21

It hardly seems possible… yet at the same time, it feels like he’s been an adult for a long time already. The Scout is 21 years old today.

his senior picture, taken by mom, October 2017

He was born in the pre-dawn hours of July 23rd, weighing in at a whopping nine-and-a-half pounds. The staff in the delivery room passed him around and guessed before weighing him, and they all guessed too low. *I* wasn’t surprised since I’d just spent 15 minutes pushing that baby OUT of my body!

The Scout and his mama on his first birthday
My four boys, summer 2000. Note the very dark tan hand around the baby’s middle.
The Scout when he was not quite 3 years old
Spring in Texas, 2003
The Scout with his Arrow of Light award
The Scout hikes: Summer 2019
Age three, he wanted a dinosaur cake. His parents made one with Cheetos… His first (but not last!) Cheesy-Puffasaurus birthday cake

HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY to my baby boy, the SnakeMaster, the Adventurer, the Eagle Scout!

With his ScoutMaster Dad, July 2016 — just a few weeks after falling out of that darn tree

Thwarted Plans

The Scout left after dinner yesterday to embark upon some social isolation hiking. We knew the state parks were closed, but he was very surprised when he got to his planned starting point and discovered this:

The article I read this afternoon tells me that over 7 MILLION ACRES have been closed — and that’s just in our state. My heart breaks for my son. Hiking is one of the few things he can do; he’s spent much of the past several years in his room, socially isolating because of Post Concussion Syndrome.
Yes, I know we’re supposed to be staying home due to the novel coronavirus and the dangers of COVID-19, and except for “essential” trips away from the house, that is what we are doing. Yesterday I drove him to two different medical appointments; I stayed in the car with my phone and a book while he went in to meet with those new-to-him doctors (all part of trying to find a way to heal from PCS). The doctors have no answers. They cannot explain why The Scout had 6 weeks of reprieve from his symptoms (chronic headache and cognitive impairment) after 3 months of hiking on the PCT last year. Since they have no answers, hiking again is his best chance for regaining his healthy self. Frankly, I see his solo hiking as somewhat essential for his mental and physical health. I do not begrudge him the chance to try again for that relief. He’s already changed plans twice this spring due to park closures (state and national) and the realization that he would be unwelcome visiting small towns for resupply.

I’ll leave you with this picture of him playing in the ocean with his brother 12 years ago on a mostly deserted Virginia beach (because, like today, it was cold and blustery), when no one but a hardy few were willing to get outside and experience the power of nature.

Nine Weeks and More

It’s been nine weeks since ankle fusion surgery. Unlike my searching at this point after the original ankle repair surgery, I have been unable to find any blog posts from others about this fun experience. I did find some trusted medical sites that gave much of the same information I already knew along with some research that tells me that in approximately 20 years time, I will likely be suffering from severe arthritis in my foot because the pressure relieved by fusing the ankle will be transferred to other places. Oh, joy.  And also? Oh, well! I put this surgery off for as long as I could, and here I am — basically in less pain now than I was prior to surgery, despite not being able to walk. I’m hopeful, in a desperate sort of way, that this really-and-truly works. I need it to work.

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Little Foot and Chomper 

Our oldest son and his little family came to visit on Tuesday night. The mama and daddy went to see Les Miserables while Oma and Opa babysat. We are so blessed to have them less than 80 miles away, and we had a terrific time with the kiddos (and their parents on Wednesday morning).  The Engineer‘s company had purchased the tickets nearly a year ago, so they had really good seats.

 

 

The Barefooter has been working 15 days on, 6 days off for the US Forest Service as a timber cruiser (not barefoot). We only see him when he comes home for his time off and Colorado has been keeping him busy, so I don’t have a photo to share.  He was home for the week of his next-in-line brother’s last week here, which was nice for both of them. Air Force, Tom

 

Humorous-Juniorous began his USAF career last week and is currently in Alabama for Officer Training School (OTS).  He has been able to send us a few e-mail messages to let us know things are going well.   

 

IMG_20190701_170725 (2) 4x6 self-portrait

 

 

 

The Scout, who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, southbound (PCT, SoBo) has completed the Washington State section and is well into Oregon by now. He called us last Friday from Cascade Locks and met up with extended family near Timberline Lodge. Hooray for safety, family, food, shower, and clean clothes!   

 

Basically, our family has become a far-flung entity while I’ve been stuck at home. I know the latter is only temporary and the former is perfectly normal. And yet… Facebook memories keep popping of from 10 years ago when we all lived together. They were so cute and young and living at home then! But birdies grow up and fly away from the nest, don’t they?

Handsome 4

 

Woman in Winter

Winter mocks her.

Despondency settles heavily on her brow like a sinus headache.

The steady drip of melting snow trickling off the eaves is just that: a trick. It will snow again. She knows this to be true.

DSCN1306  street view

Today’s roadway slush will freeze tonight into alien landforms. Walking outdoors is treacherous; slick ice with sloppy, wet, grayish-brown sludge on the offensive, ready to take her down. She despises shopping malls – if one more person suggests walking in one, she will scream. Besides, there is no time. She hasn’t seen her younger child since an early supper on Wednesday before he left for scouts, his shaggy unkempt hair incongruent with the neatness of the Boy Scout uniform. She lies awake late at night, trying to clear her mind and relax so she can sleep. Eventually, sleep comes – she suspects it arrives with a cast iron skillet like a cartoon fishwife.

Groggy mornings find her struggling (but not really – why fight the sleep that came so slowly?) to awaken. The children are already at school. She forces herself to go through the motions: shower, get dressed. She looks longingly at fleece lounge pants – too warm for sleep, they would be perfect right now. But she must leave for work and they are too informal for office attire, even for her. Wearing no make-up, she chooses nicer yoga pants that she hopes look like dress pants.

At work, she fakes happiness in a voice doesn’t belong to her. The more she accomplishes the further behind she feels. How important, really, is that particular task? Would anyone notice if it was done or left undone? She stays late at the office in a futile attempt to catch up, making mistakes that cost her more time.

She pulls into the driveway and turns the key, shutting off the engine. Life at home continued without her, of course. The fourteen-year-old has already shut himself in his room for the night. Her place is set at the table, her cold supper portion resting in serving dishes.

Rest. That’s what she craves. So much remains undone in her life: work, appointments. She sighs – and realizes that in the morning shuffle, she failed to take her medication. No wonder she is achy and sad. (There is no exclamation point because one of the forgotten pills is an anti-depressant.) If she takes one now, she will perk up and have trouble sleeping. It is better to wait for morning. Tomorrow is another day.

february-freezing-rain

This post was originally written 4 years ago and left to languish in the “drafts” file. Today simply felt like the right day to set it free.

 

The mind of a teenage boy

Below is the resident teenager’s Christmas wish list from 2015. In the heading, he noted that it was “mostly sub twenty” — meaning less than $20 per item.

  1. A sharpening stone of some sort for pocket knives, oil requiring or no doesn’t matter.
  2. A watch with a sturdy long-lasting band (not plastic/rubber) that is water resistant to the point I could swim with it on.
  3. Fifty plus feet of para-cord.
  4. If you can find cheap waterproof or really water resistant winter gloves with a longer wrist to go under my sleeve that would be really good too.
  5. The usual cash, some sugary poison, preferably some kind of chocolate—I’ll take any, about 95% dark and under, Swedish fish, Nutella, Eggnog, or something like bit’o honey (Caramel/Cream bite size candies) No sour, fizzy, root beer flavored, ect. [sic]
  6. Beef jerky, also preferably no weird flavors, such as teriyaki or mesquite.
  7. Random items that you think I might like appreciate.
  8. And, if you really want to invest, by any means feel free to get me something really nice, a good bike, a backyard pool, some nice outdoor stuff, a horse and somewhere to keep it, a trip to some exotic place, a working lightsaber, scuba gear, a hang gliding trip, etcetera. Use your imagination, besides, look on the bright side, if you do this, the next few [years of getting me] birthday and Christmas presents might get called off for you, or I might get spoiled and demand more.

 

DSCN7126  My memory is as out-of-focus as this picture.

My memory is as fuzzy and out-of-focus as this picture of the Christmas tree.

 

You’d probably like to know what we ended up getting him for Christmas. I’m curious myself! On Christmas Day, I was one month out of surgery for my trimalleolar fracture and on some pretty strong pain medicine. I do know that we are not the proud owners of a horse and stable. 🙂

I was curious enough to look up previous orders on my Amazon account (the only way that any Christmas shopping got done). He received, in part, some new running gear. The fact I still have Amazon Prime is proof that those were some pretty strong pain meds; I forgot to turn off our free 30-day trial and ended up paying $99 for the entire year. Never mind that I was too busy to shop the special Prime Day sale on July 12th.

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What sort of  gifts have you (or your kids or someone else you know) wished for that would fit in category #8 above? 

 

And all the children are above average

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.**

Wait, no — that’s not right.

I’m not really sure what to call the past 2 weeks. At times it has been joyous, but it has also been challenging in an unpleasant way. But first, the good stuff:

DSCN9396  unplanned outfits, WEBSIZED

I’ve gotten to visit the next generation family twice over a 4-day window.  I visited on a Saturday nearly 2 weeks ago . While The Scout and SuperDad were off Riding the Hiawatha, I had the privilege of riding with my little buddy. It had been 6 weeks since my last visit and I felt about three weeks overdue for grandson snuggles.

DSCN9357 Big boy smiles, RESIZED

I cannot get enough of this sweet boy. SuperDad hadn’t seen him in person since Mother’s Day, so the two of us drove to their town again last Wednesday. I love seeing my husband being a grandpa.

DSCN9471  cropped websized

DSCN9478 Opa helps Little Foot listen to Daddy, WEBSIZED

Listening to Daddy’s voice coming out of the tube at the park…   It’s so fun to see Little Foot clearly working his brain to figure out his world.

DSCN9499  Mommy caught a duck! 4x6  WEBSIZED

DSCN9509  Drake, websized

We were chillin’ at the park (literally, we were keeping cool at the end of a hot day). The Author, who loves all birds and had at one time wanted to become a veterinarian specializing in bird care, enjoys feeding the ducks. And then she caught one!

 

Little Foot was curious at first but then became jealous of the creature in Mommy’s arms where he rightfully belonged. It was clearly bedtime for baby.

DSCN9569  end of long day, curly hair 4x6  WEBSIZED

 

Little Foot, standing!

 

Little Foot is 7 months old today.  Time is passing by so quickly and his babyhood is already slipping away. His mama sent me this picture just a few days ago — Standing! 

 

 

So now, let’s discuss the other young member of the family, our resident teenager, who has had a couple of painful lessons in life in the past month. As you might have read in yesterday’s post, he had his bicycle stolen  a few weeks ago. I have sympathy for his plight; at the same time, I had mentioned a time or three that leaving the bike overnight at the school was unwise because a single bike in a deserted area was an invitation for thieves. Granted, the bike was stolen in broad daylight, but the school grounds were empty which is the same premise.  So, bike gone, lesson learned. (I hope.)
Wait, did I use the word LESSON? Ah… this was the school year of taking an online Spanish course. The Scout struggled through this course, not really understanding much of anything. He’s our last kid and we are pretty hands-off at this point because he has been so responsible. What we didn’t know was that this was a “homegrown” course for the school district and by the end of the year, a majority of the students had dropped it, were failing it or in danger of failing it. We turned to a neighbor for help — he had taught high school Spanish before he retired — but even he couldn’t understand what the English directions were asking the students to do. With the neighbor’s help, The Scout took a “pass” on the course, scraping by with a D-.  Now he is trying to catch up with students who took Spanish 1 in the classroom by taking a 6-week remedial course online for summer school. Unfortunately, this course began one day before said teenager left for a week of scout camp and will end with another week of scout camp , leaving him 4 weeks to do the work. There’s a strong chance he may end up repeating the course in a classroom in September. So that’s painful lesson #2

The Scout went off to Rendezvous with minimal supplies. Many items were strictly forbidden due to the fact that they hadn’t yet been invented and/or in use during fur trapping 1830 North America. The boys waded to an island with their burlap sacks, built and slept in tepees, kept mosquitoes away with smoke, swam with beavers, and generally did things that mothers shouldn’t know about. It’s the sort of week where scout safety is quietly set aside for realism. I’m pretty sure the district office allows this to operate on a don’t ask/don’t tell policy. Our young man learned some useful skills and had a wonderful time. After picking him up on Saturday, we drove home with the windows open. 

It wasn’t all mud and beaver dams and mosquitoes; they also did sewing and bead work, shot with black powder, and learned a lot of history.

Painful lesson #3: It hurts when you fall out of a tree. Sunday afternoon he took a walk through the park — and because he is a teenage boy, he saw a tree and decided to climb it. He was 23 feet in the air when the branch broke. He landed on his back, blacked out briefly from the pain, got up and walked home. Ice and pain pills got him through the evening. Amazingly, he did not hit his head or break anything. Or die. The CT scan was “normal.”

**
“Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” – Garrison Keillor

I have discovered something about myself over the past 30 years, that when the truly frightening events occur — when the kid falls 2+ stories and lands on his back, when that same kid chokes and has to be thoroughly suctioned when he’s 6 hours old, when another kid totals the car, or I hit a deer at 50 mph –all those times and more, I enter a state of calm that is almost frightening in itself. It may appear that I am lackadaisical or don’t have a true understanding of the situation. It’s quite the opposite; I understand all too well.

When little boys grow up

family pics 338

This sweet little guy, whose photo I took on Valentine’s Day in February of 2000, is now 16 years old and has been down on the couch with a virus this week.

Hopefully he’s back in action soon.

 

Archive Pictures, August -December 2005 043, Alex, Oct. 2005

The Scout, before he was a Scout or a SnakeMaster, was a Kindergartner trying on SuperDad’s Kevlar helmet and bulletproof vest prior to deployment.       Photo taken October 2005.