Sunday, May 27, 2012

What Really Matters

"The _________ Scholarship is awarded to three students. The students selected for this award have exhibited the following traits; integrity, loyalty to friends, responsibility, industriousness, competitive involvement in school activities, sincerity and honesty. This year's recipients will receive a scholarship which will be paid to the university of their choice. This year's recipients are:
1. __________
2. __________
3. My younger son!"

I was surprised at the Senior Honors Assembly when my son received this award. I had attended the function, thinking he was going to receive a plaque for community involvement. It turns out that will be sent to him. And as it turns out, this award is far, far better because it involves a substantial monetary amount that will alleviate my freaking out over the cost of college textbooks for both Freshman year semesters and then some!

In a way, this award is a fitting symbol of our journey up to this point. It really signifies what has been most important to me in raising my sons on my own. Not that these traits wouldn't have been important had my husband remained alive. It is that since his death, I have realized how much more of value these traits are.

When I related these traits to someone who knows my son, he nodded and agreed that they are an accurate description of him.


To know that my son, as well as my eldest, have learned and incorporated these traits into their beliefs and actions makes me truly proud. Because these are traits that I have tried to live my life by. Widowhood has been a great challenge for me. I joke that I have not been a particularly successful widow. But joking aside, to reach this point with the knowledge that despite all the hardships and difficulties, there is some success, brings a measure of comfort.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Bit of Comfort and Peace

It is hard for me to believe that my oldest has successfully completed his first year of college! He just got his second semester grades - all As except for a C+ in English. His professor was very difficult - she failed him on one paper for using the wrong font and another because he only turned in 4 1/2 pages instead of 5. I told him it wouldn't be a full college experience without having a tough professor. He'll be telling stories about her 10 years from now!

When I dropped him off last August I didn't really know how he would do academically. He was a lack luster high schooler. I hoped for the best and he exceeded my expectations. There were plenty of kids on his dorm floor that flunked out first semester. One guy he told me, NEVER attended any of his classes! So I am proud and relieved! It all worked out. And it did go quickly looking back.

My youngest has just two days of official school left. I was called on Wednesday by the school and invited to the Senior Honors Assembly because my son will be receiving an award. The school told me not to tell him because they want the kids to be surprised but he suspects he will be getting something. He is in a very strange, moody spell. I know he isn't happy that he has to have surgery on his shoulder the end of this month but it is not an option. Anyway, he told me he doesn't want me to attend the honors assembly because "high school is stupid." And now he doesn't want to even walk in his graduation although he will be receiving a special tassel. I suspect the award is for community involvement and citizenship - when the guidance office called, they didn't know what the kids were getting. They just got a list of the student names. Now he is telling me that he did a lot of his high school activities to help bolster his college applications so because his efforts weren't entirely unselfish, he shouldn't be getting an award.

Right now my son is participating in the American Cancer Relay for Life. Yes, it is because his Dad died of cancer. My oldest son, has been a big participant in this event too. And yes, my son is a regular blood donor as was his father. But the way I look at it, he is up and doing something - not sitting on his bottom like other kids. Last year there wasn't an award given for community involvement. I am proud and honored my son will be receiving it this year and only wish he wasn't in so much of a weird, end-of-senior-year-funk.

Raising two boys through late childhood and their teenage years on my own has sure had its trying moments! I keep trying to believe when all is said and done, that what I'll remember the most will be the good times and not the bad. That 10 years from now, hopefully what I'll most recall is the award my son received and not his demand that I not see him receive it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I have some spare time waiting for laundry so will post about a topic that usually makes me happy - my sons. I'll be picking up my college boy soon. It is hard to believe that he has finished his first year of college! If you had told me two years ago that we'd be able to get him to college at a state school instead of the local community college I would not have believed you. But we did it! And he has done so well!

I will purposely omit the story about his going to Volleyball Nationals in Kansas City for a week in March and only having a loaf of bread and package of cold cuts to eat along with some Ramen Noodles...

But anyway, when your kids leave home you end up hoping for the best - that they will be good citizens, law abiding, fair, honest, decent and so on. Not to mention hard working. My son became very concerned about his grades and GPA. In part, because he is paying for a large share of his schooling. He worked productively and was one of only about 7 students to get a job at the college Athletic Center for next year. He will be working in the equipment room and the head of the center told him that he interviewed the best out of the applicants. By the way, about 150 students applied for the Athletic Center jobs!

I asked him about his music composing because he has been so gifted at that. He told me that he has branched off in a new direction doing DJ stuff on the computer. He learned how to play the piano in three weeks and just got an A on his piano final. In his Vocal Jury, his professor came to him afterward which is not the norm, to tell him how well the jury all felt he had done. His music adviser heard his DJ compositions and told him to try selling them online now for commercial use. She said it is pretty amazing that he has only been involved in that type of composing since starting college, and has come up with some very top notch pieces. She further told him that music is a very tough business to be in but she believes that he truly has the talent to continue successfully in the field. So he is very fired up about continuing his music major.

My son worked as many hours as he could during all his school breaks and will continue at his local job here at home. But he can start at the Athletic Center early over the summer and is eager for that to begin. They love him there - he worked out every day and practiced for the volleyball team two nights a week so he already knows a lot of people there.

Although he would love to join a fraternity, he feels it might be too much to do so with his campus job and being on the volley ball team. Oh, I forgot to add, that they only took 9 team members to Nationals - as a Freshman that was a pretty exciting opportunity.

My son is happy to have a break from studying and is happy to see his friends from high school. But I told him that after a week he will probably want to go back to school! Haha.

My youngest has his shoulder surgery scheduled for May 30th. He only has 8 more days left of school and is so ready to be at college. He plans on becoming a Dorm Resident Adviser. He has done well academically the last years of high school and will be studying Business Marketing and Advertising. There is also interest in teaching like his dad so he might pursue that as well.

ALL of us are ready to find a new place to live out in the country. It would be ideal if we can get a place halfway between both of the boys' colleges. I will be looking at two places when I pick up my son. At this point we have only two more months left on my lease and time is of the essence to find a new home. It is becoming an exciting time of transition for all of us. Moving away is actually a good thing for all of us right now. It is symbolic of us going forward and reaching toward new directions. Moving also gives us a fresh, new start and that is something positive for my family as well.

Here is to the future and new beginnings - and to my sons continuing to open their wings - and to me flying forward!