Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Could You Spare a Mother a Dime?

Having two children in college at the same time is going to mean a little fancy, financial footwork on the behalf of The Colonel and I.

Yam and Spud are doing their part in helping us with this college, cash crunch.

Yam will be a Resident Assistant (R.A.) for her dorm next year. Because she has been chosen for this position, she will save The Colonel and I the cost of her housing for this upcoming year at college. She is also still a Florida Bright Futures, Florida Academic Scholar, scholarship winner which saves us costs on part of her tuition.

Spud has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

We're still waiting to see if he qualifies for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship (we don't have his final grades yet) so that some of his tuition will be covered as well. Spud plans on trying to become an R.A. eventually too, as well as apply for a naval scholarship later on in his college career.

The Colonel and I have been planning and saving for college for Yam and Spud since before there was a Yam and Spud, but even with that in mind, every bit helps.

Thanks Yam and Spud for doing your part and helping Dad and I financially, in the quest for your college diplomas.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two Down and None to Go

I am no longer the mother of a high school student. Spud graduated on May 19th.

No, I didn't cry when my baby walked across the stage.

Maybe it's because I had already experienced Yam's high school graduation two years prior but I'm guessing its really because I have never been one to cry easily and especially not in front of others (looking back, I didn't cry when Yam graduated either and I think I can count on one hand how many times The Colonel has ever seen me cry in our nearly 25 years of marriage).

Don't get me wrong, I felt deeply, the emotional impact of both my children's graduations, what mother wouldn't (I felt a greater twinge of sadness, upon seeing Yam's empty bedroom for the first time, as I came up the stairs after she left for college and I know I will feel the same when I see Spud's room empty for the first time)?

Spud looked so grown up in his cap and gown. Seeing him in it made me feel happy and proud.

He added a little something extra to the tassel on his cap. He has plans to join the Navy upon college graduation so he attached the little anchor.

It is always wonderful to hear your child's name called and see them walk across the stage to receive their diploma. In that instant, those 12 years of schooling seem like they happened in 12 seconds.

The Colonel and I are very proud of Spud and wish him success and happiness always in everything he does.

Soon I'll be the mother of two college students.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

19 Year Old Mother(hood)

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ---Rajneesh

I've just celebrated my 19th Mother's Day!

That is a pretty awesome feat for someone who (foolishly) thought, when she was younger, that she wanted to "break the glass ceiling", be married to her career only and never be a mother (along comes The Colonel, along comes marriage) and when she did marry and discovered that she did want to be a mother after all, that she would need medical intervention to help her start her family (along comes Yam and Spud in a baby carriage).

My wonderful day started out with my son and daughter surprising me with some beautiful carnations and a lovely card.

Yam and Spud asked me where I wanted to go for lunch, they were "footin' the bill". I decided on a local waterside restaurant called Harpoon Harry's (The Colonel would lunch with his mother, father and sister elsewhere).

We arrived at the restaurant a little after 11:00, so we were able get a booth right along the water. The kids had burgers and I had a turkey reuben with sweet potato fries. The food was yummy, but sitting across from my two children was what I enjoyed most about lunch (the fact that they bought my lunch was nice too).

The restaurant is within the same complex as some nice little shops, so we did a little window shopping (mainly Yam and I, Spud suffered in silence, what a good son).

After shopping, we walked along the river's edge. We walked for about an hour and on the way back to the car we stopped at a little playground along the river. Yam wanted to swing, so she did while I sat in the swing next to her. Spud opted out and sat in the shade under some palm trees and once again waited patiently for Yam and I.

We made it back to the car, Yam drove us home and when I got home I took a cat nap on the couch...nice.

As I was napping, The Colonel went out and brought some dinner home. I didn't have to cook on Mother's Day...very nice.

I thank God for giving me what I thought I never wanted, a husband and children, and ignoring the foolish thoughts of that young girl I once was.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blazes and Bravery

We need rain. The grass in my yard feels and sounds like Shredded Wheat cereal when I walk on it.

It has been so dry here that there has been grass fires in the area. The other day it was so smoky that it looked like the smog of Los Angeles had transplanted itself here.

The area grass fires got me to thinking about something that happened to me and my sisters, Lori and Jennifer when we were young. Lori was about 6, I was about 5 and Jennifer was about 4 at the time.

It was mid 1960 and my family lived in a developing neighborhood in the suburbs. The houses had big yards and there were large empty lots between some of the houses. We called these empty lots, fields.

Our house had a field to the left and right of it. If you traversed the right field you would arrive at the Muller's yard.

In the Muller's yard there was a huge sand box (a huge pile of sand, really and no box to speak of) and a swing set.

The Mullers didn't mind us playing in their yard. The youngest Muller boy, Johnny, was my little brother Andrew's friend. We never called him just Johnny, it was always Johnny Muller. The middle Muller boy, Tom, was my oldest sister's age. Every girl in the neighborhood had a crush on Tom. The oldest Muller boy, Vic, wasn't really a boy at all, he was much older than the rest of us and we never saw him much. I remember him being somewhat of a hippie (it was the 60's after all).

My sisters and I wanted to play on the Muller's swing set. We walked along the narrow foot path in the field between our house and the Muller's. The crushed grass was dry and straw like under our bare feet.

Lori, Jennifer and I soon emerged from the waist-high, grassy field into the Muller's yard.

We walked up to the swing set and we each picked out the swing we wanted to play on.

We sat upon the white plastic seats and the chains jangled as we grabbed hold of them to steady ourselves. Our little legs pushed against the rutted ground beneath the swings and propelled us higher into the air. The wind rushed past our bodies as we swung faster and faster.

We were lost in our swinging reverie, enjoying the giddiness that swinging higher and higher gave us.

"Fire!" Lori yelled.

Jennifer and I looked to where Lori was pointing. The field between our house and the Muller's was ablaze.

"How will be get back home?" Jennifer and I asked Lori fearfully as we all jumped off the swings.

"Follow me", Lori said, grabbing Jennifer's hand.

I grabbed Jennifer's other hand. I would bring up the rear of our sisterly chain.

"Don't let go!" yelled Lori.

Lori bravely entered the burning field, leading us along the narrow foot path through the blazing field.

Sparks flew into the air and smoke was wispy around us as we ran along the path towards the safety of home.

The path seemed much longer with the field ablaze as we ran hand-in-hand, scared.

Finally, we emerged from the fiery field safely.

Out of breath and full of adrenaline, we ran into the house to tell our mother about the fire.

I don't recall what happened after we told our mom about the fire. Did she chastise us for running through a burning field? When did the fire truck arrive? How much of the field was burned?

I just remember the fear we all felt and the bravery of my sister Lori as she led Jennifer and I to safety.

I think back on that day and wonder how the fire began. Perhaps it was the neighbor boy down the street who was famous for playing with fire (this was not the first field fire) and teasing the dogs of others, causing them to become biters and a liability to the owners. That boy was always in trouble (in and out of school). I wonder whatever became of him (I probably don't want to know)?

Thank you Lori, for being a brave big sister to Jennifer and I when we needed it most.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011