Saturday, August 07, 2010
Woooow! I don’t think I would have had more fun than if it were ME going to MY college orientation. I was so proud when my daughter was accepted into Ohio University…she’s a BOBCAT now! But stepping onto that campus Friday morning, feeling the energy, inhaling the breathtaking beauty of Appalachia Ohio and feeling the warm breezes throughout the campus was really one of the greatest experiences of my life. And seeing the excitement, laughter and eyes ablaze with joy on Breanna was so heavenly. I was and am so very happy for her…she has the whole world before her! I know my daughter; she’s ready to grab life by the horns and there is nothing that is going to get in her way.
But the brochures neglected to mentioned the tremendous amount of walking that was going to take place. If they HAD, I wouldn’t have worn my three-inch heeled boots the first day. Oh, I wasn’t the only sucker who was misinformed. An older lady had worn her heels and as we made our journey up the steep hill to Gordy Hall for the third time, we were clinging to one another speaking, DREAMING, of hardcore pain meds, the possibility of legalized marijuana in Ohio and small discreet amounts of alcohol consumption (KIDDING!! We wouldn't do that, especially in front of the kids!). When they told us to once again make our journey downhill to Nelson Commons, I looked over her way and saw her head bang down on the desk, possibly considering slinging her Bobcat Welcome Packet up the side of the speaker‘s face. (I personally registered 14112 steps on my pedometer that day alone!)
Ohio University has a reputation for only accepting the brightest and the best of high school students…PLUS being a party school. Kent Smith, the Vice President of Student Affairs, quickly discounted those rumors and showed us a slide show of why it was JUST NOT TRUE. We were all feeling much better to have these myths dispelled! Thank HEAVENS! Two hours later a newspaper was given to parents and incoming students by the Athens News. One of the articles was titled, “Seven Ways to Avoid Getting Caught Drinking,” followed by “”You’re Going To Need To Adjust Your Ideas About Dating.” I showed this to Breanna while standing in line at lunch and she laughed, stating, “Yeah, I already read those! Yeah, it says you should call your boyfriend’s ROOMMATE to bring you the items you had to leave "in a hurry" in a Walmart bag to thwart suspicion.”
Friday evening, feet burning, eyes blurry, haphazardly carrying a laptop and mounds of paperwork, I was directed into the Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium for closing remarks along with the rest of the parents. This place has those seats that fold up when you get up; so when I bent over to open mine to sit down, I lost my footing and ended up face and lip first into the neck of a man sitting in front of me. I did not have the strength or the leverage to pull back and his wife was looking at me in shock. Amidst the “OMG, MOM! Get OFF him!” I dropped all of my papers and flung the laptop at Breanna. I was finally able to pull away, mumble “Sorry” to the man’s wife who looked as if she wanted to put the “beat down” on me and wipe the slick of mosquito spray off of my upper lip. The man did not move the whole time. I have a feeling he was STILL in shock over the cost of tuition.
Before falling asleep in Athens Friday evening, I tossed and turned while my mind played out every scenario that could happen while my little girl attended school. I know she is going to have challenges galore and that sometimes she will seem distant because of her school/work load. I have prepared myself for the inevitable empty nest syndrome that I am going to live through in the coming months. But one thing I do know is that God is watching out for her. (I’ve already blogged multiple times about this subject and won’t put you guys through it again.)
Brian’s main train of thought is trying to convince Breanna to smuggle mace in her purse when she walks on campus. And if they’ll serve lasagna when we visit her on the weekends.
Here are a few pics of my little girl and the campus she will call home for the next four-five years. Bittersweet but...I am looking forward to good things to come!
Breanna outside Ryor's Hall, her dorm:
Yeah...she's gonna be just fine.
Monday, August 02, 2010
I've been pinching myself these last few weeks over how well my old man and I have been getting along. Oh, we always get along, sometimes to the point of making Breanna gag a little, but for some reason we've just been "clickin!" We have both laughed at the same things, agreed on the same things, even finished each other's sentences! And he was incredibly supportive when my lupus threatened to get the best of me last week. Criminy, he EVEN bought me the latest Gerard Butler movie without any smart-alecky remarks! Yest! It was almost like he was on something. (I DID notice that he was using the wood glue an awful lot and hovering around Freddie's catnip...naaaah. Couldn't be. Right? RIGHT?)
Which is why yesterday, when we got back after a long trek on the bikes, that I noticed he had "turned" a little.
"Do you think it's hot in here? Turn on the air!"
"It's not hot. Just sit down for a minute and you'll cool off."
Fumbling through his pockets and laying about 20 tons of change and wadded up papers on the desk, he looked at me and sighed dramatically.
"Okay, Brian, if you want, turn on the air. No biggie."
"No. You say it's not hot, so it's not hot."
"Well, YOU might be hot. So turn it on!"
"YOU TURN IT ON."
"Uh....sure. Okay. I'LL turn it on." Glaring at him through one slitted-eye, I tiptoed over to the air and flipped it on. Then I decided to go to the kitchen for a snack.
"What?" he said, "Going to the kitchen to get mad at me now?"
"Yes, darling, because we all know that the kitchen is where wives go to get angry at their husbands. We aren't allowed to get mad in the living room."
"Gee! What's with the attitude?"
Sighing, I returned to the living room and looked up at his windburned, sunburned face, the dead gnats that had collected in his eyebrows during our 110-mile ride and the white sun-glasses-shaped area that had formed around his upper face. Grabbing his hand, I asked him, "What's the matter, Brian?"
"What's the MATTER? I'm turning fifty in another eight days!"
"So? It's great."
"Soo? That's 10 years from sixty. And you're always telling me to dye my white patch on my mustache! Maybe I like it."
"I like it, too. Don't 'Just For Men' it. Seriously."
"Yes. I'm sure."
Closing his eyes, he kissed me and sighed. About that time, Breanna came around the corner and made a gagging sound. "Maybe you guys should get a room or something because this is seriously nasty." she said.
"Got your bags packed yet, darling?" Brian asked her.
"Yes, Dad, they're packed and I'm going to counseling as soon as I get on campus to try to rid myself of this image."
Laughing, Brian pulled her into his arms and gave her a huge bear hug, while she squirmed and gagged some more. I think I realize now that guys go through some things, too. Insecurity is not only a girl thing. What Brian fails to realize, and I'll be sure to clue him in on this, is that he is still as handsome to me as the day we met. If not handsome-ER.
Sometimes we ALL need to hear it.
Have you told your old man that you loved him today?
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I’ve been realizing the last few weeks that there are so many things I’m going to miss once Breanna leaves home for her dorm in a few short weeks. The way she leaves her hair dryer in a tangled mess on the bathroom floor, the clothes that she lays haphazardly on the foot of her bed and the little notes that lay strewn on the computer desk with the names of bands that she wants to go see. I’ll miss the way she snuggles up with her bear that she’s had since she was three years old while sleeping and the dewy look in her eyes when she first gets out of bed. Shoot, I’ll even miss the look of shock when I do something that doesn’t fit into her definition of “cool.” She is showing the tell-tell signs of eccentricism that I have. Yet, so many of her friends find her endearing, honest, emotional and funny. With a slight lump in my throat, I’ve been realizing that they are now going to be spending more time with her than I am. I knew this day was coming, the day I would have to let my little girl go. But I wasn’t prepared for how fast it is coming.
She has always had an extreme fear of bugs. Yet, they seem to crawl her way with purpose and determination. Perhaps they can feel her kind nature or they just like to scare the bejeebers out of her? This morning when I got out of bed, I noticed an afghan stuffed under the crack of her bedroom door. Tightly. Scratching my head, I examined the door and that’s when I saw it; the praying mantis that had attached itself to the wall. At first, I was amazed by its beauty; but then it turned its eyes and looked at me, my first reaction to scream my bloody head off. Brian jumped from the bed, tripping over the fan, and I could hear Breanna’s muffled voice saying, “(Inaudible)…see it? (Inaudible)…the dang thing!”
Brian grabbed the mantis in his hand just as I told him not kill it but at 4:30 in the morning you want the annoying noise to stop at no cost. (By that I mean my screeching.) Throwing the bug in the bathroom trash can, I was suddenly saddened that I had screamed. It was a beautiful creature…just wanting to do what a praying mantis does. (Pray for it’s life, in THIS instance.)
Later, after Brian left for work, I returned to the bathroom to get ready for this day. I heard a rustling from the trash can and I saw the mantis, struggling to crawl for its freedom. I never thought in a million years that I would EVER do this, but I cupped my hand and allowed it to climb into my palm. It was yearning for its freedom….
Just like my daughter.
I sat it on the front porch and watched it slowly make its way away from me. Just like my daughter has been doing for the last year.
Going to her room, I watched as she slowly took in her angel breaths. Her hair strewn across the pillow like a halo. Wanting very much to cup her face in my hands, I refrained. I took a mental snapshot to always remember her this way, safe and sound in her bed, cradling her in my heart. Once again, I turned her over to her Father whom she so steadfastly believes in, the God who is her ultimate parent, her ultimate confidante and her ultimate friend. Just like the steely grasp of my husband who tried to squash the mantis, the world will try to crush my little girl….
But I know that God will always protect her with His watchful and loving grace, no matter what creepy-crawlies will come her way. All I have to do...
is just let go.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
We got a new front porch light from Lowe's. It was SUPPOSED to be simple. The instructions were pretty self-explanatory, after all. And they were limited to three simple steps in the manual. This wire goes here, that wire goes there and you flip the switch. But, cue the Twilight Zone music, we are in the WILLIAMS household and in the WILLIAMS household, you must brace yourself for the inevitable. First, this really weird thing happened. Brian asked me if I wanted to do it.
"You wanna hook it up?"
"You're asking me to play with electrical wires?!"
"How much life insurance on me did you say you had?"
"It's double, though, if you die in an accident."
"No. I'm not hooking up the light. How much insurance do YOU have on YOURSELF?"
"Fine! I'll hook up the light."
First, he lost the screws. They were out of the box for approximately 23.76 seconds. We found them 12 minutes later under the couch. (He CLAIMS he didn't even hear them hit the floor.) Then he misplaced the instructions. After about 15 minutes of looking for those, he said, "Nope, I don't need 'em. I've hooked up lights before."
It sounded like a herd of monkeys was trying to come through the living room wall a half hour later. Peeking through the glass on the front door, I saw his lips moving rapidly. Then I saw the light being flung crazily across the yard. Looking around quickly, he hurriedly got off his ladder, ran and retrieved the light and scurried back up the ladder. It was then he saw my face in the window, taunting and laughing. His lips started moving rapidly again. I don't think he was declaring his undying love for me...but I'll always believe he was.
Flying through the door about fifteen minutes later he exclaimed that all was going well, he thought he had it. Flipping the main breaker on, he happily jogged back into the living room and flipped the switch to the light. His smile faded rapidly as the breaker blew and the house fell silent. Looking at me, he said, "Don't. Don't say a word." (AS IF!!) Three tries and three blown breakers later, he stood on the porch scratching his head. Lips moving rapidly.
He finally got it after he realized that he was feeding the neutral wire back into itself.
This incident got me thinking. First, although Brian may be a little bit of a "Tim, The Toolman Taylor" he has always succeeded at whatever he puts his mind to. He doesn't stop until the job is finished and complete. No matter the task, no matter the difficulty, he has been stubborn in everything he sets out to accomplish. I guess I can be the same way when it comes to this respect. I've always managed to complete what I've set out to do. Looking back in retrospect, I realized we have always been there to encourage one another during those times. Even when I have not wanted to take on a task, it seeming too hard, he's been there to encourage me. I've done the same with him, too. One of his greatest tasks that he's never given up on is ME. Throughout my struggles in the past 20 years, he's been there, making sure that I know he's there for me, through the good times and the bad. It has molded me into the person I am today. His mercy and his grace has saved me even when I've thought he was being a troll, but he's always known what is best for ME.
Pulling the door shut behind me, we went out to the porch and looked up at our new light. With a sense of accomplishment, he put his arm around me and smiled. Then we felt raindrops, rapidly coming down harder with each passing second. Slapping my tush, he reached for the doorknob so we could make a mad dash inside and it didn't budge. Turning it the other way, it didn't budge either.
"Did you lock us out?!" he exclaimed.
"Oh, holy bat crap, you locked us out!"
So maybe SOME things will never change, but at least he shared in the experience of getting drenced in the rain with me, huh?
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The word alone brings back so many memories of my childhood. This was the last year my daughter could experience camp as a "camper." She has pledged to return next year as a camp counselor. The light that shone around her during the final moments was really awesome to behold. She made friends that will most likely last her a lifetime and memories that will be with her forever. I was so happy when I finally saw her face after a week of missing her. I was so grateful to see her running to me, with the ultimate excitement on her face; throwing her arms around me as she smiled the biggest smile in the world. I'll share a few pics (of the MANY) of her awesome week with you, some that made me laugh at the antics of kids.
Apparently when you first get to camp THESE DAYS, you must knock out your best friend and sit on them...
After successfully sitting on your first friend, you must find another one and duct tape them to the grass...
Then you go eat ice cream; kid in front is too exuberant about getting ice cream....
After that, you hope there's no boogers in your nose...
Eventually you cram everyone into a tiny little room; again, kid on right is too exuberant...
Then you act like a monkey and hope the bunk doesn't fall through....
What happens when they don't serve enough vegetables at camp....
A few cool friends made along the way....
And it's exuberance kid...again...
Just makes you wanna go back and be a kid again, huh?
Have a good one, Sparkies.
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