Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013


It's Christmas! Time for me to fill you in on what we've been up to. We've been busy!

#1 is now 21 and is a Junior Chemistry Major at Virginia Military Institute.   How time flies!  And no, I’m not old enough to have a college junior. This fall he got to participate in Ring Figure and got his VMI Class Ring. VMI is the toughest college in the nation and their rings are hard earned!
#1 continues to sing in the Glee Club and play sax in the Regimental Band and Jazz Band. FYI: VMI’s musicians travel much further than their football team. He played for the Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC this past January, spent Mardi Gras in New Orleans marching in the Endimyon Parade, spent spring break in Florida with the Glee Club, and is looking forward to the Gubernatorial Parade in Richmond in January and the St. Patrick’s Day parade in March in Savannah.

LLB is a Freshman Applied Mathematics and Physics Major at VMI. (I can spell that!) How do they grow up so fast?! She graduated from high school in June. Her senior year was busy and full. She once again directed the Pit Orchestra for the spring musical, went to USC for an Honor Band Clinic, and ran track for the first time.  She did all of this while she took AP classes, did an independent study in Multivariable Calculus, and fought off the symptoms of Senioritis.  All of her hard work paid off and she received a 4-year Navy Scholarship as well as an Institute Honors Scholarship to VMI.  
LLB continues to play the trumpet and is also a member of the Regimental Band, the Jazz Band, and the Glee Club, as well as the Brass Ensemble. LLB has had an amazing fall. She was selected to play the Herald Trumpet, played a few Jazz gigs for pay, and got to see her brother get his ring at Ring Figure.   She was privileged to be able to attend the VMI vs. Citadel game with the Regimental Band in Charleston this fall. (As a freshman, or Rat - as they are called at VMI, her time off campus is extremely limited.) She is looking forward to Break Out – that time where they cease to be Rats and become full-fledged 4th Class Members of the Corps. She will march all those parades with Matt, and has been informed that the Brass Ensemble will be headed to Morocco next year. Unfortunately, they don’t need chaperones, so Mr and I will be here…
LLB likes to get off campus and away from the Cadre on Sundays, so she is playing handbells at the Lexington Presbyterian Church. She has a wonderful host family who provides her with a soft place to land between church and rehearsal.

There is so much more to tell, but I’m running out of space…

Mr works. He enjoys sawing fallen trees with his chain saw and mowing our acreage with his tractor in his spare time.  Once a month, he plays bass guitar in the Church Folk and Gospel band.  I direct a handbell choir and am active in the Prayer Shawl ministry at a local United Methodist Church.  We are involved in the VMI Parents Council and a half dozen other volunteer committees. Basically, we keep busy.   

Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Empty Nest

So I read this page called Mamapedia. There was this one post where the mother wanted to know if An Empty Nest is Cause for Celebration. Well, yeah... Duh!

I posted an answer over there and since I really liked my answer, I'm going to post it over here for posterity.

Every step children take is a step away from mom and dad, but that is how it should be. 

I've been called "overprotective". I've called "over-involved". I've been called "a terrific mom". I've been called a lot of names over the years, but so what? I do what is best for my family, my children, and me. Yes... me. (It's not selfish. It's self preservation. I'm more than "just a mom".) We are a close knit family, but everyone needs space.

Heck, I'm the mom who clicked her heels when the kindergarten bus drove out of sight. Does that make me a bad mom? No. It makes me an honest mom. 

When it is time for my daughter - my youngest - to head to college this summer, I will be more than happy and extremely proud of her and her accomplishments. It is time for her to go and live her life. Her. Life. 

Will I click my heels? Maybe. Will I shed a tear or two? Probably. Will I grab Mr's hand and run for the car? You bet! It will be time for us... time for us to go back to being the couple we were 21 years ago before we had children.

We have worked toward that day starting with small steps of letting go. We got babysitters for date nights. We let them walk next to us without holding hands. We let them go to birthday parties and day camp. We let them make decisions - even if we thought they might make the "wrong" ones. We let them learn consequences. We let them go to overnight camp. We took them to the DMV to get the driving permit. We let them apply to colleges near and far and we let them choose the institution that they believe will serve them best.

Upon graduation from their colleges of choice, they will go on to see the world and do amazing things. I'm sure that they will come home -- to visit. So - am I looking forward to my children leaving? Yes. Yes I am. When it's time, it's time.

They will always be in our hearts, but they don't have to be underfoot forever...

LLB is getting ready to head off to college this summer. Where? We aren't sure just yet, but wherever she ends up it will be the right place for her. It will be bittersweet when we drop her off, but it will be time.