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?

Lost Flowers and Life Plans

Talking with my kids can be so very entertaining. Have I said that before? It seems that the funniest conversations occur mostly in the car (sometimes at the dinner table). I guess it’s because we spend a lot of time driving the kids hither and yon.

Here are snippets of some recent car talks.

Allegory & Virginity

All five of us are in the car on the way to one of Jack’s Orff concerts when Rachel starts telling a funny story about her fashion teacher (whom she loves, by the way) – Mrs. Fashion shared with them an allegory (or parable – a symbolic narrative) before they left on spring break. This particular parable was intended to communicate to the girls (there are no boys in her class) that they should value their virginity and not to give it away to just anyone. {Something about a girl handing out flowers to anyone and everyone – I can’t quite recall the whole thing.}

When she finished telling us the “story”, I asked her, “She’s talking about virginity, right?” I wanted to confirm with Ray that her fashion teacher was actually talking to the class about virginity. That’s a little unusual, right? I don’t remember my high school teachers talking to me about that, but, then again, I didn’t take sewing class (oops! I mean, fashion).  

I couldn’t really argue with the point that Mrs. Fashion was trying to make.

Anyway, back to the car. . . . . .Rachel, now embarrassed by my inquiry, answered in true teenage fashion, “Oh My God, Mommy! Yes, that’s what it means. Why do you always do that?”  It was something like that.  She knows me pretty well by now, so why did she risk it? It must be her immature frontal lobe (as she repeatedly reminds us).

Jack, sitting patiently throughout this whole discussion, asks, “What is virginity?”.

Now, I’m not one to shy away from a question. I’d rather the kids hear the answers from me or Mike than someone else.  And, “they” say that when kids ask the questions, parents need to provide them with thoughtful, age-appropriate, honest answers. Right?

However, Rachel and Maddie immediately put the kibosh on the impromptu sex talk with excessive “Oh My God-ing” and ” Mommy, not NOW-ing”.  It’s almost become a game now. You know, the game known as How Quickly Can I Get My Girls to Say, “OMG”?  It’s really almost too easy, but still fun.

I told Jack that daddy would talk to him later about it (I can’t verify that this ever happened).

The Life Plan

Last Friday, Jack and I were in the car going to the doctor about his allergies (allergy season sucks!). He is an uber talker especially when his sisters are MIA. I usually just have to nod my head or say, “uh-huh” and he can keep on talking and talking and ……..

On this  particular day, I got a peek into that 11-yr-old brain of his. He has his whole life planned out and it revolves around basketball, Hoop Dreams, if you will. My 4 foot 10 inch boy, told me:

“First, I have to make the Junior High team.  Mommy, do you think I can make the Junior High team?”

“Then, I’m going to make the High School team, play for some college and then get picked up by the Pacers.”

Mike repeatedly tells me to quit asking him what Plan B is – a kid needs to have his dreams. I’m just supposed to listen.  Okay, he’s right.

 So instead, I just asked Jack , “What are you  going to study in college, buddy?”  (that doesn’t sounds dream-squashing, does it?)

“I think I’m going to study quantum physics. [huh?]  I’m not sure what that is but I really like physics. Physics is cool.”

He really makes me smile. I don’t know about you, but when I was 11 I’m not sure I even knew the word “physics”, let alone “quantum physics”! Of course, with the internet, the History Channel and Mythbusters the world is much bigger place now.

 

I hope you enjoyed this installment of  The Engledow Chats!