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Family Kids Thoughts

Let It Go

Yesterday we decided to take a drive to Sunspot to the observatory there. I couldn’t find online if it was open, but I thought the drive would be nice, and we could at least see the observatory from the outside. Plus, the best views of the Tularosa Basin are from Sunspot and the drive there. Well, winding up the mountain made a backseat passenger feel carsick. The observatory was closed. You couldn’t even drive in to see it. And the best viewpoint of the basin along the road? Only Jeremy and I got out to look. It was not at all what I had planned for the day. I realized, though, that there was a point in time where a day like yesterday would have put me in a serious bad mood. Feeling responsible that we couldn’t see the observatory, burdened by the bickering from the backseat, wasting gas to drive nowhere. Over the years, though, and especially living with teenagers, I’ve learned to let those things go, because plans don’t always go smoothly. Sometimes you just have to make the best of the moment, and be responsible for your own attitude, because you can’t control the attitude of others.

In an effort to redeem our two hours in the car, we stopped at a local bakery for a cookie. I’ve always said chocolate makes everything better. Yesterday it sure did. Walk in a good attitude, and eat some chocolate today, friends.

Family Kids

This Boy

Today my proud mom thoughts turn to my boy. Yesterday I got an email from Joshua’s school asking for photos since they are putting together a graduation slideshow. Joshua’s school journey has been anything but normal. He’s literally done every kind of school there is, I think…semi-private kindergarten to the public government school in South Africa to homeschool in America to public school in America back to homeschool in South Africa to a sort of homeschool taught by a real teacher (not me) in South Africa to private school to online school to finally ending with a charter school in Texas. He’s adapted to each one so easily. I stayed in the same school district with mostly the same kids from 1st grade until I graduated. I can’t imagine having to adapt to so much change, but he’s done it.

He finished high school early, back in November. They asked us if he wanted to participate in graduation in May. At the time, we weren’t sure where we’d be, so he opted out of donning a cap and gown. And here we are now, in the middle of a pandemic, where walking the stage isn’t even possible.

As I’ve looked back on photos of Joshua throughout his childhood, I am struck by how they’ve captured just who he is. This kid is hilarious and has a golden sense of humor. I say he’s like me in that. He says he’s not at all like me, because he’s actually funny. I have to laugh at the time he went to school dressed in a cardboard box or the time we were camping and he put on knit gloves and goggles to tend the fire. And though this boy of mine is totally content being an introvert, his sense of adventure is clearly evident. We’ve traveled the world with our kids, and Joshua’s always been one excited to experience it all.

As we close this chapter of high school and I get all nostalgic looking at photos filled with such beautiful memories, I feel a twinge of bittersweetness as we embark on the next season of life with an adult child. I’m also excited on the memories to be made in this new season.

Family Kids

This Girl

Some days I think we’re as different as night and day. Other days, like today, as she sits taking an AP exam while I type this, and I see her hard work and discipline to achieve, I think that maybe we’re more alike than I thought. Either way, I’m so proud of her.

This week we’re coming to the end of her freshman year (which has been the longest freshman year ever that started January 2019 and only ends now…that’s what happens when you change schools on different continents with different start and end dates). I can’t believe she’s already finishing one year of school in America. This move has probably been the hardest for her and yet she’s handled it with such grace and determination. I’m super proud of her for making the decision to make the best out of it even though it has been incredibly hard.

Grieving our move from South Africa to America has come in different waves and stages. We’re all still adjusting, even a year later. Today I’m just especially thankful for my kids and their resilience and intent to make something the best it can be.

Kids photography

Shaking The Dust Off

Last May, Emma G and I did a fun little photoshoot. I used to take tons of photos, but in recent years, I haven’t picked up my camera much. Looking back at these reminded me how much I love it. Here’s to trying a new hobby or shaking the dust off of one you’ve put aside over the years!

Family Kids

Happy 18th Birthday, Joshua!

It’s true that time really does fly. I can’t believe that today we are celebrating our firstborn’s 18th birthday. It truly does seem like yesterday we were bringing home that 9 lb. 12 oz bundle of cuteness. In honor of Joshua’s birthday, today I’m sharing 10 favorite things that have to do with Joshua.

1. His sense of humor. He’s so funny with his sly jokes. One time Jeremy commented that Joshua and I have a similar sense of humor to which Joshua replied, “No, we don’t.” I was shocked, because we actually do. Then, he added, “I’m funny.” Yep. There it is. That sense of humor!

2. When Joshua was about 7, we were living in Texas for a sabbatical time. Jeremy told Joshua he would pay him $3 to pick up all the sticks in the backyard. A couple of hours later we find Emma Grace picking up sticks and Joshua in his room. We asked Emma Grace what she was doing, and she happily replied that her brother was paying her $1 to pick up all the sticks. We didn’t know whether to be mad or to laugh in that moment!

3. His sensitivity to the feelings of others. It’s a beautiful thing.

4. His love for learning and reading. I’m always impressed by his thirst for knowledge.

5. When he was 3 or 4, we had a weekly evening gathering at our house. It always went way past Joshua’s bedtime, so we would put him to bed while everyone was still there. One night in particular he couldn’t stand being in bed while everyone was downstairs, so he got up and sat at the bottom of the stairs in a spot where it was hard to see him, but he could hear what was going on. Of course, we discovered he was there and took him back to bed. It happened again, so we told him to stay in bed or we would take his nightlight out of his room. We thought that would do the trick, so we were shocked when we discovered him at the bottom of the stairs again. We were even more shocked when he handed us the nightlight. Guess we chose the wrong punishment!

6. I love being able to have an intelligent conversation with him while learning interesting facts about just about anything. It always keeps the conversation interesting.

7. This video of his 12th birthday.

8. I love that he’s not afraid to say what he thinks or wants.

9. That smile of his. Melts this mama’s heart!

10. Most of all, I love Joshua for who he is, because who he is is pretty great!

Happy 18th birthday, Joshua! I love you with all my heart!