Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Fall Back Plan

Our humble castle feels a bit empty since M has been gone since June 5, living the upstate New York life of water ski instructor at a posh "Parent Trap-esque" camp.  Being a ski instructor doesn't come without hard work and study.  M is now Red Cross lake guard certified; a mere 24 laps in the pool as one of the qualifications for the certificate.  The snap chat she sent, post-test, was titled "never so happy to pass a test!" with a wearied child in the picture.   Then there was the standard CPR and life guard certifications--passed, of course.  However knowledge of the best certification M needed came in the text form to her sister...the conversation was a good laugh for the family.

Princess A asked in a text "what have you been doing today?"

Then Princess A came up with the fall back plan: M will drive the tour ferry, she'll be the tour guide and D will provide entertainment.  Certainly the only ferry tour boat with a singer who sings Italian arias...and Japanese songs as well.  My friend added, "Princess A can sell her baked goods as well."  Ooooo yes, she is quite the baker!

And so we waited and waited and waited to hear about the test.  Finally this past Monday the NY license dude came to camp to administer the test.

I pleased to announce that of the six water front counselors that tested three passed the NY public vessel exam--M is one of those three!  That's my girl, she was not about to settle for a spotter in the boat.  She excels as always!

So if anyone out there knows of a good place to buy a captain's hat, we were thinking this girl needs one.  She may not be driving a ferry boat (yet) but she sure as hell is licensed to do so.  Which calls for the fashion to celebrate.

Captain Maddi Phyl.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Famous Cousin Name Sign

Over the last decade plus we have spent holidays snapping pictures of the cousins—holding a sign up with “Charley” written a sheet of paper (for years his wife’s name was on paper too and then no more) then posting it on Facebook, texting it…so that the one missing cousin knew he was missed. So goes the life of an Air Force pilot. 

Since Charley joined the Air Force right out of college he has been home with us for one Christmas; one Christmas in over ten years that the cousins were all together…and it was recorded with the snap of a camera.
Last Thanksgiving M was gone with the MSU marching band performing in Florida and she asked “did I get my name on a sign?” I replied that we reserve that method of record for Christmas only.  (We've never had to do two names on signs before and honestly that might have really set in the feeling of absence.) 
Until Father’s Day. 
Charley moved home last weekend!  Okay, well not home but as close to home as he has been in the last decade plus.  When you are stationed four hours from St. Louis we are going to go ahead and call it “home.”  Which called for a change of rules.  We weren't just snapping that famous cousin picture at Christmas only because it is so rare that AF pilot Major Charley is ever pictured with the cousins.  And so our family gathering of celebrating fathers called for the only photograph I took the whole day.  Oh ya, and a name change on the sign. 
Charley said "for once it isn't my name on the sign!"

Nope that would be upstate New York Maddi's name on the sign this go-round.

Let's cross our fingers that we can repeat Christmas 2011 and photograph the six cousins together once again. 

I'm feeling very hopeful.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Turning Leaf

This moment is a bridge between
Past and Future -- carefully cross it.
This moment is choice -- Make it.
This moment is life -- live it.

-- Pum Sandhu

This summer hall pass, all this home alone, has me remembering what it was like when I was a SAHM--minus the thundering roar of children’s voices echoing throughout the house.  (The house is still and silent; only the noise I create vibrates the walls.)  The days when I washed floors on a Tuesday at noon, ran to the stores at ten in the morning and picked up, continuously, after the entire family.  Answering the phone ten times a day to King Ralph’s calls of what are you doing; never believing my answer of “laundry”, still, on the sixth call.  Because contrary to his male belief system; it actually took most the day to crank out the laundry for a family of five…in between loads of laundry and dusting furniture, packing in a few chapters of a great novel. Oh, and blogging.  Aaaahhh; the good ole’ days.

When it isn’t my summer hall pass season I feel it a literal chore to wash floors on a Saturday.  Running to the stores is an after work obligation to feed the family or secure toilet paper and laundry soap.  Laundry is done mostly when King Ralph announces to everyone that he is on his last pair of underwear and will forced soon to wear his cleanest dirtiest pair.  The only phone call King Ralph shares with me each day is the one I make on my way out of work.  Often I am so tired from answering phones and talking to preteens and teens that I make my calls short in opt for silence.  How life has changed.  The changes keep on coming, no matter how much I try to stop them.

This year King Ralph and I will take a summer vacation minus the offspring.  We have been awful lucky that we have daughters that treasure family vacation time—road trips, long camping trips cross country, singing in the car while memorizing the words to all those “best of” albums from the days-gone-by; albums that savor what really good music was all about.  This year it’s different.  Not that the girls don’t want to be with us, they just have chosen different paths for themselves.  M is off in New York (I have a good story coming soon), D has taken a full time job this summer in hopes of stashing enough cash to join a sorority.  The one thing as parents we refuse to pay for…not mention I so don’t think D is the sorority kinda girl, but wants to be “like” her sisters.  This in a sense is endearing.  But college is a time to figure out and learn who you really are, and figure she will.  Princess A was offered to join in on the vacation fun, only to inform us that she is not an only child and at twenty-three does not want to see how it tastes.  Really I think she prefers to save her vacation time for jet-setting to California to visit a particular (remaining unnamed) young man.  A girl with a real job savoring every day of her earned time off.  And so the leaf of life takes a turn.  Question. Are any of us really ready for the leaf to turn?  I say no.  Maybe it’s because, we are all so nostalgic for “what was”…because our children defined who we were for so long it is hard to imagine being “just a couple” again.  As romantic as a couple is there is certain romance to family—a love of time shared like none other.      

One day the leaf will turn yet again. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Summer Hall Pass

This is one of my favorite times of the year, the time when I have my summer hall pass.  Eight weeks of unpaid leave from work to play with friends and family, sleep in, do laundry and wash floors in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, and for the first time in my parenting life be home alone with my thoughts.  The girls are all off working full time.  

First let's take a minute to reflect...
about best friends excited to have graduated high school

or that M is off in upstate New York working (first getting trained and certified) at an elite girls summer camp, making new friends from across the oceans and building her teaching skills, all while taking in this view.  A matter of fact that lake is her office--M the water ski instructor.

Well I suppose I better churn a little more laundry and then read my book.  The life of a girl with a summer hall pass. Tough life!