Thursday, May 28, 2009

Graduation Update

Well, he did it! My wonderful, handsome, smart boy is going to GRADUATE from High School! This may not seem like a very big deal to some of you, in fact, most of you. Graduating from High School didn't seem that hard to me when I did it, but MAN!! Watching this boy struggle has been one of the great challenges of my existence so far. I am so FREAKING PROUD of this boy!! Plus, look how cute he is! Now imagine him with the freshly cut mohawk he's sporting today.

Here's one of him goofing off in front of the camera, and the photographer CAUGHT IT!!

Here's a random thought--today is the last day of school for my High School Senior and for my Kindergartener. (Everyone else still has to go to school tomorrow...) Isaac looked at me this morning and sighed and said, "Mom, I'll never be in Kindergarten again." I shed a tear for that one. And...for those of you who haven't seen my new album on Facebook, this one's for you:

Happy Graduation, everybody!! Don't bother me this weekend, I'll be partying.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Tigress

I called my post The Tigress because that is what I want to be. I won't actually ever be that, but it's one of my alter-egos that probably won't ever see a day in the sun. Here's why I want to be a tigress:

A tigress fights for her children. I think that I don't do enough of that. Years ago, when my older kids were small, I would get really annoyed with parents who would defend their kids, even when their kids were brats and snots and other things I daren't type. I swore I would NEVER be one of those parents...if my kids were doing something they shouldn't be (or not doing something they should be), and they got caught, I would let them take their lumps. I might even give them a few myself!

As the years have gone by, I think I've let my kids take the lumps they have deserved, and honestly, there really haven't been that many horrible ones. I have pretty awesome kids. There have been a few occasions when someone wrongly accused my child and I stepped in and gave that person the what for. Nicely, mind you, because that's the way I roll. I'm nice.

But there is one situation where I'm starting to think I may have missed the boat, so to speak. My oldest son is a wonderful kid. He's got a stellar sense of humor, he's a good boy, he's a GREAT big brother, and he's quite bright. He is not, however, a great student. That is something that has bothered me intensely for the past six years. Mostly it has bothered me because I KNOW he is capable of doing better than he does, and it BUGS that he doesn't do it!

Anyway, we are now two short weeks away from High School Graduation, that bittersweet and exciting time of life. My sweet first-born, my little tow-headed boy, who towers over me and calls me WOMAN (as in, "WOMAN, bring me food!") will be leaving home in less than one month for a summer job in Alaska, then off on his mission. And we're still not sure if he's going to have a diploma to show for all the years of education.

And I have spent the past four years emailing teachers, sniffing out missing assignments, buying make-up packets, driving to summer school, figuring out on-line high school courses, attending tearful meetings with disgruntled teachers and nagging and begging and nagging and begging and nagging...you get the picture. It's been a long, hard slog, and I feel abused that I've had to do it.

Last night I had a revelation that made me want to put on my tigress face and get myself over to the high school. Imagine if you were in school and you were unprepared every single day. You never had your homework ready to turn in, you never studied for the test, you didn't really know what was going on. Would you continue going every single day? Or would you quit? EXACTLY!! Most of us would have thrown in the towel after the first year (or two?!!) of this, but my son DIDN'T QUIT. I think he knows he can do better, and one of the great mysteries of my life is why he hasn't done so. But I've let that mystery govern the way I've treated him the past 4-6 YEARS. The fact that he's kept going to school every day and been in class and TRIED is worth a lot more than ANYONE has given him credit for, including me.

So now that I realize that he's done what he's been able to do, which is to JUST KEEP SWIMMING, I want to go stick my bony finger in the face of a few of the teachers who are giving him grief and ROAR. (With terrible tigress breath and hot tigress spit flying in their faces and their hair blowing straight back--they will probably tremble with fear when I do this). LET HIM GRADUATE FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!!!

He won't get scholarships, he won't have an off-the-charts ACT score, he won't have awards for being the most amazing student, but he'll have a diploma that says "I hung in there when things were TOUGH."

A tigress would go to the high school and ROAR for her little cub. But I'm not a tigress and he's not really a little cub, and I feel embarrassed to even type this. I'm just a meek little mom who is probably going to let her son fend for himself and take his lumps. Should I roar or should I let him take care of himself?

Friday, May 8, 2009

8,000 Steps a Day

I am participating in a fitness challenge at work. We are supposed to walk an average of 8,000 steps a day. Dennis is helping me, and we go for a lovely walk in the evenings. We of course leave the children at home.

Isaac has been feeling left out, and he wants to participate. He is intrigued by my pedometer, and asks me several times a day how many steps I have taken so far. He also asks me to check the total to see how many steps I have taken since the challenge started (on Monday). He watches carefully when we get home and I stretch out, and when I do some random push ups and ab exercises, he does them with me. He has become my exercise buddy. (Nothing like a six year-old doing ten sit-ups to my one to make me feel older and more decrepit than I already do!!)

I go online to the challenge website where I can enter my total steps for the day. Isaac wants to see what place I am in, you know, compared to the 1,000 or so other individuals who are also doing this fitness challenge. He was disappointed last night to find out that I am in 526th place. (Yeah, cuz the first place person, in just three days, has walked/run about 144,000 steps. I wonder....)

Well, Isaac has "hitched a plan" (that's what my kids say when they have a great idea...). He is going to get his own pedometer, and he's going to "be on my team." He wants to add his steps to mine so I can be higher than 526th place. I don't suppose I'll actually enter his steps online, but I most certainly will write them down and keep track of his little steps as he follows me around and we do our exercises together.

Last night, after I got home from a particularly unsatisfying and kind of painful walk/run, I was lying on the couch and Dennis was rubbing my sore feet and legs. Isaac came bounding down and asked if I was ready to do our exercises together. I almost cried. I almost cried because the thought of moving made we want to puke. I almost cried because my little man, my baby, wanted me to come and do exercises with him. He wanted to spend time with me.

I got up. And we did exercises. And I achieved 8,044 steps yesterday.