Month: July 2016

I Didn’t Know This Was Possible During Middle School.

Shane’s 6th grade report card was the same for three quarters: 2 B’s and 5 A’s. His first quarter was straight A’s – so he made honor roll, and had an exceptional performance, all around. Shane enjoyed his first year of middle school, and wasn’t bothered (much) by the social changes. Shane just goes with the flow.

Shane also came home every day from school and announced his homework: “I have two pages of math, a little bit of reading for English, and 25 minutes of practice for instrumental music.” Then he would go upstairs and do that homework, asking for permission to do his reading before bed – and then he would then actually read it before bed.

It was awesome to watch him pull off most everything required by the new school, seven separate classes and teachers, and keeping his friends close, too. He learned very quickly how to use his locker, what to take with him to classes, how to organize his two separate binders (one for morning, one for afternoon). He remembered to turn in almost everything on time and, when he forgot, he remembered the next day.

Shane had interesting experiences with the school bully, who helped and emotionally pulverized him within the course of two days, He worked on the morning show, walked to school with his friends, joined the writer’s club and was in the school band and the school play. He kept a nice, organized balance.

To be honest, I didn’t know this was possible during middle school. My middle school experience was a disaster. Dylan’s middle school experience was a disaster. It was a struggle from day one for both of us.

But for Shane, he’s happy, well-adjusted and having a great time. And he made the honor roll, too.

He should be very proud of himself, but he has remained humble.

Thanks, Mom.

Dylan came home from his week away with a suitcase full of incredibly dirty laundry. I asked him to sort it, which he did. And I started washing it.

During the week that he was gone, I’d washed his sheets, pillowcases and comforter. He’d not had the comforter washed for awhile, and it was definitely time. He keeps his room surprisingly clean, so I really didn’t have to do anything else “for” him.

For a week, I did nothing for him.

It was a hard week for me. I am accustomed to doing very, very, very much “for” him. Mostly now I tell him what to do, rather than actually doing it. I consider this an improvement in my behavior.

But when I was doing Dylan’s laundry, I wasn’t the slightest bit bothered. I was happy to do it.

I was not as happy when Dylan announced that the dog had jumped on his bed, then vomited. On Dylan’s comforter. The comforter I’d just washed.

So I berated the dog. Then I got the comforter off of Dylan’s bed, and headed down to the laundry room.

I passed Dylan along the way. “Thanks, Mom,” he said.

“You’re welcome, Son,” I said.

Thanks, Mom.

His words lit me up like a Christmas tree. I felt like washing his comforter every day of the week. I almost wanted the dog to vomit on it again, so I could wash it again, so I could hear those words again.

He totally made my day.

Dylan says thank you a lot. But he’s not usually out of town for a week, so I don’t usually forget how often he says thank you. So I appreciated it all the more.

The truth is, I don’t mind doing the work. But knowing it’s appreciated makes it almost not work. Having someone say a simple “thank you” while I’m doing a job just makes all the difference in the world.

I put the comforter in the washer and started it up. Then I went into the kitchen, where Bill was emptying the dishwasher.

Hm, I thought, looking at Bill.

“Thank you,” I said.


I’m Going To Eat It.

Shane and I were at a collegiate-level baseball game earlier this week, with family friends.

He and his friend were chatting at the end of the row, while we watched the end of a 16-inning overtime game – the first game of a double-header. By the time the game was over, it was about 9:15 at night. And the second game – the game we came to see – hadn’t even started yet.

Shane doesn’t really care about baseball. He understands the game, I suppose, but what he likes about the games we watch are the between-inning shenanigans. They do a mascot race and musical chairs. They throw t-shirts and burritos into the audience. It’s all about the show for Shane.

So when, at 9:30, I suggested that we go home, I was surprised at Shane’s response.

“Awwww…” he said. “I want to watch the next game!”

I had underestimated the power of having a friend at the game. I, too, was swayed by having his friend’s parents there. We were having a lot of fun, and it was a beautiful night. I was tired, and we both had to get up early the next day.

But I didn’t push. “We can stay until 10:00,” I said.

Shortly thereafter came the burrito toss. For the uninitiated, staff members throw burritos into the audience – which, at 9:30, was rather small. If you catch a burrito, it’s yours to keep – and warm and ready to eat.

Shane caught a burrito. To be fair, he actually grabbed it off the ground after his friend let it slip.

“Give that to your friend,” I told him.

“It’s mine,” Shane said.

“But you don’t even like burritos!” I said. Shane is infamous in our family for eating nothing but bread, cheese and sugar. This burrito was loaded with chicken, rice, cheese, beans and other vegetables.

“I’m going to eat it,” he said.

My jaw dropped. “If you eat that whole burrito,” I said, “we can stay for the rest of the game.”

“Really?” he said. This burrito was huge, even for an adult.

“Sure,” I said, knowing he wouldn’t get past the first bite.

“Okay,” Shane said. Then he opened up the burrito and took a bite. And another bite. And another bite. As long as he kept eating, he was allowed to stay at the game. Meanwhile, I got to stay and watch the game, and talk to my friends, too.

And my cheese-and-bread son ate a full half of that burrito. He ate for nearly an hour, and he actually seemed to like it.

I was tired, but thrilled. It was the second new food he’d tried in one day! At age 12, maybe he’s finally broadening his horizons.

At 10:30, Shane banged his elbow on his chair, and finally admitted to being tired enough to go home. On the way, he admitted that he didn’t like the beans “or the green stuff” (lettuce) – but that the burrito was otherwise okay. He’s going to try one someday with just chicken and rice, the parts he liked best.

I’d say it was an hour well-spent.

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