Tag Archives: teenagers

Kate’s Day

March 21, 2012

Dear Kate,

Happy 18th Birthday!

This is the first playlist for your next iPod . Some of the songs in this list are there for obvious reasons. Most of these are songs that you know. “Summer Before the War” is a Connie Dover song about the summer before Great Britain entered WWII. When you put the songs together, they tell a story. We hope it will be your life’s story. Do everything you can to make it so.

  • No matter what life brings, “We Hope You Dance” through everything.
  • Celebrate your “Independence Day!”, the first of many waiting for you.
  • Don’t ever get to a place in your life when you have to say “I Wish I Had a Horse.”
  • Always remember that you come from a long line of folks who hail from the “Boondocks.”
  • Those same folks were “Born Free.”
  • When you look at your “Reflection”, don’t ever hide from who you really are because “You’re Beautiful, just the way you are.”
  • Go to “Ireland”, to Great Britain, to Europe. Learn as much as you can about the “Summer Before the War” , and the years and decades that followed it.
  • Share what you learn with everyone you know, so that you never have to ask the question “Have You Forgotten?”
  • Express yourself with the “Colors of the Wind” and be “That Girl” you know you wanna be.
  • Always remember to go “Down to the River to Pray.”
  • Once you get to “The River”, jump in and swim. Live your dreams.
  • Keep your eyes open. “Don’t Blink”, because if you do you will miss the important stuff, and you don’t “Wanna Miss” any of it.
  • “Years” will go by much quicker than you can imagine. Always remember that you have a home. Time, distance, life and death can never separate you from us. Nor can they separate you from God.

With all our love,

Mom and Dad

“ I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

Jeremiah 29:11 The Message


In the shadowlands

In the shadowlands

Time, frozen yet frantically

passing. He sees life.

I took my son to New York. Only time will tell f the trip had any affect on him, desired or otherwise. Our flight was delayed an hour out of Charlotte due to “traffic into LaGuardia”. I think that meant it was raining in New York, because it was when we finally arrived. Raining hard.

Our approach to LGA took us right up the East River, just after sundown. The look on Wubby’s face as he was the Manhattan skyline for the first time was worth the sacrifice of free plane tickets to Cielo in January.  We were supposed to take a cab from LGA to Grand Central and then the train to South Norwalk. The delay tossed those plans right out onto the tarmac in Charlotte. Luckily, we have an amazing friend in Alecto, who very generously sent a car for us that deposited us in her driveway at approximately the same time our (missed) train was leaving Grand Central.

I felt kinda bad because our delay caused Alecto to miss bikram Thursday night, but I got over it when she fed us homemade meatballs and marinara sauce. Bedtime came  quickly, and Homer graced me with his presence on the bed for the duration. Wubby swears Ally (Allie?) the tortoise shell kitty came out of the bedroom where I was passed out with Homer, and I do vaguely remember waking up  during the night and thinking, “there’s a cat sleeping on me!”, but decided I dreamed it. I never saw this particular cat during our stay, but Alecto swears she has two cats. Whatever.

Friday was rest-up day. Alecto left us her car, bless her heart, and I got to practice driving like a Connecticut yankee. Fun. I haz some. Took Wubby to the bank so he could get some folding money. We discovered downtown Weston, CT–because we didn’t blink as we drove past. I’m not supposed to say what we would call Weston here in the NC Piedmont (strip mall, with class.) Suffice it to say that found Weston to be a very quaint little town square indeed. I can’t believe the elementary school kids aren’t scarred for life for having attended Hurlbutt Elementary, though.

After a leisurely afternoon nap, we were treated to dinner at the Roadhouse. If you’re from my neck of the woods and you can remember what the Fourth Street Filling Station was like when it was Shober’s, then you’re close to the Roadhouse, particulary in the winter when the firewas stoked at Shober’s. That was a long time ago.

Next up: Wubby goes to bikram, then hits the big city.

what the heck happened?

Captain Phil Harris said, and I quote (edited for PG audience, that is): “Sometimes you make things happen; sometimes you watch things happen; and sometimes you wonder what the heck happened!”

I think I’m in the middle of all three phases with Wubby. I wish I knew where he is, metaphorically speaking that is. I know where he is…I think. I think he’s between classes on the next to last day of what looks to be the divorce of Wubby from college.

It’s absolutely pouring rain right now, which is appropriate. If I can’t cry, then at least the sky can do it for me.

The rain comes in waves. One minute it pours; the next minute it quits. Then it drizzles like it can’t make up its mind about what to do with itself.

That’s Wubby. When he started college he was 25 miles away, living on campus. He was also seriously involved with his much younger girlfriend, spent as much time here at home as he did at school, and it lasted one semester.

Then he came home, signed up at the local community college, continued with the girlfriend and bombed that semester as well. He took last summer off, came back to it last fall and produced a 4.0 average.

This semester has been a roller coaster. Started out high. Then the break-up with the girl. He got a job right before the holidays and has continued working, picking up a second job recently. He found some old friends from high school and earlier and has been spending time with them. Lots of time. As in coming home in the wee hours the night before an 8:00 AM class. Doesn’t work.

I asked him recently if he’d been doing his best this semester. No. Agreed. I asked him why. Interesting answer, something about the freedom of not having girlfriend, combined with lack of motivation because his dad and I told him to get his act together, find an art school or some other appropriate institution, and get busy because we were through with paying for failing grades at community college. In other words, it’s our fault. It’s my fault.

I’m wondering why it matters so much to me, when it doesn’t appear to matter to Wubby. Maybe it will matter to Wubby in time; he just needs to come to the realization himself that he is almost 21 and needs to become self-sufficient.

All I know is that I look at my baby boy, marvel at the artistic and musical talent God gave him, watch him struggle, and turn on the tape recorder inside my head that repeats “It’s your fault. You are the one who is failing him. You are the one who has failed, again. You were not good enough for him. Not good enough. Not good enough.”

I don’t know what to say to Wubby. We’ve told both of our kids that, no matter what the problem is, the best course of action is to tell us what’s going on and not to hide it. I know it’s counter-intuitive to the nature of a teenager, but still. I’d rather hear it from the horse’s mouth instead of from the gossip vine at the racetrack.

This semester ends Wednesday. Saturday we are leaving for a week at the beach, which was scheduled to coincide with the week between semesters. Guess that wasn’t all that important after all. But we all need a break from the grind.

Proverbs 22:6, from the Message: “Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

OK then.

Back to school, sort of


Wubby came home from college for Christmas break and stayed. His first semester of on-campus college was “unsatisfying”. I love that word in that context; stole it from “The Breakfast Club” which is the best high-school movie ever.

Yesterday he and I went to the local community college and registered for the semester. It took a while because we had to go back to his high school and get a transcript and then go back to campus. There’s all this great technology the schools use in NC. NCWISE: every high school student in NC has a NCWISE ID. Their teachers use this site to store grades, etc. Then there’s CFNC, where high school students register and apply online for any college they choose, request that transcripts be sent to those colleges, check on their enrollment status w/ the colleges, etc.

You’d think that in our advanced technological society these 2 systems could somehow communicate such that yesterday, when the community college needed his transcript, they could have gone online somewhere and requested it, then had it certified and delivered electronically.

You’d be wrong.

So, we drove into Winston-Salem, back down here to the high school, back to Winston-Salem, then to another campus 15 miles east where he will have English on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I was uneasy about Wubby and all this college stuff. I wonder what went wrong. Did we not prepare him adequately? Did he goof off? Probably some of both.

So today he started the semester, went to his first class and met up with a friend from middle school that he hadn’t seen in three years or so. Good sign. His second class is a religion class that’s taught by a good friend of ours. She’s told me several times that she’s been impressed by conversations she’s had with the Wub regarding his faith and spirituality. Another good sign. The third class is Western Civ II; seems you can take history survey classes out of order. Anyway, he called when he got out and immediately said “I love my Wester Civ professor!”

Three for three. We’ll see about English tomorrow and hope for a home run.

But I said “we” went to register yesterday.

I’m taking Chemistry. I didn’t take it in college. I may need a job sometime in the next 4 years, and there this Nanotechnology program that looks like my kind of stuff: math, science, physics, with a tiny bit of engineering thrown in.

Really. I took Engineering Calculus at Virginia Tech, in summer school (4 hours of calculus a day, every day), for fun. I wanted to know why the engineering majors were failing it and changing majors. I aced it, and had a blast.

Yes, Virginia, there’s still a geek in here.

Did I mention, the chemistry class is 100% online?

So, I come in this morning to log on and get started and I can’t log on. Tried everything. Went down their list of potential problems: was my caps lock key on? did I put the userid in correctly? did I enter everything exactly as instructed, including the case-sensitive stuff?

Yep. Yep. Yep.

I changed the settings on my firewall.

I took the firewall down.

I tried IE7 and Mozilla 3.


Wubby gets home and we see if he can log on, since it’s the school site and everyone has an email account there, plus some other junk, even if not taking an online course.

Well, yeah, he can get on just fine.

Must be me.

I called the help desk and, of course, had to leave a message. They haven’t called me back yet.

I hope it’s not a sign.

P.S. I just tried to post this and the post failed. It’s a sign.

Fun with teenagers

Gotta love these kids!

worth the risk

The contractor finished up this morning, and we now have a new house on the outside. The inside is still a mess, and now I have no excuses for not “getting my house in order.”

Time to start thinking up some, huh?

Tomorrow is Hubby’s birthday, and it’s also ‘Freshman Academy’ day at Little Girl’s high school. She’s really, really, REALLY not thrilled about going. But, sometimes we all have to do things we’re not not thrilled about, don’t we? Like me and the clutter. So, tomorrow she’s going to F.A., I’m going to my Thursday morning Truth Project study, tomorrow afternoon I’ll start where I left off in cleaning out Wubby’s room, bless his heart. Then we get to celebrate Hubby’s birthday. Delayed gratification. (Wubby’s room, and the contents therein: could be an excellent inspiration for NaNoWriMo!)

Wubby was not thrilled about high school. He had been to a middle school that was not a feeder for his high school. So, in order for him to engage in high school, he had to take some risks, put himself out there, make an effort to to meet new people, yak yak. Now he’s started college, and we’re having those same conversations with him, again. Is it a guy thing or what? I really don’t understand this. I changed schools tons of times, nine or ten anyway, and I will admit that I got tired of “putting myself out there” after a while. But, I did participate in some club stuff, music ensembles and such, and those things made a difference in how I experienced high school then, and how I remember it now. The Wub, on the other hand, went to class. Period. And his perception now is that high school stunk, everyone hated him, more yak yak.

Little Girl is shy, like her mom. Her friends love to say things to her like “Would you not talk so much? Gosh!” Behind her shyness, though, is a sparkling personality, an amazing intellect, and a blossoming wicked sense of humor. I want her to take the risk and let some people see that incredible side of her that only we get to see.

There’s a quote I picked up from an episode of “Seventh Heaven” a few years back. I don’t remember it verbatim, but it was something like this:

I know how scary it can be to hear your own voice, and what a risk you take when you put it out there.

It’s true, but the rewards are worth the risk. Heck, I was nice to a guy I barely knew in 10th grade because he was in a leg brace. Was it risky? Yep. Was it worth it? Yep.

He married me, bless his heart.

of summer camps and contractors

(The video is a spoof on a series of videos called ‘Carter the Church Assistant’, a hit from last year and this year’s Centrifuge camp. Some of our kids put this together; the church staff willingly participated, bless their hearts. And the star of the show…well, he’s a friend of mine.)

I have this theory. Actually it’s two theories on potential income-producing ventures. The first one: summer camp for adults only. Picture it. Sleeping in dorm rooms where you can stay up giggling ’til all hours of the morning. Complaining about the yukky camp food and pigging out on donuts and trail mix. Dividing up into teams and participating in team-building activities…or not. Playing silly games involving water, shaving cream, relay races, baby food and frisbees. Soccer. Volleyball. Swimming. Canoeing. Horseback riding.

In short, a place where an adult can be a kid for a week.

I’ve been going to Fuge for 4 years now as a chaperone. Fuge is a Christian summer camp experience for teens and is just way too much fun. Sometimes being a chaperone isn’t as much fun, like this year when we had two kids in the emergency room at two different hospitals the first evening. One had an injury to his hand when it was in the way of a slamming door. The other became very ill very quickly and had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. The responsibilities of being a grown-up, scary stuff.

That’s why I think summer camp for grown-ups would be a hit.

Here’s the other theory: I truly believe that someone with a contractor’s license who will do a good job, in a timely manner, could make a decent living. I remember when my parents built their house and what a nightmare it was. Constant delays, miscommunications (a polite way to say….outright lies), broken promises, yak yak yak.

We contracted to have some work done on our house. Contract was signed in May, work to be done within 6-8 weeks. At first, work was starting the week of July 7. But that didn’t happen. Then it was scheduled to begin last Friday. Hubby was going to camp with us and we could have used him. But he didn’t go because they were going to start working on the house before we got home from camp on Saturday.

But that didn’t happen either. So, work was going to start Monday. Got a call Sunday night. Not coming on Monday. Got another call Monday night. They would be here first thing Tuesday morning. Got yet another call 30 minutes later. They wouldn’t be here first thing Tuesday morning.

My son leaves for college August 13. Maybe they can start working on the house after we get him settled in the dorm. But I’m not crossing my fingers on it. Has anyone ever had a good experience with a contractor? I’d love to know.