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The Miracle of Maturation

It is going to be a busy, busy week. It was a busy weekend, too. More on that, later. I spent some time this morning making a to-do list just for this week…it’s long. Really long.

But at least my schoolwork isn’t overwhelming on top of everything else. I found out that “Literary Movement” is a class about British Victorian literature. And what class did I just help Will pass (more than pass – I got him an A!) – yes, British Lit. There are only two of us in the class and so far, our work load has been really light. Even our final paper only has to be 1200 words in length, which is nothing. I could have doubled on classes this term if I had known. Oh well. The kids will be out of school in a week and a half and that will dramatically lessen my quiet time, so it’s probably just as well I’m not overly burdened right now.

I am doing my final paper on Silas Marner, I decided. I was introduced to that in a high school lit class nearly 30 years ago and loved it. I think I was the only one in the class who felt that way, though!

The professor sent both of us a message this week letting us know that we are off to a “great start” and basically, she’s swamped with all her other work right now and will get to us when she can. Alrighty, then!

Ben completely blessed my heart this morning. It was Senior Recognition at church where all the graduating seniors come up and they are prayed over and presented with a really nice Bible (the “Evidence Bible” – I need to look at Ben’s and see just what that is, really). Then, each senior shares his future plans. This made me a little nervous so I repeatedly practiced with Ben the simple words he ought to say – “I’m going to live at home and work. And then in a few years I’ll probably be moving to COC in Pella.” Nice, simple, easy to remember. Instead, Ben gets up there today and says in his halting, stammering, fumbling, but still able to understand manner, “Before I tell you all my plans, I need to give you some background information. Ever since my dad died, whenever I see my Grandpa Daniels, he always tells me, ‘Now you make sure you help your mom.’ So, that’s what I’m going to do after graduation. I’m going to live at home and help my mom out. Then, maybe in two or three years I would like to move to Pella and live at COC.”

That's my boy. Despite it all, he turned out.

I was very impressed by Sam, too, last week. He came home from school one day and clearly needed new tennis shoes. The ones I’d bought at the beginning of the school year had completely fallen apart. He wanted to know when we could go shoe shopping. So, I looked at the calendar and threw out a couple of days. He then asked, “Well, can you order shoes on-line?” You can, indeed. He then asked if I was to order on-line, where would I get them? Remembering that I had received a Penney’s coupon in the mail that day I said I’d probably start with that store. The next thing I knew, this kid had figured out how to go on the Penneys website, found the kid shoe tab, and picked out the pair he wanted! He called me over to the computer, pointed at his selection, and asked me to order them. So I did! I was really, really impressed (and kind of glad he doesn’t have access to my credit card information)!

I found out Des Moines is getting a Container Store later this year. I am so happy! I love, love, love that website, and now I’ll be able to browse aisles and aisles of organizing supplies instead…The store is replacing a natural foods store that just went in late last year. There is a glut of these "whole foods" type stores in the metro now so I'm not surprised it didn't make it. I'd rather spend my money on organizing totes than organic celery, anyway.

David mentioned last week that in a group of friends at church one night recently, one boy piped up that he (David) is “too mature” to which the others standing there quickly agreed. I thought that was interesting, mostly because when he was younger I used to think he was slightly young for his age. But he really has matured quite a bit in recent years. I’ve actually become convinced as time goes on that maturity takes care of nearly all the worries we parents tend to have about our kids. Of course, that maturation comes at different times for different kids.

And then there are moments that you just shake your head. This same child whose friends are proclaiming is “too mature” came to me one day this week, holding out a long envelope. He was preparing to send off his needed work documents to Camp. He said, “I’ve been licking and licking this thing, but it just won’t stick!”

I looked at him and then calmly removed the adhesive backing from the lip of the envelope.

This weekend was Prom Alternative for the boys. They had a nice time. They went to a fancy restaurant and then came back to church for senior recognition and movies. Ben and David came home late rather than sleep at church. I don’t blame them. They needed to be back at church the next morning by 8 for breakfast and a long bike ride on the High Trestle Trail up by Madrid. David drove the truck around to the alley to load up the bikes – and the truck wouldn’t start again. I was busy getting the Littles ready to leave. I had been asked to drive up to Woodward to help make a fancy lunch for the kids after their ride. David was panicking. I showed him how to use the portable charger but the truck still didn’t want to charge. Argh! So then I had him bring the van around and we both learned how to jump vehicle to vehicle, something neither one of us had ever done before. It worked, thankfully! Well, and I was praying pretty hard, too.

Even with that, I still made it to Tammy’s in time. The plan was that I would pick her up and Arien would watch the Littles. David then called and said the youth leaders wanted me to swing by church and help load stuff there, so we did. And then we had nice hour to talk while we drove up to Woodward. I don’t think we’d talked like that in a year and a half or more. It was nice. And needed.

And then we got up to Woodward and found the little enclosed shelter and I was so thankful it was enclosed because it was a COLD, windy day. There were a couple of other ladies there and we made baked potatoes and grilled steaks and porkchops and toasted some garlic bread and made a fruit salad. We set the table with nicer dishes and Tammy and I had stopped for flowers on the way with which to decorate the table.

The kids stumbled in from their 12 mile bike ride and were very ready to eat. I was amazed that Ben had ridden for the entire route!

Eventually, we had everything all packed up and then Tammy and I stopped at Nathanael and Janie’s. They live right there in the Woodward area. I got to see their house for the first time and it’s nice to see the leap that he has made from graduating just four years ago to now being a homeowner of a very nice house, a husband, and expectant dad. I told Tammy it must feel really good to have one child completely settled – only 7 more to go for her!

The other night after being present for the photo shoot for Prom Alternative, Will and the Littles and I went to Pizza Hut to use up some of the kids’ book it rewards from this school year. I was really hoping the cashier wouldn’t look too closely at the certificates since I was pretty sure they expire after 30 days. He didn’t. Our entire meal cost less than it would have to eat at home. We were sitting around talking and the subject of honeymoons came up (wonder why that is on Will’s mind?) Lizzie didn’t catch all of that, just the part about it not mattering where you go and she interjected quickly, “Unless you go to hell.” I suppose that’s true.

So, it’s graduation time again. I find that my emotions and heart are a jumble of emotions right now. I’m so pleased for Ben and proud of him and I’m stressed at the same time with all the party planning. Plus, I still haven’t heard back from Hy-Vee so I don’t even know for sure yet what’s happening for him once he gets that diploma. But it’s an emotional time. I remember it was with Will, too. I find my mind doing a quick replay of the past 19 years, wondering how it slipped through my fingers so awfully fast. Did I do it all right? Was I the best possible mom he could have had? And I already know the answer to that – of course not. I screwed up plenty of times. But, hopefully, I did more things right than wrong. The kids don’t have to have a perfect childhood – just a pretty good one.

But on top of all that there’s now the death element. I remember at the beginning of the school year Ben was saying he didn’t want graduation to arrive because he was afraid I would die like Paul did right after Will’s. Forever, graduation parties and sudden death are entwined in all our minds and emotions. He hasn’t said anything like that since, so maybe he’s worked through that fear already. But there’s a huge contrast now as I remember similar events – getting the house ready for people, but last time it was with Paul. Planning a menu – with Paul. Having help – from Paul – with everything. Squeezing Paul’s hand during graduation because he was more of a mess than I was. And then there was the satisfaction after the graduation and party were all over because we had done it – not only had we gotten through graduation and managed to feed 200 people and given Will a night to remember, but we had launched our first child into adulthood. And there were pretty clear signs already we had done it successfully.

Everything is so different this time as I do similar things.

But it’s ok, too.

We're going to be ok.

We are ok.


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