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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Chronicles of Growing Up

Nearly three years ago I started this little blog.  In January of 2011 I shared my first post.  It wasn't anything earth shattering.  I didn't do anything that hadn't been done by someone else, but for me it was something big.  For me it was the beginning of making sure I keep my kids' stories safe.  I want them to know what life was like for me as I did the most important job of my life.  I want them to know how important their childhoods, teenage years and growing up are to me.  So I began chronicling life raising them.  

Three years ago, much like now, was an exciting time in our lives, full of new experiences.  I had four kids in three different schools.  For the first time ever, I had two high schoolers — a freshman and a senior.  I had a brand new middle schooler and one who remained at our beloved elementary school.  When I say I had four kiddos, it's because we were fortunate to have Jan, our fabulous exchange student, living with us at the time.  He was our senior and brought with him a host of new experiences as I learned and lived the life of a mom with a senior in high school.   Zach was our freshman, and he was looking 15 square in the eyes with his focus on the prize of his learner's permit.  Lucas had just started sixth and we began experiencing the "joys" another middle school boy.  At that point, Claire remained our constant and our elementary schooler.  Part of the reason I began this blog was to chronicle life with Zach and his journey toward a little freedom in the form of the holy grail we call a driver's license.  It's been a year and a half since Zach earned his right to experience a taste of freedom with his first solo drive, and I've kept my blog going, not with the same fervor as I began it, but it's still going strong and I'm enjoying every minute I get to sit down and share my thoughts on life as a parent.  The chronicling of life's events has become almost second nature to me now, and it's time to buckle down and make sure I have this year in the books.

This year.  This year is going to be bigger and harder than years past.  Zach will graduate in June of 2014 and will fly from my little nest into the big, wide world of college when the new school year begins in August.  It's a year of bittersweetness.  I love having all of my little ducklings here with me.  But that's not how life works.  We raise them to let them go.  In the 17 years I've had the pleasure of being a mom, I realize now life moves fast.  Most of the time it moves at warp speed with me just barely hanging on.  That will be this year. 

But this year I have not just one looking at freedom.  This year I have two are looking at their own version of freedom.  Tomorrow Lucas will be 15.  He is now our freshman in high school.  He is the one zeroing his focus in on the prize of his own learner's permit, God help us all.  This year, I have two major life's events toward growing up to chronicle.  

15 years ago today, I was 10 days shy of turning 30.  My fifth wedding anniversary was 22 days away and I was hugely pregnant with Lucas, anxiously awaiting his arrival.  15 years ago today, I didn't have a hope in hell of chronicling life with two little ones, living in a foreign country, nearing a milestone birthday and a small milestone anniversary.  Today, I'm 10 days away from 45 ~ yes, I said it.  I'm almost 45.  No longer am I 25 and however many months (it's actually 240 months).  I've accepted it.  I can say I'm 45.  Stan and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage in 22 days.  And tomorrow we'll celebrate the birth of my favorite 15 year old blond boy.  15 years has flown by and I can only hope to capture what I couldn't so many years ago.

So I will begin...  

Zach is off with his peeps, doing what he loves ~ hanging out with his fabulous group of young men and women.  As of yesterday, he's finished his first, and maybe only, college application (if he gets his early acceptance to his college of choice he won't apply anywhere else).  He is certain of his choice in schools.  I hope they can sense his certainty.  So, now his waiting begins and he'll wait with his peeps.

Lucas.  Any of you who have followed this blog from the beginning know about Lucas.  You know about his character, his charm, his sweetness and his goofiness.  Some who are just beginning to follow me and my blog are just learning about him so I'll share with you what I wrote to an old friend who has recently come back into my circle of friends.    

The other day I posted on Facebook about Lucas and his less than stellar hockey season.  My sweet friend responded with a private message and some words of wisdom about how to handle his "lackluster season," as she called it.  These were her words of wisdom (trimmed and edited to keep her information private, not all are comfortable sharing what I share)...

"....Now to pass on some advice (some teasing, some true): .... 2. Lucas and the lackluster ice hockey team: remind him that by playing superior teams, their team will improve too. Don't you find that to be true with tennis opponents? There is also a wonderful skill to being able to survive loss gracefully that carries people through many of life's challenges. Finally, if you never lose, then you don't enjoy winning. .... 3. Cheer like a madwoman for Lucas and his teammates. They are not losers. They are noble sportsmen."

In all of her advice, she is dead on. But what she didn't know is that Lucas embodies her advice every day. This is what I shared with her, and with Lucas as well, last night... 

"As for Lucas...he will succeed like no other....Lucas has known every adversity. He couldn't hear due to chronic ear infections. He couldn't see. He was diagnosed with off-the-charts, severe ADHD. He's lived life in his big brother's shadow. He's been cut from hockey teams more often than we can shake a stick at. And somehow he's always managed to live life with a smile on his face and his heart on his sleeve. He's an incredible kiddo and I couldn't be more proud of how he has accepted every challenge life has thrown at him. The last time he was cut from his hockey team he asked me to go to the first game so he could put his helmet on, sit on the bench and open the doors for his former teammates as they prepared for their shifts on the ice. He sat on the bench with the coach who cut him and he cheered for his former team with unrivaled enthusiasm. I had to leave him there. He is far more brave, giving and loyal than I will ever be. As for cheering for Lucas, Claire says she can hear me, and only me, outside of the walls of the rink. She says my voice is much louder than most! These kiddos of mine will always have my loudest voice cheering them on!! "

I will continue on ~ chronicling life here in our house, because the Chronicles of Growing Up are for the love of my children....

  


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