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First date

This weekend Mythankfulboy had his first date – the kind where the date’s mom drives them to a movie and home immediately after.  It was last-minute, and he was at his dad’s so I didn’t get to meet them, but B was quite tickled with the whole thing.  The last thing I texted him before he left was, “Have fun and impress her mother”, and he responded, “Yes ma’am.”  About an hour after he got back to his dad’s he texted me again asking if I’d come pick him up and take him to meet some of our friends for a slice of pizza, which turned, then, into ice cream as well.  He was pinging off the walls, partly because we were being spontaneous and he was seeing friends he’s missed, but he was clearly already on a high.  Adorable.

Baseball, on the other hand, seems to be deteriorating.  It is raining now, and he sent me a text at work that the game was canceled and he was glad.  Ugh.  Of course, it means it was rescheduled on the only night this week he didn’t have a game…

It was late when we got home last night after swimming for a bit at a friend’s house.  We did the chalice from opposite side of the bathroom door.  I called, “What are you thankful for kiddo?” and he yelled, “Swimming and a good night.  What about you?”  I yelled back, “I’m thankful for time with friends”.  He said, “Yeah”.

What I’m most thankful for, though, is that my boy called his momma to spend a little time with her after his first date (I’m sure the pizza was a guise).  It made the whole thing a little easier on his momma’s heart.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Ceiling fans

I have had the pleasure of traveling this week to see a young man with whom I worked when he was an elementary school student.  I traveled to see him then, too, as a consultant to his academic and behavioral programming.  This young man has several great loves beyond his family and friends – he loves drumming, The Beatles (especially Ringo), a carousel at a local mall, the “announcer voice” (he likes to do it, but he also likes to watch it on shows like 60 Minutes), and ceiling fans.  His interest in fans over the years has derailed or threatened to derail many a visit to a local restaurant or store.   His mother even laughingly commented about it at dinner.  It had easily been 13 years since I’d seen her son and he didn’t remember me that I could tell, but I would have known him anywhere.  The added blessing is how dear his parents are to me.

On the bittersweet side, traveling for work means being away from Mythankfulboy.  He has had two baseball games this week in which he got to play a few innings and I missed both games for work.  Lucky for me, does not hold me to the standard I hold myself, so he was happy to tell me last night on the phone how his game had gone (they lost 10-0, he got to play shortstop for 2 innings – he made one play and made an error on the other, he got up to bat twice and struck out both times).  He asked how my day had been and I told him it was lovely.  We talked a little about logistics of the time remaining before I get home, and then I asked him for what he was thankful.

Without hesitation, he said he was thankful for ceiling fans.  I was flabbergasted.  First of all, although B once met the young man I came to see, B was only two years old at the time and does not recall the visit nor the people.  Secondly, we don’t have ceiling fans in our house because our ceilings are only 7-feet high, and we don’t want to risk removing the heads of our taller guests.  I turned to my host (the young man’s mother) and said that B had named ceiling fans as the thing for which he was thankful, and her mouth dropped open.   B waited on the line while she and I had a quick, shocked, exchange.  I realize, now, that I never asked him why he had said it.  I’ll do that when I get home.

B asked for what I was thankful, and I said I was thankful for how well-settled and happy the young man I visited was, for what a great home he has, and for time with him and with his family.  It is a precious thing to know people you like so much for as long as we’ve known each other, and to have the privilege of being a small part of their paths.  B said he was glad.  I asked if he was at his friend’s house, and he said yes, and that his friend was sitting in the room with him playing his guitar.  It’s also a blessing for your 15-year old to have friends he can stay with when you have to be gone, and in front of whom he is comfortable doing this small but important bit of spiritual practice.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Turning 15 with doughnuts and baseball

It was a lovely 15th birthday weekend for Mythankfulboy. He had eight friends over for a doughnut–themed birthday party, complete with seven dozen doughnuts on dowels in the center of the table and an additional dozen donut holes. There was ice cream, so some made doughnut ice cream sandwiches (I did not try this myself, but the boys seemed quite pleased with them). Another highlight was the sanctioned smashing of two old computers in the driveway – an essential element for tamping down their energy before the overnight that followed.  This group of boys fall into two groups along age lines – there are the “Bigs” who are in ninth grade and the “Littles” who are all in seventh grade and are the younger brothers of the Bigs.  B does not have a Little in his family, but he loves the other Littles like brothers.  We would not have been able to have had all of them in our tiny house except for the good luck of having one of their families across the street. The boys went back-and-forth between the two houses happily, and then the Bigs stayed overnight at our house and the Littles at their house.  Meanwell, several of the moms sat in front of the fire and ate leftover pizza…

Because today is the first day of high school baseball tryouts, on Sunday we spent a packed and noisy afternoon at the indoor batting cages.  B then went to his dad’s house where he got a new batting helmet and some other baseball odds and ends just in time for tryouts.  Last night, at our evening thankfulness ritual, B was thankful for his new Krispy Kreme T-shirt, his new doughnut socks and doughnut pop socket, his batting helmet, and his party. I was thankful for the good friends he has, and the good friends I have because of them.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Politics, debated

So, an interesting thing happened last night, the night after President Obama’s farewell address.  Mythankfulboy has an ongoing group chat going with 6 of his friends, 5 of whom chime in regularly.   I don’t know how it started, but last night an Obama-vs-Trump debate ensued in the chat, which evolved and covered welfare and poverty in America, taxation, the concept of a trickle-down economy, addiction, and privelege.   Words like “fair” and “deserving” and “entitled” were used.  These are white male 14-year-olds who are freshmen in a very white rural school.

Partway through, B came bounding out of his room, almost breathless from the fight, and told me what was happening and who was on what side.  They had split down the middle, 3 making liberal and 3 making conservative arguments.  I guess it is not difficult to assume that B was a liberal.  B bounced concepts off of me, and then went back to his room to continue the debate (and to play an Xbox racing game, simultaneously, keeping the adrenaline up).  He popped back out with a “then he said, then I said, then he said” account from time to time.  The whole thing was eye-opening for him, that he could have such dramatically different views than people he considers close friends.  He had known it, of course, as one would, but this took things to a new level.

Meanwhile, there is an inevitable, but suppressed, extension of this debate into the relationships among the boys’ parents.  We are all friends, and we are all grateful our boys have one another.  Two of us live across the street from one another, and, during the election, had opposing yard signs (mine was there before they moved in, and they were amazingly kind to place theirs where it was visible from the road but obscured from visibility from my house by a tree).  The parents of B’s friends are really the only folks I encounter regularly that have such different views than mine, and, while we don’t discuss politics, I am glad they are in our lives both because they are true friends, and to keep all of this real.

So, last night at our evening thankfulness ritual, B was thankful for a night at home to “chill”.  They are few and far between.  I was thankful that he and his friends are passionate about their beliefs and are able and interested in having a debate about politics. I was thankful that he stood up for his (by which I mean our) values.  I didn’t say, but I was thinking, that I was a little in awe of him and all of his friends.  School may be interesting, today…

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Thankful happy blessed

There are days when Mythankfulboy and I sit down at the end of the day for our thankfulness ritual, and life seems very ordinary, and we stretch a little to name something in particular for which to be thankful.  There are other days when there are so many things in competition to be said that we feel like we’re being asked to pick our favorite child.  Our last week of chalice lightings have been the favorite-child kind.  In preparation for an annual fall party we host, we worked really hard to rehab our deck, to get the yard in shape, to clean the house, and to arrange for the food and activities that we like to have on the day of the party.  Our community gathered and helped – teenagers in the yard, grownups with food and set-up and clean-up and various things that tend to happen in these undertakings (inflatable mattresses that would be more aptly named “deflatable mattresses”, lights that won’t turn on, mouse nest in the smoker).   We felt so loved and supported all week, and then to have everyone gathered for an afternoon and evening with smoked pork and corn chowder and pumpkin whoopie pies – happy, happy, happy.  This year it rained all morning (until the minute the party started, actually) and was quite chilly, but we kept the food inside, didn’t do strawbales, gave away the pumpkins instead of carving them, and ramped up the bonfire.  Apple flinging carried on unabated, of course!  I look around the fire in my memory at my wonderful friends (and hear the teens playing flashlight tag in the background) and get tearful thinking about such bounty.  Oh, and there was a puppy – a miniature dachshund puppy – this year, which seemed to bring the rehoming of our dog and the death of close friends’ dog full circle.  So much for which to be grateful.

And so, we were thankful for our friends from Maryland and Michigan who traveled early to join in the preparations with us and to be together for another year.  We were thankful for our neighbors who volunteered their time and energy and driveways for parking.  We were thankful for teenagers who helped with happy hearts.  We were thankful for the puppy, Ella, who made everything more precious, for amazing food, for reconnecting, and for community.  And, in this election year, I was thankful for civility when politics came up.

Thankful.  Happy.  Blessed.

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Homecoming

Mythankfulboy had his first homecoming dance this weekend (9th grade). He asked a girl to go, which was really all there was to it – he asked her, he matched his outfit to hers, and they met at the dance. I asked him if he spent time with her there, and he said, “about 25% of it “.  I asked if they took a picture together, and he said no. Heck, for all I know, this girl doesn’t exist!  He seems perfectly happy with the arrangement, so who am I to judge?

Before the dance we did pictures at a friend’s house that was walkable distance to the high school (sans dates). The boys were achingly beautiful with their eager faces that have grown lean towards manhood. There were more silly poses than serious ones.  Then they walked off into the night to their first homecoming dance.

This weekend was also the end of our fall baseball routine, just in time for next weekend to be our fall party.  It’s been a funny season – either winning big or losing big, but, luckily, an 8-2 season so more winning than losing.  During these baseball-game-in-the-middle-of-every-weekend-day weekends I have been desperately trying to revitalize our deck, and B has been in charge of most of the yardwork. Twice in the last week a friend (AH or RL) has come over to help and to make a little money.  Last night, at the chalice lighting, B was thankful for these helpful friends. He was impressed with RL’s interest in being helpful, more than in making money.  I was too,  I hope that B will take that attitude in life, and was happy to see him notice and admire it.  I’ve had more fun in my life helping other people than doing just about anything else.  I was thankful for his friends, too, and for their parents who help me navigate B’s teen years.  And we’re just getting started…

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Scooting by

Last night Mythankfulboy did a door-to-door fund-raiser for high school sports.   Being the sociable guy he is, he thought it was great fun.  He came home and told me about each of the people they talked to, about how one of his friends knew a lot of the people they talked to and that people really liked him (the friend), and about giving a guy change for a 20 out of his own money and then accidentally putting it all in the locked box of money for the sports teams.  He knew I wasn’t happy to have arrived home from work to find he’d done nothing helpful and no summer reading during his lengthy day alone at home, so he told his stories with a constant eye on my reactions, testing the waters.   Then he decided the waters weren’t going to be warmed with cute stories, so he got up and started straightening the house, offering to get me a snack, and telling me his productive plans for the following day.  It’s hard not to thaw around B.  I let him wait on me and then asked him to sit down to do some annotating, which he did.

This annotating thing isn’t coming easily to my boy.  I keep reminding myself that he’s only 14 while I’m pushing him to make deeper links.  I’m finding that he’s worried about being wrong or saying something in a way that a teacher won’t understand or with which a teacher won’t agree.  He asked me if he could “put that (deeper links) off for another year”.  I asked him to begin to work on it now, and to keep in mind that his teachers want him to grow in his own thinking, not say the right thing, but I knew as I said it that there is only so much truth in that – that there often are right and wrong answers, and that only some teachers will appreciate alternate viewpoints.  But, we agreed to at least discuss these things even if he’s not comfortable, yet, voicing them.

Our thankfulness ritual was done while I sat on the couch and he stood with one foot in the house and one out the front door, where he was heading with his scooter to goof around in the driveway in the dark.   Trying to avoid fussing at him to close the door so bugs didn’t come in and AC didn’t go out, I asked for what he was thankful.  He said he was thankful for our neighbors across the street for taking him to the fund-raiser and feeding him when he said he didn’t want anything and then figured out that he did.  I said I was thankful he, and by extension, we had such good friends.  Then he was off to scooter the night away in the spaces around my car in the driveway.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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