We often spend so much time chasing the extraordinary moments that we miss out on the ordinary moments – the ones that if taken away, we’d miss more than anything.

– from Brene Brown’s “The Call to Courage”

Posted in Books, Teenagers

Anonymous

It was deep.

It was weird.

It was much better performed than what I expected.

It was … Anonymous.

Our first real youth play. As part of his acting class at the local theater, Braden was part of the cast of this modern tale based on the Odyssey. I’ll give you a moment to put those together in your mind.

The Odyssey.

Modern.

Deep.

Twisted.

Confusing.

Here’s a summary:

Separated from his mother, a young refugee called Anon journeys through the United States, encountering a wide variety of people — some kind, some dangerous and cruel — as he searches for his family. From a sinister one-eyed butcher to beguiling barflies to a sweatshop, Anon must navigate through a chaotic, ever-changing landscape in this entrancing adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey.

Originally he was only meant to be the owner of the sweatshop, but the one-eyed butcher quit, so he took over that part as well.

I spliced together the clips I took of both of his parts … and I’m sharing it here for your enjoyment (I’m also not allowed to share to social media lest I incur the wrath of the 15-year-old).

Grab yo’ popcorn and have a seat ….

(also please note that the first few frames start out sideways and the rest runs correctly. amateur mom video footage here.)

What’d ya think? Academy Awards material?

Posted in boys, growing up, Life

Another School Year Begins

And so it begins. Again.

Sending them off to preschool was hard. The first day of kindergarten – that was tough.

I used to think it would get easier … the first day of school.

It doesn’t.

I truly have a love-hate relationship with the beginning of the school year.

Because I work from home, I am pretty darn excited to kick the kiddos out the door and soak up the deliciousness of my peace and quiet.

But I also feel the enormity of the milestone. One more step on their journey – their own path – and away from the one that we share now.

The ticking of the life clock getting louder and louder with each passing “first day” of school.

And it makes me proud. And sad. So very sad.

Fortunately, I know that this day will pass, my tears will stop and we’ll move on in quiet obliviousness to the background ticking of that clock.

And suddenly, I’ll blink and the year will be over.

I’ll be once more reminded that the clock continues to tick, ever closer to our very last “first day of school.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Taking Notes …

I often rant about how kids today won’t even know how to write things thanks to Siri and now Alexa and Google Home are adding to that mix.

That by itself is bad enough. But I hadn’t even considered Voice to Text and who knew that Google Classroom has this built-in?

Clearly not me.

My son-who-loathes-to-write came to me this evening proud of himself for having taken all of the notes that he needs for an essay that he has to write in class later this week.

Imagine how impressed I was to see that his notes were typed AND included bullet points for each individual item.

I was, of course, thinking about my own schooling way back in the 1900s and imagining that he’d by handwriting these notes.

Pfft. Kids today don’t hand write anything!

What I failed to consider, though. Was that he merely dictated all of these notes to and Google took care of the rest.

Shock and awe.

Things were spelled correctly! The bullet points were added automatically!

He didn’t have to type anything!

It’s like we’ve gone forward to go backward – dictation but with no steno pool.

Don Draper and Peggy Olsen would be impressed.

I just feel old.

Posted in Family, Life, Mom's Wisdom

‘Twas The Summer Before High School…

(Disclosure: this post has taken a few weeks to finish. Because life.)

Confession: I hate the end of the school year (and the beginning too 😉).

Not for the obvious reasons though. For me, it has always been a notable transition point. An indicator that we’re all growing up and time is passing.

And that soon enough our time together will end.

I recognize how much the boys have grown, marked specifically by the passing from one grade to the next.

I try every year not to dampen their end-of-year excitement and enthusiasm with my tears. (I shed a few in private for sure.)

But this year is worse. The oldest is ending middle school and we’re moving on to high school.

High school.

HIGH SCHOOL!

!!!!!

How did we get here seemingly so fast?

It seems like only yesterday he was sobbing his way through the doors of elementary school for the first time.

When he started middle school, I told him to just keep his head down and ride the waves. Because no one likes middle school.

And he did. Whether these were the worst years of life for him is obviously still to be determined. But I can say that we have had some pretty trying moments.

Seventh grade was especially the pits.

But as we moved through eighth grade, things have improved.

I can kinda sorta see the light beginning to shine. He’s definitely growing up – in all the ways.

He offered to help make the cake for his little bros birthday.

I’m sorry. What?!?

He started an evening ritual with the 10-year-old – they go outside and talk about their day.

No screaming. No yelling. No cross words. No shoving or fighting. Just two dudes, a ball and a chat about the day.

And I now have to tilt my head ever-so-slightly up to meet his eyes.

I can see them all growing – which fills me with a combination of pride and sadness.

Because it makes the end of this ride seem so much closer.

We recently listened to Phil Keogan’s interview with Tim Ferris – one of the best podcast episodes I’ve heard in years –  in which Phil mentions that we spend 80% of all the time we get with our kids in the first 18 years.

Let’s pause a moment to let that settle in.

And there’s also the 18 summers is all we get post that was floating around Facebook for a bit recently.

SMACK! Did you feel that too?

That was harsh reality folks – that our time as parents is far shorter than we realize or imagine.

Sigh.

We’re already more than a week into this summer. I’ve dried my tears and have moved on from this (mostly) for now.

Far too soon the beginning of school will be upon us again and we’ll start the beginning of the end.

And I’ll shed all the tears.

But we’ll also make darn sure that we get the most out of every summer and all of what’s left of our 80%.