Some years are better than others. That is a fact. While this was a tumultuous year for the world collectively, oddly enough, it was one of the better ones for our little clan. (And, we’ve had our share of not-so-good years.) With more wins than losses this year, it seemed fitting to write down the good stuff while it’s (semi) fresh in my head.
1st Major Parenting Goal Accomplished: Our first kid graduated from high school!
The old cliche is true. While the days are most definitely long, the years are most definitely short. From the time the new year dawned, everything just barreled toward graduation with a speed I was not prepared for. There were tears and one big ugly-cry, but when he walked across that stage the feeling of overwhelming pride was like no other. We did it! We got him through school. We got him to age 18. We raised a human being. We’re putting a fine young man out into the world. I couldn’t be more proud.
2nd Major Parenting Goal Accomplished: Our first kid went to college!
While it seems like this should go hand-in-hand with the first one, I’m keenly aware this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of distractions and certainly other viable paths to take after completing 14 years of education (preschool – 12th grade). I’m proud Chet set his sights on college and stuck to that decision. It took a lot of effort but he did it! Now he’s a freshman at the University of Oklahoma! (Boomer Sooner, Baby!) This is something I dreamed about when he was born. To see it happening right in front of my eyes was so strange and satisfying. This kid was built for college life and is knocking it out of the park! He is a member of the AF-ROTC and is heading out this week on a mission trip with the OU Wesley Foundation. Watching him find his path is the most gratifying feeling of parenthood so far.
Parenting Dream Fulfilled: We have a football player!
There are goals and then there are dreams. When we had two little boys, I think both my husband and I assumed we would be spending every minute of free time at sports games and practices, and certainly we would have a football player since my husband played and his dad before him played. The boys tried a bunch of different things but nothing really stuck. Then, Coach Morgan happened. It was his 8th grade P.E. coach that suggested Ethan go out for the football. (Some things require independent 3rd party verification in our house.) So he did. He went to summer conditioning and played the full Freshman Football season on special teams and as a safety. They even beat their sworn rivals—TWICE! Now this kid eats, sleeps, and breathes football. “Is there a football game on today, Mom?” is a common question every morning now and when he’s not watching it, he’s playing it on his phone or Xbox. The video games and apps have actually helped him learn the plays and positions. So cool. While we would have been fine with whatever extracurricular activity Ethan chose, we are loving being football parents!
Major Job Promotion: I’m the Project Manager for Picture Book Summit!
This was a late-in-the-year development, but a huge one nonetheless. I’ve been working the founders of Picture Book Summit since the online conference started in 2015. I’m the executor (not like that!). I’ve been the one doing the behind-the-scenes tasks and taking care of customer service for the last three years. I love working with this team and our project manager Kristin. At the end of this year, Kristin was offered an opportunity to pursue her writing career she just couldn’t pass up. After she left, the team offered me the promotion to Project Manager! How awesome to have my hard work recognized. Grateful doesn’t begin to describe what this means to me.
Major Goal Accomplished I Had Nothing To Do With: My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!
How amazing is that? Fifty years with the same person. That’s an accomplishment. And, they still love each other! That’s an even bigger accomplishment. They still love doing things together (and still love some time apart too). We are so lucky to have them as our role models for how to navigate this life AND enjoy it at the same time. For their anniversary in July, ALL our family went to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a week. Their best friends came with us and helped perform their vow renewal ceremony. Such a wonderful week!
Number of New States I Visited This Year: 9
We drove to the festivities in South Carolina and took a different route back so I visited these states for the first time:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
Took a business trip in September and went to:
- New York!
Yes! I got to visit New York City for the first time. My friend and unflappable tour guide, Katie, made it a trip to remember. I stood at the top of the Empire State Building. Rode the subway. Got lost on the subway. Saw Grand Central Station. Rode the Staten Island Ferry. Sailed by the Statue of Liberty. Had a drink at a cool bar in Central Park West. Walked through Central Park and glimpsed Times Square on our way out of town. To see all these sights from TV in real life was nothing short of amazing!
Other cool things that happened this year:
- Watched our friends march with The Pride of Broken Arrow in Tournament of Roses Parade
- Ethan competed in his first robotics meet. (He completely downplayed this but it was the coolest thing to watch!)
- Chet and Ethan both got jobs working for Say It with Beef! Job title: Carniflorist – They make roses out of beef jerky. Seriously.
- I learned to crochet!
- Chet and Ethan went to New Orleans!
- I filled in for the pastor and gave the message three times at church this year!
- Met The Outsiders author S.E. Hinton at a 50th anniversary book signing event.
- Big Chet drove an Audi R8 at 150 mph.
- We got a new (to us) car!
- Took my mom to a book signing with one of her favorite authors, Sandra Brown.
- We had all the grandparents and aunts here for Chet’s graduation. Not sure the last time we were all in the same place at the same time.
Whew! No wonder I’m tired! As I said, not all years are like this, but I’m thankful during the tough times, there are good times to remember and look forward to.
Wishing you a wonderful 2018!