Monday, June 18, 2012

The Kids Are Alright

Well, graduation is here at last, and Carolyn is finally getting to walk across the stage.  Amanda took her turn across the boards earlier this week down in Virginia Beach -- more on that in a bit.  It does feel strange to me, having two kids leaving High School behind and heading off into the world.  I'm excited for more than just the usual reasons (like getting some lebensraum back in the house).  It's pretty cool to see the end result of so many years of work, both on our part as parents and theirs as students.  It's been a journey fraught with challenges, none more than in the past four years.

Like I mentioned earlier, Amanda graduated last week down in Virginia Beach.  No invitations sent, and only phone calls to Mom when she finally DID decide to invite us.  Part of the problem lies in the toxic environments -- the one she creates, as well as the one that is already down there.  Way too much drama for me, and way too much drama for Kelley.  I have work this week that cannot be missed, and Kelley had a few must-meet medical appointments.  So no, we did not get to go.  I don't feel bad for myself or Kelley at this point.  Mostly I feel sad for Amanda.  She's still trying to manipulate and run her games on her Mom.  The major reason she wanted us there at the last minute (as far as I can determine) was that her Aunt and Uncle backed out at the last moment, due to some real or imagined slight.  Nothing like being someone's second choice...  My only hope is that someday she'll start to figure out that letting your temper lead your thinking is a sure-fire way to end up with a lot of regrets in life.  I know personally that it's true -- and there are a few situations that I would dearly love to do over.

Carolyn's excited for graduation, and getting ready to go on with life.  Her plans are to go to NoVA (a local Community College) for the next two years to pick up her lower division, then transfer to James Madison for her upper division.  Staying in-state is cheaper by far, and with the pretty much 1:1 acceptance for credit hours with Virginia universities getting her Freshman/Sophomore stuff done at NoVA is a smart plan indeed.  Extra bonus: she'll be hanging here rent/board free as long as she's in school and pulling down the Good Grades.  I don't count it as a "Failure to Lauch" at all, rather a pleasant opportunity to continue to hang out and do cool things .

My job as a parent and as a father, has been to prepare them for living on their own in the real world the best that I can.  It started back when Kelley and I first got married, and I took on the responsibility of raising two (later three) small girls.  Years of running back and forth between elementary school and child care, a few years doing the Home School thing when we were stationed on Bolling AFB, dealing with the advanced nastiness that a sudden re-immersion into the public school system at a High School level brought us.  There's been any number of challenges over the years, and for the most part I've tried not to lead with my chin too often.

Still and all, I'm proud of my work, and proud of my girls.

Ostensibly Yours,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Oh,The Weather Outside Is Frightful

 It's cherry-blossom time again here in Northern Virginia. A time when the warmth of Spring is first felt... OK, this year we've had an extraordinarily mild Winter and Spring actually showed up a tad bit early. Like mid-February early.  A sad disappointment for those wishing for a White Christmas or another Snowpocalypse, a blessing for those of us on two wheels who prefer their pavement nice and dry, thank you. Not that I wouldn't mind riding on snow if I were appropriately equipped.

As mentioned, it is indeed cherry-blossom time.  A time when the very first Tourists of the season are spotted in the Tidal Basin area, forcing most locals to flee the area cursing and seek shelter in the nearest pub, wine bar, or other watering hole.  Living away from the DC area has its benefits: not having to deal with the annual influx of confused and lost out-of-towners driving in random directions, and not having to deal with the irrational and self-absorbed residents of the District who also tend to drive in random directions.

So when Kelley and I looked out of our window earlier this week, we both said at the same time, "Wow! It looks like it's snowing out there!"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The more things change...

So here we are, Carolyn and I, back in the Emergency Department for a kidney infection.  We've been doing this together for a long time. I  remember a lot of midnight drives with her raving in Kelley's arms as her fever topped 104°F. Hours turning into days as we sat in hospital, scared that we were going to lose her. Scared that she would lose kidney function permanently  and spend the rest of her life on dialysis.  Just plain scared mostly.

I thought it would become easier as she got older. Doctors said she would outgrow the reflux eventually and the infections would become a thing of the past. No more midnight drives. It's been quite  a few years since her last one. I thought we were all done with this.  And yet...

Here we are, Carolyn and I. Back in the E.R. together. As family traditions go, this one I wish had never been established. She's nineteen now, a fine young woman in every sense. She is in charge of her life and taking care of her self.

And I'm still scared. Still worried about her, just like always. My Dad told me that your kid's arrival heralds the last decent night's sleep you'll have. Too true by half. She's nineteen - you'd think I would have learned to relax a bit by now...

Parenthood is defined by worry, I guess. I no longer get up in the middle of the night to check on her like I did when she was little. I haven't sat by her bed and rubbed her back to soothe her to sleep in ages. The worry is still there though, as I have discovered this ayem. All the old terrors clambered up from my subconscious and made themselves right at home again.

So here we are, Carolyn and I. Together again. Just like always.

Ostensibly Yours,


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Write Away

As you can tell, there's been a great span of time since last we spoke.  There's a lot that's been going on: changes in life, changes in work, changes everywhere.  I kinda left the blog just hanging, mostly because I got swept under by all the minutiae of keeping my family (mostly) intact, my wife's health somewhat intact, and my sanity (semi) intact.

Not to say that things are All Better Now, but most of the really aggressive change management seems to have passed at last.  Now we're just left with the simple things.  Things like dealing with a landlord that is somewhat reclusive and not truthful on most occasions. Things like dealing with my wife's health STILL not being the best.  Things like preparing the eldest for college, the youngest for middle school, and learning not to worry so much about the middle.

So, resolved: More content, more discussion, more posts.  Time to get back in the habit, and write something every day.  Right away.  Watch this space for details, as there are updates a-comin' folks.

Ostensibly Yours,