One Flew out of the Engledow’s Nest

Well, we did it. We pushed Birdie #1 out of the nest. Yay, for us! We rock!

Oh, all right. It wasn’t really a push. She pretty much flew out by herself – she was ready.

That’s good, right? I mean, if she wasn’t ready then we would probably be wondering what the hell happened, reviewing where we went astray, and then coming to the conclusion that it was my husband’s fault some how (kidding).

I’m just not ready for her to be ready, you know what I mean? As parents, we spend eighteen years preparing our children to leave the house. It’s our job. Cliche alert ~ Boy, those eighteen years went by in a blink.

After hashing it out with my one of my besties, I’ve determined that I’m not actually worried about my daughter managing on her own. She’s smart, strong and amazing. It’s the fact that this is the beginning of the next chapter in our family. We add the kids, the kids leave and then it’s back to just me and the hubs (unless the kids move back in because they can’t find a job). It’s the arc of life.

It has been a slow adjustment to our family dinner table of four instead of five (It hasn’t even been a month yet. Give us a break, people!), but you know what has helped us? Technology. Love, love, love technology! Since instantaneous communication is so abundant, our daughter has been connecting with us regularly and she’s only asked for money twice!

In addition to the frequent texting, stalking her on Facebook has allowed me to see that she is making friends, having fun and adjusting to her new life. Seeing her embracing her new adventure had improved my state of mind since we left her standing in the dorm parking lot all alone (stifling a sob). Now, when people ask me how Rachel’s doing, I can answer without completely breaking down. Just don’t ask me how I’m doing. I can’t get through that one yet.

Click here to watch a short film by one of her new friends who happens to be a film major. My girl is in the striped sweater. Fun, right?

The Family That Paints Together Stays Together

The original saying, “The family that prays together stays together,” was a slogan invented Al Scalpone (not to be confused with Al Capone) and was first uttered on March 6, 1947 as an ad during the radio program, Family Theater of the Air (click here for more info).

You’ve probably just learned something new.

You’re welcome.

The two-story blank wall in our entry way has always been the bane of my husband’s existence. Blank walls really get on my husband’s last nerve. He’s an architect. I think that sums it up.

After ten and half years in this house with this blank wall, my husband finally decided that he had had enough. It was time to do something about it. He’s a professional on deliberation especially when the decision is important (it took nine years of dating before he decided that I was the one). During Christmas break of 2011, Mike and the kids brainstormed and the solution was the Family Art Wall (FAW).

This solution was presented to the Family Manager (moi) and was approved with reservations.

It’s a two-story blank wall, people.

However, I really wanted to be viewed as encouraging whimsy in our house since I’m usually dubbed, “the funsucker”. (Say it carefully.)

The FAW was to be done by December 31, 2011, but due to multiple delays (we all got hit with a long-term mokus) it did not get done until this summer (around the 11th anniversary of living in this house).

It turned out really well and we all love it. When we tried describing it to our friends and family, some were like, “cool” and some were like, “huh?”. Those in the “huh?” category were probably worried we were turning our household into some weird liberal-art colony-free love-free thinking hippie commune. Maybe we did and maybe we didn’t (wink, wink).

Without further ado, I present to you, my loyal followers, the Family Art Wall:

In order from Top to Bottom:

Jack’s creation: He combined his love of making a mess with his love of Origami.

Rachel’s Creation: Her piece is a thinking person’s piece. The phrase is in contrast with the background – very artsy.

Mike’s creation: His piece is a compilation of the people in his life. Not to be too cliché, but family is important to him. He really could give Ward Cleaver a run for his money.

My creation: If you have been a long-time follower of this blog, you know that artsy stuff is an extreme challenge for me so please don’t judge too harshly. One of my friends said it looked like a gay foodie poster which wasn’t my original intention, but she does have a point!

Maddie’s creation: The girl LOVES to bake so this is a perfect representation of one of her many interests.

As you can see, the kids have taken after their father in the creativity/art department! Aren’t they talented?

Next project? The other blank wall in our house. It’s located our fancy living room that we never use (and only one-story). Look for an update in the summer of 2013.

Confessions of an Alligator

I’m having bad thoughts. Really bad thoughts. What the hell is wrong with me? Am I all alone in this?

Finally, the swirling mass of words formed into coherent sentences and I confessed to my husband that if I had been an alligator yesterday, I would have eaten one of my children (this particular child will henceforth be known as ‘Baby Gator’). The only thing that stopped me was time and social convention.

Why an alligator? On our trip to New Orleans this year, we learned that the male alligators will sometimes eat their babies. I know I’m not a male, but work with me, people. Obviously, we can only speculate as to why they would use such a tactic to deal with their wayward young.

Maybe it was the whining about:

how inconvenient it is having someone come in every two weeks to clean their nesting area

how awkward it is to have to play with his/her alligator siblings

how it’s not fair that the alligator siblings got a snake or a rabbit for dinner and Baby Gator got just a turtle, etc.

– OR –

Maybe it was the storming and stomping around exclaiming why everything was the Daddy Alligator’s fault:

the bayou is too wet

the world spinning

the weather is hot

the rodents are too small, etc.

When I take all of that into consideration, I have some sympathy for the Alligator that uses this extreme measure in dealing with his young. Sure, you don’t want to be impulsive. Also, sleeping on it might be a prudent action.

So that’s what I did – I’d been sleeping on it, sitting on it and thinking about it for a couple of days. However, yesterday after hearing the last and final straw-of-a-whine from Baby Gator, I promptly picked my head off of the floor (it popped off in an effort to release the steam that had been accumulating) and quickly returned it to its rightful spot. Then, I uttered a mild and mature, “Shut it!” as I left the room.

Huh? Okay, maybe not the most mature response, but what else could I do? It was either that or eat Baby Gator.

Since I’m not an Alligator and I am a human, I’m sure that the eating of Baby Gator would not have been well-received as a viable parenting practice. And,  I’m confident that this parental act would definitely be considered as thinking “outside the box”, and not in a good way.

So what do you do with teenagers? You would think that I would know how to handle most situations by now, but clearly I haven’t figured it out. What’s the deal? Am I getting slower in my old age? Is my skull getting thicker? I feel like I’m losing my mojo and I’m a little rattled. All I need is a confidence boost.

I do recognize that this Fall will be bringing a lot of changes for our family and I’m sure this is mostly responsible for the current of craziness coursing through our house. I suppose I need to keep all of this in mind as I deal with our Baby Gators.

But, oh. My. Goodness. Give me the strength. Please.

The Beginnings of Summer 2012

It has been an interesting time in our house – it all started with prom in May and ended with our post graduation vacation to Orlando at the end of May. Whirlwind doesn’t even really describe it – all of the stuff parents and seniors have to do at the end of the year is crazy!

Events leading up to prom were stressful, but then everything worked out and she had a terrific and memorable time at her first and last prom (Ray is in the purple dress).

Every event of her senior year made me cry (in private) because, well, I’m a crier and the passing of each event meant that graduation was nearer. And, then it arrived…..

Surprisingly enough, I kept it together (only cried during the speeches). I owe his stoicism to my new camera (thank you, dear camera). I was so focused (pun intended) on taking pictures of Rachel and all of her friends that I didn’t have the time for sentimentality. Have you ever tried to take pictures when your body is convulsing due to extreme sobbing? It’s really hard. Trust me.

Since I’m an overanalyzer and tend to think way too much about everything, I have been going around in circles wondering if I’ve given my girl everything that she needed. Did I push her too much, not enough? Did I hover too much, not enough? Was I there for her emotionally when she needed it? Have I been a good role model (except for the sailor mouth) for her? Etc….

I’m not looking for pats on the back or reassurances. Really. Don’t you think it’s normal to assess your parenting at a juncture in your child’s life by going through a litany of self-doubt questions? Some don’t ask many questions and say to themselves, “It is what it is.” (God, how I hate that saying.) And some, like me, ask multiple questions and then question the answers to those questions. (I have A LOT penetrating, self-doubt questions available, so if you are in need of some or run out, email me and I will send you the list.)

I think it would be weird to think to yourself, “Fantastic! I (with some of my husband’s help) did an absolutely perfect job with this kid. Kudos to me (I mean, us)!” 

What? You don’t think that’s a weird sentiment? Then, maybe you’re one of those and if so, why are you reading my blog? Go write a parenting book and quit judging me!

When I do consider it honestly, I know deep down that she shouldn’t need but 6 months of therapy – that’s how good parenting is measured. You know. . . . . .by therapy months. If you haven’t heard of this new method of assessing your parenting awesomeness, you are behind the times, my friend. I think I saw it in some parenting magazine a while back or saw it on the Today Show. By the way, six months is average to better than average on the Therapy Months Scale. Anything beyond two years means you really F&%#ed up and you should probably be in therapy yourself.

Despite some glaring mistakes that cannot be unmade, she has turned out to be a bright, thoughtful, funny, good-humored (for a teenager), soft-hearted, determined, stubborn, beautiful, and confident young lady.

Our next big milestone on the path to college is in July when we take her to orientation and then the biggie – we take her to school at the end of August. Meanwhile, my denial is going strong and I should be able to keep it up until August. [Just a warning: This blog could get really morose, pitiful and boring starting in September.]

By the way, here’s how we ended May and brought in June – we went to Orlando and did three parks in three days (Sea World, Magic Kingdom & Islands of Adventure) – crazy, but fun!! The entire purpose of the trip was to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (in the Islands of Adventure) and it was very cool and worth it!

Here’s to a great summer!

No More Pretending

I’m wallowing. I’m sad and I’m tired of pretending like I’m okay. Why do we have to pretend? I’m sick of it.

My firstborn, my baby is graduating high school this May (in about 6 weeks) and I feel like I’m drowning.

Oh, okay. I see how it is.  I’ve lost some of you already. I can tell by the sighing. Well, good riddance. I didn’t need you anyway.

For those of you that have chosen to stay, I’m tired of hearing:

“This is a part of life.”

You mean like dying and taxes?

“We all go through it.”

We all went through puberty and I don’t remember that life experience being all that great.”

“You will be fine once she leaves.”


“It’s what you’ve been training her for her whole life.”

What? I don’t get this one. You train for a marathon, not life.

“You’ve done a great job with her, she will be fine.”

Again, what? She’s not a dog I’ve trained to win ‘Best in Show’.

I worked full-time outside the home until 2005, so I know the twisted torment of dropping off your kids to be cared for by others. That internal struggle of wanting a bigger life for myself while also wanting to do the best for my kids was a battle I fought every day. I had finally come to peace with it until Rachel entered first grade. Nothing prepared me for her first day of school.

She was so cute with her backpack, her bob haircut with bangs and her big, trusting blue eyes. The elementary stood there glaring at me – it was the very same elementary I had attended (better memories was my hope for her). We stormed through those doors with purpose looking for Mrs. Baker’s class. After a few minutes, we found it.  A little anxious for Rachel, I began to fawn over her by messing with her backpack and asking her if she was okay. Then, we found her classroom. Without pause, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, here is my class.”

And, off she went. She marched into that classroom and never looked back. She left me dangling in that hallway with my reassuring mommy wave and smile. It was wasted because she never turned around. No hugs, no kisses, no formal good-byes. She was ready and I was not.

Trying not to look devastated (I had braced myself for clinging and some drama), I gave a nod to the other parents hanging around Mrs. Baker’s door. This nod attempted to convey these thoughts:

“I meant for her to do that.”

“My parenting is clearly without equal.”

“Just look at her, she is so ready for school.”

“She will leave your kid in a dust cloud.”

I sobbed for the entire commute to my office. However, I eventually recovered and moved on because, well, I had to. She adjusted beautifully and there was really nothing I could do about it.

It seems we did a helluva job with this one because, in addition to being a mature and loving young lady, she is graduating with a 3.6 GPA and a sizeable scholarship from the college of her dreams.

Despite myself and because of my husband, we actually have raised three kids that like being near each other and have fun together. All five us eat dinner together at the table whenever humanly possible and it’s wonderful and very Cleaverish. Ray has the goofiest sense of humor, tells stories that are only funny to her and eats everything I cook no matter what. Like the front tooth that disappears from a child’s smile, she will leave big gap at the table. We don’t know how to be a family of four.

Chicago in August will be tough. When we drop her off at her at her freshman dorm, she will very likely say, ” Well, here’s my room” and confidently walk into that new life without looking back.

And, I will sob all the way home.

Great Expectations

Am I an indulgent parent? I really don’t think so, but I rarely say, “no” to a reasonable request. It sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?

We have worked  diligently on managing expectations – the kids have figured out what will and won’t fly. It’s not perfect though. The system still breaks down. They are children and they have an obligation to push back.

But, it breaks down more frequently with one of my children in particular. She talks like she gets it, but then……..Bam!

She understands: 

“Yes, you can have a stuffed giraffe. No, you cannot have a real giraffe.”

“Yes, you can have a pair of Converse in every color. If you want them, you buy them or ask for them as birthday/Christmas gifts.”

This and other similar examples are where we have successfully managed expectations.

Where has it broken down? She thinks I’m her personal chauffeur just sitting around awaiting her next instructions. (I have absolutely nothing else to do.)

In response to me saying, “no” to taking her to the mall at the last minute: “When you have kids, that’s your job.”

In response to me being agitated with her for not helping me find a lacrosse carpool (practice every day M-F during dinner):  “Why did you even have kids?”

After grabbing my head to stop it from spinning and separating from my body and after popping my eyes back into my skull, I mull over these statements of hers and determine that her sentiment can be summed up as such:

“In having kids, you are explicitly entering into a binding contract which means you will do the bidding of said kids and give up any chance of having a life of your own until such time said kids can manage on their own which could be until they’re in their late 20s.”

Holy crap! Why did I have kids? Now, I’m not sure. Maybe I was young and stupid (I clearly did not read the fine print). Damn you, biological clock and propagation of the species!

Regardless of the reason, we have them and we can’t send them back.

Where did I go wrong with this one? I’m befuddled. Maybe I should have encouraged her to join the Girls Scouts (see prior post) – she could use a healthy dose of feminism.

Then, I had a brainstorm when I was talking with one of my friends. When I’m at the age where I can’t tell the difference between the TV and microwave, who am I going to call for help? Yep, you’ve got it!

“Honey, I need you to come over and pick me up RIGHT NOW and take me to my hair appointment.”

“Can you drop what you’re doing right this second and take me to the grocery?’

“I need you cancel your schedule for today and take me to my bridge luncheon and then take me to the doctor so he can evaluate that mysterious rash I’ve been telling you about.”

“Will you come over and do my laundry? I need clean underwear TODAY.”

“I’m really hungry. Can you drive over and make me a sandwich?”

“I’m getting bedsores. You need to come over STAT and roll me over.”

“I can’t find my teeth and it’s your fault! You brushed them last.”

. . . . . . . .Oh, you’re still here. I’m sorry, I was daydreaming (maybe drifting off is a better phrase?).

Anyway, in the meantime, I suppose Mike and I have to get a little more creative in our lessons on “Reasonable Expectations”.

Onward and upward…

Who Wants to Get Married by Elvis?

Maddie: “Mommy, you know how you always say that you want us to elope and then come home for a party (reception)?”

Me (uh oh): “Uh, yeah.”

Maddie: “Well, somehow the topic of  weddings came up and I told Mrs. Friend’s Mom about what you said. She was really shocked and really kind of surprised that you would say anything like that. She just couldn’t believe it.”

[Oh, greeeaaaat. Mrs. Friend’s Mom, who is really a very nice person, now thinks I’m crazy, cruel and/or un-American. Sometimes I can relate to Christine in the New Adventures of Old Christine especially when she is trying to fit in with the moms in her kid’s school.]

Me: “Really? Hmmm… “You know I’m kidding when I say things like that, right?”

Maddie: “It doesn’t sound like you’re kidding.”

Am I kidding? Well, kind of. When did my kids actually start listening to me anyway?

Sometimes I forget Maddie is very black and white, very literal (the nuances of what is being said can get lost in translation). The other two usually roll their eyes and ignore what I say when it sounds silly or unreasonable. Not that girl.

And, Maddie also stores everything I say in her little “shit my mom says” brain vault for use against me later. She never regurgitates the “good” stuff for the masses (I have spouted some valuable words of wisdom, haven’t I?).

Back to the nuptials, don’t you think the craze of these uber-expensive weddings is insane? “That’s not real life, you know that, girls. Right?” ” Daddy and I didn’t have a wedding like that and we’re still happily married.”  Blah, blah…

Girls: Yes, Mommy dear.”

One summer, my hairdresser (God, how old am I? I meant to say, “salon technician“) was in 5 or 6 weddings and well on her way to 27 dresses. I kid you not! Well, two years later, over half of these marriages are over with a capital O and a capital VER. And, some of these weddings were over-the-top even by my Technician’s standards (not just mine). All I kept thinking was, “Those poor parents. If that were my daughter, I’d kill her!”

Yeah, I know. That’s not a very compassionate attitude toward my lovies so I won’t share that with my kiddos (just you guys). I don’t think they read my blog.

My methods may be unorthodox (jokingly encouraging elopement), but I’m trying to keep my kids grounded in the real world. Raising kids in our community along with the crazy media images makes the goal of raising grounded children difficult.

Speaking of weddings, I would like to report that the hubs and I will be celebrating two milestones this February:  the 30th anniversary of our first date and our 21st wedding anniversary! (Yeah, I know, 9 years of dating. It was a process, but I finally talked him into it). 🙂

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

The Year of Letting Go

This begins my official year of letting go. You see, my oldest has officially started her senior year in high school. Next year at this time we will be driving her to college. *sigh* 

Actually, this year is a big one for me because all three of my kids are experiencing transitions – Ray is a senior, Maddie entered high school as a freshman (I have two kids in high school, acckkk!) and my baby entered the world of junior high as a 6th grader. You’ll have to excuse me, but I’m a bit melancholy these days.

The college thing will be my first major, major transition involving one of my children (of course, besides actually bringing them into the world). I will need every bit of this year to prepare myself for day when we drop her off at college and then just drive away.

I do want to assure you that it’s not like I’m new to transitions and I do handle them pretty well:

~First day of daycare: I bawled like a baby that first day when I returned to work full-time (and every morning after that for about a month).

~First day of first grade: I sobbed like a fool after driving her to school for her first day of 1st Grade. When I dropped her off at her classroom door, she marched right in and never looked back. I wanted to give her a final smile of encouragement, but apparently she didn’t need it (I needed it more than she did. She was ready and I was not).

~First time at sleep-away camp: She had just finished 2nd grade and she was going to be gone for two nights. I cried on the way home after dropping her off. She was 90 minutes away for goodness sake! 

~Freshman year: What about the day I drove her to the Freshman Kick-off at the high school? On the way home, I cried so hard that I nearly blinded myself with tears and almost didn’t make it back to the house.

Um, after taking this stroll down memory lane, I’ve been reminded that maybe I don’t handle transitions well at all. I’m doomed.

This next milestone in both of our lives will be different from those previously mentioned. She won’t be coming home at the end of the school day.  There, I said it.

Man, you think I’m a worrier now, what is it going to be like when she doesn’t have to text me when she gets to her destination? Or ask permission to stay later somewhere or spend the night at a friend’s?

I do realize that with texting and skyping it will be easier to keep in touch with her which will ease my worry a smidge. As my parents can attest to, I rarely called home once I got to college and they couldn’t text or email me to find out why I wasn’t picking up my phone!

Wait, wait. What? I’m sorry my hubs is whispering something in my ear –  “Babe, she’s not gone yet!” Oh, yeah, right.

Did Mike and I teach her all she needs to know? My mind will be churning this year trying to make sure we’ve covered all of the important lessons. What are the important lessons? Does anyone have a list I can borrow? I’m starting to hyperventilate and I can’t think properly.

I mean, I think we’ve covered the biggies: Treat others as you would like to be treated, Be cautiously skeptic (mommy, I’m not cynical like you!), Believe in yourself, Use your common sense, Have a good work ethic, Respect yourself and others, ummm, any others? Come on, people! Help me out here.

It’s the stuff that takes a lifetime to learn that I’m concerned about (not laundry or budgeting training). Did we do her justice? I sure hope so.

I need to know if something is lacking in our life skills training at home. I’ve got two others in the queue for the push from the nest and there’s still plenty of time to amend the lesson plans!

What IS that sound?

“What is that noise?”, I say to myself. “Where is it coming from?” And, then silence.

“Ah, I must be losing my mind”, talking to myself as I meander back to my office. Then, “What? That noise is back. What IS it?”

The resurgence of the noise confirms that I’m not losing it – there is a strange noise afoot in my house!  I start wandering around the house looking for the cause of this mysterious sound. It sounds like a cat in agony just after a cat fight or maybe an elephant dying. Maybe we have a strange animal wheezing its last wheezes in our basement. (It really wouldn’t be that far-fetched as we’ve had baby possums in our basement ceiling before – long story).

The noise seems to be emanating from the basement so I cautiously wander into the depths of the house to put an end to this insidious sound. Then……I see it.What? What is it? Something so shocking so as not to be believed.

It is my son practicing the trumpet (without being asked). Yep, the trumpet.

The mystery sound story happened during early June – about the second week after having his instrument.

My son (my baby) is entering junior high this fall (actually next Tuesday!), can you believe it? I sure can’t. I don’t want to talk about it or I will start blubbering. As Jack and I were walking into the middle school this past Tuesday to pick up his schedule and get his locker assignment, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, please don’t cry.” He knows me so well.

Anyway, to explain the trumpet in our house, I have to take you back to the end of this last school year. During this past May 2011 (the end of his 5th grade year), his 6th grade schedule had to be determined. At our middle school, they have to take all of the usual subjects and then, there is the tough decision whether to take band, orchestra, choir, or a study hall. Study hall was out of the question and he immediately said, “No choir!”

Why so adamant about choir? Both of his sisters elected choir at the middle school so he had attended many a choir show. I think remembering the boys (especially the 6th & 7th graders) in shiny shirts and ties doing the choreographed dance moves somewhat awkwardly (I thought they were adorable!) sealed the deal. No choir. Also, unfortunately for him, he inherited my strong inability to carry a note.

So, orchestra or band? Well, at the end of this last school year, the middle school had a “try on”. It’s really pretty great. The kids got to go and literally try on any instrument they wanted. What instruments did Jack choose?  The cello, clarinet, percussion (drums), viola and the trumpet. The band and orchestra teachers watched the children individually at each instrument selected for their “try on” and made notes. I think at this point, the teachers try to narrow it down to two instruments for each child and in doing this they will also take into account the child’s opinion.

Case in point:  Jack had been hounding me about viola lessons and I, being the good mother that I am, essentially ignored him. We had just finished 2 years of piano lessons which also included parental nagging about practicing (or lack thereof). He was gung-ho at the beginning, but then his interest diminished (maybe some of you have experienced this with your own kids). Well, long story short, he “tried on” the viola and decided that he hated it (so even if he had viola-potential, the band director would not consider this instrument for Jack).

Side note: Lesson learned for me? Listen to your gut. NO viola lessons was a good decision.

It was determined that he had the best potential with trumpet or clarinet (SO glad it wasn’t the cello). The band director really wanted Jack to pick the clarinet – apparently his try out went really well. But, Jack picked the trumpet instead. Why?  Well, it has fewer buttons! Duh! Kids crack me up – especially mine.

After practicing all summer (20 minutes a day), the trumpet-produced sounds coming from the basement no longer resemble the moanings of a dying animal. They have improved – now his music resembles the sound of someone blowing his (not hers) nose in a cartoonish, loud, exaggerated way. This is a definite improvement. Trust me.

I’m really looking forward to attending my son’s band concerts – it will be a definite change from the lavish choir shows (costume changes with each song and choreography) we have been attending since my oldest was in 6th grade (she is now a senior. sniff, sniff).

Here’s to my budding band geek! xoxo


How to Set Goals & Reach Them ~ 5th Grade Style

If you’ve been reading my posts regularly, you know that I have funny, interesting kids (at least in my opinion). They can and do say some funny stuff.  I really need to keep a journal with me at all times so I can jot stuff down as we go through our day (I’ll put that on my To Do list).

The funniest kid this week was Jack. Last night it was just me, Jack and Rachel at the dinner table and we were discussing Jack’s last Track & Field Day ever (sad face):

Me: “Jack, what are your events for Track & Field Day tomorrow?”

Jack: “Best of 10 Free Throws, Cone Quickness, Soccer Kick & the Relay. I hope that I get 5th place.”

Me & Rachel (confused): “Why do you want 5th place?”

Jack: “I need a 5th place ribbon for my set. I don’t have a 5th place ribbon.”

Me & Rachel (laughing really hard now): “Hmmmmm, Okay.”

Me (still giggling): “Hey, buddy, how about you go for 1st place and then see what happens.”

Jack: “Hmmm….Okay. That makes sense.”

I’ve NEVER heard someone say that they wanted 5th place, have you? Who says that? Well, my son apparently.

God, I love that kid. He’s a nerd through and through! I keep telling him that nerds rule the world so to keep on keepin’ on! [Bill Gates, for example.]

Today, he comes home from school and I ask him, “How was Track and Field Day today?” He says, “I got 5th place in ‘Best of 10 Free Throws’! I also got a 6th place ribbon and a Best in Class ribbon.”

I’m thinking, “Really? What are the odds? How weird is that?” The 5th place ribbon is the green one in the picture.

It’s nice to have dreams and goals and actually attain them! What’s the next goal for Jack? With one week of school left, it would be not to forget any more homework assignments for the rest of the year. I’m hopeful with this one 🙂

As a side note, I want to clarify something for all of you, from the dinner discussion last night, both Rachel and I were under the impression that he needed the 5th grade ribbon to complete the entire  ribbon set (honorable mention through 6th place). After further discussions with Jack on the subject today, I discovered that he is still missing the following ribbons: 1st, 3rd and 4th.  So, why was he shooting for the missing 5th place, when he still needed a 1st, 3rd and 4th place ribbon for his set? What’s wrong with 1st place?

As an extremely competitive person, I’m a little perplexed by his goal-setting this week. What’s going on in that 11-year-old brain of his? Hell if I know. I’m going to have to defer to his father on this one since the boy is an exact replica (down to the last molecule). Mike will be able to explain Jack’s line of thinking to me – I’m sure there is a good explanation, an ultimate plan.

Since Mike is on his annual fishing trip, I will have to wait to get the answers to my questions: “What is driving our little man? Why didn’t he want to go for the 1st place ribbon? What does this mean? Is there a bigger plan that Jack has set into motion that I can’t comprehend?”

Maybe I should just leave well enough alone. Maybe some things are supposed to remain a mystery. . . . like origin of the universe and the enigma that is my son. 🙂