Old Friends

It’s dark. And late. And a Thursday night. And I’m standing in the parking lot of a California Pizza Kitchen laughing so hard there are tears rolling down my cheeks.

I’m standing there with two girlfriends — friends I’ve known since high school — and on this night, wiping the tears from all the laughter, just like every time I see them, I’m thinking Why don’t I do this more often?

But I sort of know why. It’s Work in the Morning. It’s Kids Have Practice. It’s Girl Scouts, and Baseball, and Water Polo, and Karate, and Full Time Jobs, and PTA, and School Shopping, and Soccer Practice, and Saxophone Concerts, and Gymnastics, and Football Games, and Cheer Competitions, and Tennis Matches, and All The Things that have kept us moms so busy for so many years.

Our kids are all about the same age. When they were all babies, or at least pre-schooling-age, we were still able to get together, my friends from high school. We’d  let the kids play with each other while we all talked, or took walks, or crafted together, or whatever we felt like doing.

But as our kids grew older, we all drifted apart. Continue reading

End-of-the-School-Year Craziness

Ah, the end of the school year. This is where things get really crazy. Turning in books, verifying grades, trying to scramble for that last “B,” banquets, parties, permission slips, yearbooks, school dances, teacher gifts, dress-shoes for promotions … the list goes on and on. Moms everywhere know what I’m talking about.

Rene is in a showdown with a crazy retiring-in-two-minutes teacher who has left the entire class bewildered with “missing assignments” notes when she left for some kind of surgery and has never returned. The substitutes have been bewildered also. The kids have all been glumly picking up slips for summer school. But there might be a knight in shining armor who swooped in to finish the last two weeks as the “permanent substitute” (there’s a fun phrase). And here’s the kicker – he had this same teacher years ago when he was at the school! So he feels very sympathetic toward the students and says he believes in “transparency” and “online grades” (thank you, sir!) and has vowed to get all their grades online so they can check to see what they’re really missing and if they’ve perhaps already turned it in. So, with 1 week left, we’re ending on a cliffhanger, here. I hope everything works out for Rene.

Nathan, meanwhile, is experiencing spring fever like I’ve never seen a child experience spring fever. My two older kids have always really liked school, and seem to stay motivated until the end. But this child. … hmmm … He just wants to head to the beach every single day. Since about May 1. Poor dude. But he’s almost done, too. We remind him of the countdown every day.

Summer, oh summer – We can’t wait to see you next week!

P.S. I also think we must be the LAST district out for summer???

Official Teenager

Aaaaaahhhhhh, this kid:

(Yeah, the one on the left, cracking up.)

Still my baby, even though he’s technically 13 today and (therefore) officially a teenager.

Still our joy, always making us laugh when we most need it.

Still our “happy kid” (did I mention that his dad wanted his middle name to be “Happy”? Woulda worked!).

Still that crazy kid who has a cool combination of being very laid back and very off-the-wall at the same time.

Still the smallest one in the class, though he’s shot up at least two inches just this fall alone! (Go Nate!)

Still our Nate the Great.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Writing Kids …

Ricky for KBGA Radio

All my kids are writing these days, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Rene has tiptoed into the realm of fiction with a great short story and some beautiful poetry. (She uses “beats” so naturally, and her sentences have gorgeous variety.) Nate just wrote a really funny, clever “commercial” that he had to film in his class — he took on the whole writing aspect for his entire group, plus did the reading as the narrator, and was thrilled to get applause from his fellow seventh graders! And Ricky’s been sending me his articles for his journalism classes, and they’re terrific. (Great, natural use of quotes, as well as lyrical sentences.) Ricky’s also been reading news and sports on his college radio station, so I get to tune in every-other Tuesday and hear his articles live and hear him banter the news. (So fun!)

The trick was — all these years — I couldn’t ever actually suggest they get into writing of any kind. (Because then it would’ve been a rebellious kind of Mommmm, no!) And I still have to bite my tongue all the time and try not to suggest it too much.

But when they discover it on their own … then … yes!!! … they get to experience the magic I always did.

Have you ever wanted to push your kids into talents or professions, but simply had to control yourself?

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