mr. Stein's movie is to allow freedom of thought and debate instead of the tactics currently employed in many scientific fields, some rather reminiscent of the Nazis. Many renowned scientists in America are losing their jobs, losing grants, denied tenure, or pressured to resign because of simply questioning certain segments of Darwinian belief.

There are legitimate holes in the theory - which is why it is called a "theory" and not "fact". Good science allows for questioning. Hopefully this movie will be an avenue leading to the table of open and free debate.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tornado Times in Kansas

Went out to lunch today with a fellow single mother. Even though there is a vast difference in our ages, we have a great time together. Her son just turned three. Mine is fifteen. I've lived what she's going through, therefore I can offer her advice and support if she so desires.

I remember when my son was three. There were some absolutely wonderful times together. Some of them weren't so wonderful.

At three my son really tested the waters, stretching the umbilical cord until I thought I'd break. We'd go through two or three weeks of just nightmarish behavior. I often asked God if one could quit motherhood. Nope - not an option. During the bad behavior weeks, I'd come home from work and immediately he'd start trying my patience. I guess God does answer prayer. Sometimes though, I wish I'd prayed for something else - like a dog - instead of patience.

Then just when I was feeling like Mommie Dearest, one day he'd snap out of it and be my perfect angel all over again. At least for several months, that is, until the itch needed scratched again. Then the holy terror would come over him like a furious tornado (hey, this is Kansas - I have permission to use said analogy) and leave disaster in its wake.

One thing I learned during those tornado times was that my discipline needed to be consistent. Children are going to see how far they can push the boundaries (and push a few of our buttons in the process). What I discovered is that it is a key opportunity to help them learn how to recognize boundaries and begin building healthy ones in their own lives. If he hadn't learned them at a young age, I shudder to think who he might have become by now.

His room may still look somewhat like a tornado, but he's built solid character in his life and learned the concept of self-control. That will keep him well as he faces adult life.

He's also an example to my friend of what she can look forward to if she puts the hard work into her son now. Investments always have a payoff down the road.

It's usually a pretty good payout for our kids too. Maybe they'll remember it when they have kids of their own, you think?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Teaching the Old Dog

I have a difficult time accepting help.

It isn't that the offers aren't appreciated - sometimes just the thought means more to me than anyone will ever know. No, the problem is in my head.

Too many times in the past, I've had offers from people to buy me things, help me fix things, go with me places, etc., etc., etc. So many times these offers came at very crucial junctures when the need was greatest. Almost every single time it came with a caveat. Maybe the caveat wasn't mentioned up front, but the bill would eventually come due later. It seems few people ever do anything for you without expecting something in return. Part of our society, I suppose. Perhaps just the kind of people I knew at the time. I'll never quite understand it.

Therefore for much of my adult life, I have made a point of making sure that, no matter what, I would be the one taking care of myself and my son without intervention from anybody. I've learned how to manage all sorts of things. I've become Ms. Fix-It around my house. I even can proudly say that I reroofed my previous home. Chalk that one up on my resume. I'll always hire it out if ever it needs done again though. Even so, I'll be certain to pay for services rendered at the time of service and ensure the cost is understood up front even if the service is offered free of charge. Thank you very much, but no thank you.

A few years ago I had a friend of mine chastise me for this attitude. You see, I love to do things for people, treat them to lunch, give them special gifts, invite them to elaborate dinner parties, all at my own expense without ever expecting anything in return. It is just something I thoroughly enjoy doing. But this friend pointed out to me that I NEVER let anyone do anything like that for me. She reminded me of how much joy it gives me to give to others, but said I take that potential joy away from others by not letting them do the same for me. Ouch!

Last night I received an incredible offer from a dear friend of mine. I've known him for more than eight years, one of the few men I actually trust. He offered to help pay for my son's choir trip to Europe next summer (see Wednesday's post). I can't tell you how much that meant to me. I can't tell you how much that frightened me.

After waving his offer aside, I stopped for just a moment. This is a man I trust. This is a man who shares my pride in the invitation my son received. My friend's words from several years ago rushed through my thoughts. I took a deep breath then told him I would hold it in the back of my mind and think about it - a massive step for me.

Not sure what I'll do with that thought right now. That's okay. I've got lots of time to consider it. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Looking For a Big Break

Several individuals in my critique group attended a writer's conference last weekend. They're a great way to peek through the window of the industry.

Since we had the wedding, unfortunately I could not attend. My conference attendance has been spotty at best, but as my son gets older I plan to make some notable writer's conferences a yearly priority. Think I've said that for the past three, but next year I really mean it.

Conferences usually have contest entry requests in several various genres such as fantasy, horror, thrillers, mysteries, poetry, screenplays, etc. The more you enter the better your odds of winning. Having awards on your resume is a great way to gain some respectability when preparing to query agents and editors.

Speaking of which, there are usually a vast number of agents and editors at these conferences where you can pitch your novel(s). The KWA conference has many big-name NY agents, as does the OWFI conference every spring. That's your opportunity as a writer to get some face time with several in one easy setting. It's also a good way to hone your selling skills - remember, you have a book to sell and they're there to buy that next breakout novel.

The conferences also offer workshops in practically any category, that is unless it is a targeted conference for say screenplays or a specified genre. At KWA's "Scene of the Crime" conference they'll bring in speakers who are ballistics experts, fire investigators, forensics, someone from the DA's office, you name it. These people hold a vast array of real-time information that they willingly share. Even a murder scene can be interesting (sick, maybe, but interesting all the same).

Several in my critique group have won prizes from entering contests and attending conferences. We even received great news from one critiquor (who shall remain anonymous for now) that an agent at the conference asked him to submit his entire manuscript - a rare achievement indeed!

Now all we have to do is sit on our laurels for the next two or three months and see if they like what he has to offer. This just might be his big break. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Floating on Cloud Nine

The good news just keeps coming! I'm floating on cloud nine right now.

My son just received wonderful news tonight. Unbeknownst to him, his choir instructor at school nominated him for the Ambassadors of Music. In the mail this evening he had a letter awaiting him with the notification and invitation to be a part of the 2009 European tour with this special, invitation only group of 300 fellow choir members. I almost fell out of the car. Needless to say, he's surprised and completely looking forward to this.

It will be a sixteen-day jaunt across seven European countries - England, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Italy. They'll sing in cathedrals hundreds of years old, see sights that some people only dream of their entire lives. This is an enormous honor. There's no way I could let him miss this incredible opportunity.

I'm just glad I have a year to pay for it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions can be a funny thing. Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer, just the reasoning behind why we make the choices we do.

Many, many years ago, when my son was tiny, I made an important decision. I chose to put myself aside to focus on raising him. This meant that I gave up alot. Yet now I see how much I've gained by putting my son ahead of myself.

The main item I chose to give up was dating and finding Mr. "Right". Dating meant time away from my son, my already divided attentions between home and work divided even more. The one time I did date seemed to be more spent in jockeying two children instead of one (if you get my drift). Yes, I've had times of loneliness. Yes, I've had times where I questioned my decision. Yes, I've also questioned my ability to raise a son all alone. Yet I haven't been alone.

For some reason, God chose to bless me with an enormously important responsibility, one I did not take lightly. I was twenty-three at the time and he's nearing his sixteenth birthday. You do the math. There have been some horribly difficult years, but the wonderful years greatly outweigh the hard ones.

This past year has been an incredible time of growth and maturity for him in so many ways. He has three more years of school before he's off chasing his dreams. My time for influencing him is quickly waning, and these next three years will speed up and be gone in a flash. I've always said that if I can at least instill a sense of personal responsiblity in my son, then I will feel I have succeeded as a mother. We're nearly there.

And I will NEVER regret my decision to put my son before myself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Whirlwind Wedding Weekend

We went to a wedding over the weekend. Eight hour drive. It was so worth it!

Even though the wedding was small, I couldn't help but go. I have eight nieces and nephews (and one great-niece!), and this was the first wedding of that next generation. She looked absolutely lovely.

Years ago I was the one everyone came to to assist with their weddings. At one time I also thought about opening my own wedding planning business. This time I was hog-tied into running the music and figuring out a complicated sound system. With time to spare the system was soon tamed, and the music played exactly where and when it was needed. I love conquering a challenge!

The mascara was running even before the ceremony. As my brother-in-law walked my niece down the aisle, there was scarcely a dry eye in the house. Both of them were already blubbering so it was only natural for the rest of us to join into the celebration.

The pastor reminded my new nephew-in-law that he was charged with making my niece feel like the queen of their household. He then had to quip, "Does that make me king?", sending the entire gathering into a fit of laughter. Even in the midst of a sober undertaking, humor was demonstrated. Laughter can be a real balm in the chaos of life, and I hope they are both able to maintain their ability to laugh when difficulties come.

Overall it was a whirlwind wedding weekend. How's that for an alliteration?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dreaming of a Happy Thanksgiving

It's here!!!

Oh happy day - my dining room suite made it safely in the door minus one armchair, but who's complaining? They'll deliver the other chair in a few days. All is well.

I'm already dreaming of Thanksgiving when I host my entire family in my new home. It will be a first. My previous home was entirely too small to have even a few of my family to visit comfortably, much less all of them: two sisters, their husbands, their four children each, plus my parents, and - hello - myself and my son - ooo, and I almost forgot my new nephew-in-law and great-niece. Now I'm exhausted just thinking of it.

My oldest sister is a great cook, and I'm hoping I'll be able to convince her to come up Thanksgiving Eve and make some of her famous homemade pies. Ooo, I can smell the pumpkin pie already. I have a new broccoli salad recipe (and I don't usually like broccoli) that I'm excited about trying on my family. Then of course, the turkey. I may get one deep-fried this year; yes, they're bad for you but oh so good, and isn't that what counts on Thanksgiving? I've always heard the calories don't count during the holidays.

For now, though, I've spent the last hour-and-ahalf cleaning all the glass and mirrors on the china hutch and the server. I'm looking forward to finally emptying all of the boxes of china and displaying it again. Then I can continue to dream of a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Banner Year

I'm so proud of my son! The men's choir at school (of which he was invited to be a part as a freshman) scored all 1's at regionals last Saturday, therefore they are going to state competition. This has truly been a banner year for him.

First the big trip, then regionals, and now state. He is feeling very good about life right now, and I couldn't be happier.

You know, I realized something over the weekend. I'm not just proud of my son for what he does, but I'm proud of him just for who he is. So many people used to tell me just to wait for the teenaged years because then it gets rough. But in his case, they've been wrong thus far.

He doesn't smoke, chew, or run with girls who do. He doesn't drink or curse. His friends are a great influence on him, but I've also noticed that my son has a deep inner strength in knowing what is right and what is wrong, knowing who he is and what he does and doesn't want to do. So far he's really listened to that. I wonder sometimes how much the difficulties we've faced have influenced his strength of character. It's a very interesting thought.

I've told so many people over the years how proud I am of my son but realized I wasn't doing a good job of telling him. So I told him this weekend how proud I was of the man he was becoming. Seems like he was happy to hear it.

These next few years will be an interesting ride, and I can't wait to see how they turn out for him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Spring has come back to earth today, and of course this being Kansas that also means wind!

My cats are once again sitting up on my computer desk watching out the window (don't they always??). There doesn't have to be a single creature in the tree, but the whipping of leaves and branches makes their heads dart back and forth almost constantly. I know inside their heads they're both thinking: What was that? Did you see that movement? There's just got to be something there! I'm trying very hard to avoid laughing. Okay, not very hard.

I don't know why I even bother to do my hair of a morning on such a day. The moment I walk out the door it will end up sitting on top of my head like an updo or comb-over. Little children will stare and wonder what I was on when styling my hair that morning, and they'll imagine unicorns or bunnies in the image as if watching cloud formations pass by.

Even so, most days I still enjoy the wind. It's like a breath of fresh air after the storms of winter, carrying a promise of good things to come. When my neighbors aren't looking I love to stand in the path and just let the zephyr plough over me. One can't help but smile with such G-forces tugging at the mouth.

Then again, my neighbors might be smiling as they imagine bunnies in my updo.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Signs of Life

We drove up the turnpike today. I love to listen to music on a scenic drive and relive the memories it evokes. Today was no exception. The Flint Hills looked beautiful even in their brownness. Any moment now they will burst into color. Makes me dream of the day I can own my own piece of paradise.

My plan is to someday purchase a large tract of land. I've always loved the wide open spaces where it feels as if you can almost touch the sky if you can just reach the horizon and see a bit of heaven. The rush of wind on the hilltop is almost like being caressed by the hand of God. If you close your eyes you can almost smell Him in the approaching rain. I guess that's what I imagine heaven will be like.

Have you ever just stopped, really stopped and listened to the sounds of nature? Forget the rushing cars driving by, the clamor of voices, and the schedules - that's not what real life is all about anyway. Take a moment to just be still, surrounded by nothing but the wide expanse of creation. Listen to the sound of the rustling leaves in the trees. Smell the rich soil beneath your feet. Hear the lilting stream as it meanders homeward. If you listen long enough you might even hear the song creation plays each and every day.

Sometimes we need to stop, grab ahold of life for a moment, and realize the world will still be there when we get back. Take time for refreshment and just be still. Maybe then we'll hear the music of life.

Are you listening?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ah, Alaska

Winter has returned to Kansas this week. It makes me long for Alaska.

Ah, Alaska - with the snow-capped mountains year-round, the moose traipsing through town, the wind whistling through the valleys, and the blushing flora and fauna bursting forth at a moments notice.

Okay, before I wax poetic let me come down from the mountaintop.

Both times that I've had the luxury of visiting Alaska were near the end of April and the first of May. Almost overnight the ground goes from moist gray to vibrant green with splashes of color tossed here and there like a mosaic. The ice covering most lakes and rivers cracks and begins its journey, and previously unseen waterfalls thunder down the mountainside.

My first trip to the Last Frontier was alone, but I never let aloneness stop me from exploring. That's when I discovered an oasis I had to visit again. My second trip allowed me to take my mother and son with me, and we spent the last few days nestled in my favorite hideaway in the world: Seward.

After my mother came back to reality and realized those enormous beasts roaming downtown Anchorage were not mechanical (hey look, Mom - MOOSE!), we headed down the Seward Highway to that quaint little town at the end of the Kenai Peninsula. We took a wildlife boat tour, visited the incredible Alaska SeaLife Center (that wasn't there the first trip), and ended our journey with a stop at Ray's, the best fresh seafood joint west of the Mississippi. Melts in the mouth like butter.

Two days was not nearly enough time to enjoy all that Seward offers, but business and schedules called us home. Someday I plan to go back when I don't have to mix business with pleasure. I'm thinking perhaps a graduation present for my son in a few more years. Then we'll be sure and include a dog-sled ride pulled by huskies.

Somewhere along the line I'm certain my son is part Eskimo. After college, he plans to get a job and live in Alaska. That's great! Then I can visit Alaska as often as I like - I mean visit him as often as I like.

That is until I sell my first book and buy a home in Seward. Until then, I must dream of the day I can return. Sweet dreams indeed!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I'm so disappointed!

For several years now I've wanted to purchase a formal dining room suite. As a gift to myself in 2001, I completed my china set with 20 full place settings, the adorable little demitasse cups, serving pieces, you name it. My old home had a built-in cabinet that housed alot of my china, but my new home has a large room specifically for a formal dining suite. I found the design I wanted over a year ago.

Last week I found out that the store was having a silent 20% off sale. They don't come around often, so I decided now was the optimal time to purchase said dining room furniture. Furniture is to me as clothes or shoes are to most women.

The suite was to be delivered this morning. Sadly, the store called to say that when they were uncrating and loading the china hutch in their truck, they discovered an enormous gash in one side. They'd be happy to deliver the other pieces if I wanted, but they had to get a new hutch from their warehouse. I told them to just wait and delivery it all when the new hutch came in. It hurt.

Yes, it's only stuff, but I've waited and saved for this for so many years. One more week isn't going to kill me, but it sure took the wind out of my sails. Even the things we see as strong can be fragile.

Life carries many disappointments - most more important than a silly piece of furniture. It's how we plow through those times that our strength is revealed. Do we let life's blows keep us down, or do we pick ourselves back up, brush off the dirt, and begin anew?

I guess in this case I just need to brush off the splinters.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Celebration Is Coming

One of my novels is nearing completion. It's terribly exciting. I'm mere chapters away from a big celebration.

There are currently seven novels in one stage or another sitting on my computer. Now some people would think that was pretty impressive. Seven novels? Why that's amazing!

No it isn't.

There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people out there in the world who start a novel or even two. Rarely do they ever finish. I want to be the exception, not the rule, and the fact that I have seven unfinished novels is grating on my nerves. Sometimes being very creative can have its drawbacks.

Many times I'll have two or three ideas floating around in my head that are begging to be put to rest on paper. Other times, while I'm somewhere in the middle of my current writing project, I'll have a vivid dream at night and get another wacky idea for a new story. Then I can't rest until it is released from its cage. Yes, there are times when I can be like a caged animal. Just ask my son.

The problem is that the new idea takes me out of the depths of the old idea. Getting back into my characters and setting once I've been out of it for awhile can be quite difficult. Some in my critique group have little hair left from all the times I've switched gears on them in midstream.

So for the past year I've made myself stick to this one novel until it is done. It's been hard. There were several months when I didn't write at all, but the story was still floating around in the back of my mind. The focus for this particular project had to remain sharp even when I didn't write. That's how I've finally gotten near this stage of completion. My excitement is growing to a feverish pitch, and I can't help but work on it every opportunity I get.

My critique group will join me in the celebration of finally completing a work. Maybe their hair will grow back then too. Of course, they don't yet know that the end will probably make them pull it all out again.

That's okay. As long as I finish one, I'll rest easy. :-)

Monday, April 7, 2008


Trips can be a great bonding experience. This one succeeded in droves.

I was a nervous wreck driving to the school to pick up my son yesterday evening upon their return from the choir trip. You see, he was severely bullied when he was younger and has struggled since that time in making friends. He tends to hang back and study people. Therefore he is labeled as shy by teachers and his fellow students. Being misunderstood can really mess with one's mind. That's why this trip was so important to his overall continued progress. We've fought an uphill battle for many years, and the outcome of this trip was key to his continued forward momentum.

The moment he came barreling from the school building (he was helping gather bags from the buses), I breathed an enormous sigh of relief. From his body language, smile, and interactions with fellow students it was quite obvious he'd enjoyed a wonderful time. When he saw me his face lit up like a lightbulb, and he ran over and gave me a great big hug right in front of his fellow students. It brought tears of joy to my eyes.

He talked non-stop all the way home. They'd had a successful raid of the awards and ended up bringing home six trophies from the competition. All three of his roommates were great guys, and he even was able to tell me their names and grades (shocker for him to remember such details). Of course, the biggest success of the trip to him was getting invited twice to sit with a table full of girls. The biggest success to me was that he'd thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

And he's ready to go back next year.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Timelessness (is that a word?)

Age can be a funny thing.

I'm turning forty next year - yes, the big 4-0. Some people are terrified of that designation of "middle-age", but I'm looking forward to it. Yes, I'm strange that way.

Turning twenty was wonderful; I was no longer a teenager. Thirty seemed as if the beginning of life had come, and perhaps I'd finally gain the respect of my older peers (yeah right, like that's ever going to happen). So what is the matter with turning forty? For me, absolutely nothing. I celebrate it. It means I've survived another milestone.

There was a time in my life when I didn't think I'd make it to my next birthday. When the physical body wears thin it really makes your world and focus shrink down to what is truly important. During that time, life for me was about reaching that next milestone to ensure I'd be here for my son. He became my driving life-force to do everything possible to live another day, week, month, and year.

Life has such meaning and purpose to me each and every day. I no longer struggle just to survive; now I thrive. It is a precious gift to be given a second chance.

It also means I'm moving forward. So forty, come on down!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Off Into The Wild, Blue Yonder

Well they're gone, off into the wild, blue yonder.

My son just left on his big trip. I thought about going back to bed and getting a few more hours of sleep. Don't know why I thought that would be possible. A lot of hours flashed by on my clock during the night as I awoke frequently, fearful of not hearing my alarm and he missing their buses. That would have been a lot of anticipation and money down the drain.

We said our goodbyes here at home before going to the school. I didn't want to embarrass him, you know. His eyes held a teeny bit of apprehension, but the excitement greatly outweighed any fear. Suppose I'll hold onto it for him for the remainder of the week.

So while he's off galavanting across the greater Dallas area, I'll get some writing done and allow my mind to wander over the pages of my book. But first I think I'll try to go lay down for awhile again - my brain is starting to wander off.

It likes to go on trips too from time to time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another Milestone

My guts have turned into butterflies. My son leaves early tomorrow morning for his big school choir trip to Dallas. He's excited. I'm nervous. Not sure why. Wait a minute - I think I do.

It isn't that I don't think he can handle it. My son has traveled extensively with me when I go on business trips. He's been to Alaska, California, Colorado, Texas, D.C., etc., etc., etc., knows his way through navigating airports and baggage claim, and is rather adept at getting places with everything he needs and returning home with everything he took (and then some). No, I have a feeling he's going to be just fine in that regard. The problem seems to be all mine.

I have to let go of my need to control.

You see, I'm a planner by nature for more reasons than one. I've spent most of his life trying to protect him as much as possible from the chaos that seems to follow me. Experiences are a very important component of life, but when I'm the one planning the experiences I'm also the one who controls it to (hopefully) avoid the possibility of a bad experience. Just being able to be a kid is important, and I've tried to guard him from the worries and cares of life - he's faced more things in his short years than most adults do in a lifetime.

This trip is a milestone for both of us then. None of his buds are in the choir. He's rooming with guys I don't know. Someone else will be responsible for the well-being of my son. I want SO BADLY for this to be a positive and wonderful experience, but that is no longer up to me.

I thought about going as a sponsor when the trip was announced earlier this school year. Decided not to. We talked about it, and he's happy to be going on his own (i.e. without me). But he needs this. He needs to know that he can be responsible for himself. He needs to know that he can have a good time without old mother-dear holding his hand so he can cross the street (Disclaimer - I haven't done that in a long time, okay). He's going to do more than survive this trip; he's going to flourish!

I'll just be so glad to hear about it when he comes back home Sunday night. By then, he'll probably be too tired to talk about it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Early Morning Resurrection

I hate getting up early in the mornings. It isn't just that I hate it - I actually truly loathe it with a passion bordering on insanity. My body doesn't begin to function properly until at least 9:00, though I have to get up at 6:00 most mornings. The fact that my house has yet to burn down as I cook breakfast in a stupor is a testament to God's grace. Now if only someone could figure out how to administer coffee intravenously by my bedside.

As the school year winds down, my son is preparing for his big choir trip to Dallas. They've had two 7:00 am rehearsals already and will leave later this week. I found out Sunday at his choir performance that they have to be at the school by 5:00 - that's five o'clock in the morning. Be there at five o'clock in the morning! AM - which means we have to be up and around by 4:00 at the latest. Yes, that's right four o'clock in the morning. Why bother going to bed, eh?

Oh, what we do for our children.

At one time in his life, my son was a chipper early-morning riser. Seeing his toothy grin and hearing his babbling gibberish made the early morning disturbance worthwhile. Now that he's in the full throes of puberty, he can be pretty difficult to awaken of a morning. However, for the last couple of weeks, he's been Mr. Chipper all over again. I think he's actually looking forward to getting up at 4:00 am. Of course, it also helps that the girl to guy ratio for the trip is like nine to one.

But strange as it may be, I'm actually looking forward (in a bizzare, sick, and convoluted way) to getting up to see him off. By the time I was his age, I was a seasoned traveler, but this will be his first big trip that he's taken without me in tow - another one of the milestone moments of his life. It's very important to me that he feels comfortable stretching the umbilical cord.

Raising independent children is an important responsibility. Our job as parents is to allow our children experiences where they can explore life as we gradually adjust them to the process of leaving the nest. Then when they are old enough to leave, they will truly be capable of caring for themselves on their own out in the big, wide world. That's when we know we've done our job properly.

In the meantime, I'll continue to put myself out by being resurrected at four o'clock in the morning. Sympathy is appreciated.