Parent of a Graduate

IMG_0019[1]Once again my husband and I are wearing the title “Parents of a Graduate”.

We are not alone. You can spot a “Parent of a Graduate” anywhere – if you know the signs.

We are the ones with the shopping carts full of large quantities of single items holding three page lists doing mental math in the baking aisle.

The fifteen boxes of rice krispies and cart full of marshmallows tipped off the checker at our local grocery store. She gave me a questioning look and I said just, “She wants rice krispie treats for graduation.”

She then gave me a look of pity that said simply, “Ah, a graduation. I feel your pain.”

We parents of graduates understand the stress and joy of a spring with a commencement and Open House. We don’t even even need words.

As we pushed our cart full of purple Hawaiian punch and even more marshmallows through Wal-Mart, we caught the attention of another couple with a cart full of large quantities of a single item and a three page list.

Again, the questioning look.

My quick answer, “Rice krispie treats for graduation.”

She responds, “Twins.”

I sympathize, “Twice the good bye – but only one party.”

Our eyes meet as we wish each other good luck and we leave them in the chip aisle doing mental math with glazed looks as we went in search of large bags of M & M’s and an industrial size bottle of barbecue sauce.

My graduation table is full now of plates and cups and napkins. Soon the smoked turkey will all be roasted and in crock pots, the buns will be made and the rice krispie treats ready to serve.

The house will be clean and the lawn will be mowed and there will be no more busy work to distract us from the reality that is coming.

That it’s our child in that cap and gown.

It’s our baby that’s graduating.

And then the tears will fall.

Yes, I’m a parent of a graduate.

 

 

Well Done!

d43dc99d-6cf8-4e49-a9d3-29f894ded7bbShe did it!

Dagmar finished up the paramedic program and is a national exam away from being a full- fledged medic!

She graduated last weekend.

With high honors.

And a huge sigh of relief.

It’s been a tough road with long hours and lots of important information.

Twelve hour shifts followed by hours of classroom work.

Written tests.

Skills tests.

Lab work.

But she did it.

And she did it well.

At one point in the weekend as we shopped for her new apartment she laughingly said, “Look at me Mom, being the adult.”

I am looking, sweetie.

And I’m really proud of you!

Well done.

Broken Fences

b099e3ee-a45d-4f37-90c8-d3cf83e07397The far back corner of our property has some of the worst fences we own. It’s wooded and overgrown with raspberry thickets and multi-flora roses.

The barbed wire is old and weak. The woven wire is saggy.

We patch and we fix, knowing that what we really need to do is rip the whole thing out and put in new. But it just never makes it to the top of the to-do list.

It’s the weak spot in our defenses.

A few weeks ago a neighbor got a new bull – a noisy, take-charge type – that has let the entire countryside know of his arrival. His arrogant bellowing was a challenge to our cows.

It didn’t take them long to find the weak spot and push their way through. Twice.

A cow round-up gives one ample time to think, and I pondered the profound as I drove the 4 wheel drive through the neighbor’s rainy pasture.

I have personal weak spots.

There are areas in my life where my defenses are low, and I am the most vulnerable.

And it’s at those weak spots that the bellowing of the world will be heard the loudest; that the siren call to see what was on the other side will be the most alluring.

It’s in those vulnerable areas, that I will be tempted to push my way through and wander in areas that I don’t belong, away from the protected pastures that God has prepared for me.

There is no way that I can silence the neighbor’s arrogant bull, and there is no way to silence the call of the world around me.

But I can identify those weak spots.

Use scriptures like barbed wire to protect myself.

And fix that fence.

Sibling Weekend

It was sibling weekend.

I spent time at my parent’s with just my four siblings (and 2 of our spouses, but only four of our many children).

Our official goal was to help mom and dad with a few projects.

Our unofficial goal was sibling time with mom and dad, sharing old memories and creating new ones.

The time was both relaxed and busy.

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We scraped and painted.

Dug and planted.

Cut and piled.

We dug out old photo albums and remembered faces and places we hadn’t thought about in years.

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We looked through the boxes of school memories that Mom had saved for each of us.

Worksheets. Art projects. Report cards. School pictures. Writing assignments.

And laughed till we cried at the things we found!

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Before we went home, we took one more trip to grandpa’s barn to take some pictures before it is gone.

It’s bowed and leaning – but still full of memories.

And mice, and coons and probably rats and maybe even bats.

Some of us were brave enough to venture into the hay loft – hoping we were making enough noise to scare away any unwanted critters.

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But few of us ventured up that ladder my uncle set out for us. My sister found a way up on the inside – climbing bales of straw and hoisting ourselves up.

My descent from the loft included a very ungraceful slide down those same bales.

I went home with straw in my britches and a head full of dust – but it was worth it to be a kid again for a few minutes with my siblings.

And really – that’s what the weekend was all about.

Going back in time remembering people and places and things that we share together.

One of my dad’s friends often says, “I would like to be able to go back and put my feet under my Dad’s table.”

And that’s just what we did.

For a few days one weekend in April, we put aside the cares and responsibilities of our adult lives, put our feet under Dad’s table and remembered.

Mission accomplished.

 

 

Staff Photographer

When Angel Girl graduates next month, I will not only lose my baby girl (not gonna think about that – sniff, sniff), I will also lose my photographer.

Since she got her first point and shoot on her 11th birthday, she has been taking pictures.

Her first Nikon made her my official staff photographer.

253954_104202246340174_8270041_nIt seems like yesterday.

But actually it was 5 years and a new camera ago.

I knew this was coming, but it’s getting more real every day as school and work take more of her time.

She gifted me her first Nikon in an effort to make me face the facts – I have to learn to take my own pictures.

The first two weeks I just looked at it.

We don’t want to rush things you know!

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Finally the third week I picked it up – and didn’t break out in hives. This is a good thing.

It took at least another week to get up the courage to ask Angel Girl to show me what to do.

Once I released my death grip on the camera, my first lesson went well.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; I’m just hoping they’re wrong.

Or that Angel Girl never leaves.

Or maybe both.