Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Another Birthday Boy

Alex is 21 years old. Wow that happened quickly.
Alexander is 21 today. What I've always loved about Alex is his willingness to speak the truth, despite if it was something we wanted to hear. When he was off to college, he was very open about the things he had tried with peers. He just put it all out there and didn't try to be something he wasn't.

Now graduated from college and working on a return contract, this time to work in China teaching English, he is ready to take on a new challenge while building his mastery of Mandarin (which seems pretty awesome already--from the outside looking in, anyway). From the time he could walk, he would pace the very house he took his first steps. As language followed I would ask him, "Alex, what are you doing?" He'd reply, "I'm thinking...about everything." And he really did. I think the rug had a worn-in trail from his afternoon paces. :)

One of his signature moments was the day he wore a wild, African tribal print button-up shirt to middle school--8th grade. It was a cast-off from my father-in-law and David wasn't interested in it. Ever. But Alex took a shine to it. I was fearful he'd get teased in such a garish garment, but Alex came back from school one day wearing it and said, "Kids made comments on my shirt, but I just smiled and told them I was wearing was the shirt of my people." I howled. Only Alex could think of that. And give no shits. Through his giving no shits he truly defined his own brand of cool. By high school he had a wide and diverse swath of friends.

Happy birthday to my 21-year-old...that sounds so crazy still! But still glad I had those boys in my 20s! I needed the youth to keep up with them. Love you, Alex.


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Monday, August 14, 2017

Birthday Boy

This is NOT a missing person (missed, yes; missing, no). 
Zachary is 19 today. I love this young man more than words can properly convey. It makes me happy to see him working, learning a trade, in love and growing up.

As he matures, things will start to make sense. The parental guardrails that were in place: basic expectations, the consequences for certain actions, and the many rewards and privileges...they were all there for a reason.

What do we want for our kids? For them to have better lives than we did. To realize their full potential. To dare greatly, even if that means failing at first. But, by all means, try.

August is the month we see off-to-college, back-to-school, and first-day-of-school posts on social media. I always think of Zach. He was the social butterfly from preschool on, always wanting to please his peers (and teachers); this was a little human that operated solely on pathos, almost never logos. He loved big and his smile melted hearts. When he didn't get his way, though, watch out; Leo roars. A certain photo of his sit-in protest at the Coronado skateboard shop almost exactly 10 years ago, the oil painting by Heather Morris of his famous sulk, and the apology notes he wrote me in elementary school give me a chuckle from time to time. They are a testament to his passionate soul.

At 19, there will be soaring love, satisfaction from self-discovery, and pain from separation of those you love most. There will be restlessness, a longing to explore, and plans hatching for the next move. Zachary, as you pave your way toward independence, don't forget that your parents--all four of them--love you so very much.

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