2 Ducks. 2 Universities. 2 Weeks.

My daughter graduated from college on Saturday and my son will graduate in two weeks. If you read this blog regularly, you know they are twins and we were jumping with joy a year ago when my daughter’s university finally listed the graduation date and it was different from her twin brother’s! (Whew!)

We arrived home Monday from traveling two states away for her special day. My youngest flew up from Virginia to the Midwest to see her sister graduate, flew back for her final exams and will return home later today. My son drove from his university to meet us. It was a whirlwind few days of travel for all of us. The coordination and planning culminated in a joyous weekend of eating, celebrating, shopping and just having all-around family fun. My son and husband even squeezed in a round of golf before we jumped in the car and headed home.As I was looking at the photos from graduation weekend, I zoomed in on my husband’s eyes which looked really tired. Every photo I’m in with my precious graduate…well, this Mama’s had better hair days. Let me mention that the school decided at the last minute to hold graduation outdoors (we assume due a popular commencement speaker drawing a larger crowd) where it promptly began raining and held tight to a solid 49 degrees. I cursed myself for rising out of the cozy hotel bed at 6am to bother curling my hair :).

I suppose I could blame the rain and long road trip for our fatigued images in the photos, but this past weekend was our 5th travel weekend out of the last six. While I largely work from home, my man had to be up and out every Monday morning following lengthy road trips and one trip by flight. The flight was to see our youngest in Virginia, which truly held multiple blessings for which I thank God for them all. One of course was the weather, which I couldn’t help but share with you here. We watched her play field hockey for her university and we also had fun spending time with her friends who are hilarious and thoughtful kids who are really making an effort to honor God in their young lives.Then, other than one weekend at home, we drove back and forth, staying in hotels another three weekends to see graduating daughter in all her “final” celebrations. Last major competition for her DII lacrosse team. Senior day for lacrosse. The fashion show where she designed and sewed two complete outfits for the runway where two models wore her clothes. She’s a business graduate with majors in fashion and entrepreneurship. While she attended a private university, she spent last year attending FIT in Manhattan and interned with an international fashion house as part of her program. The girl who couldn’t wait to move to NYC has decided that she will never live there again :). And, she was in a trendy, very nice area… but still too noisy for her!

Two weeks from now, her twin and my son, will take his turn walking across the stage, graduating from his university an hour away from hers (thankfully, an hour closer to home!). All three ducks will be home together only for 24hours before my youngest leaves for her 9-week summer job down south. In the meantime, the nest has already filled in with my graduated daughter having piles of clothes, etc., strewn everywhere. This afternoon, the house will close in even more as my youngest pulls in the driveway with her own mountain of dorming stuff. The homecomings bring me happiness as the nest fills with life and action again. Being the deep thinker that I am, this change and activity also makes me marvel at the speed of it all.

I mean, seriously? Four years have passed since moving my twins into their respective universities? There is much to think about and reflect upon, and I already shared a bit of those thoughts with you here.  Since that post, I’m feeling less melancholy which might have something to do with them arriving back in the nest (wink).

This summer will hold another adjustment as my daughter moves out of state to her new career (after she just moved back in Monday) and my son has decided to live at home permanently while working in his first big boy job and saving money.

As I consider these upcoming “adjustments”, my mind travels to the young years when “adjustment” meant moving from baby food to solids…dropping them off for full-day Kindergarten…leaving them in the Sunday School nursery even though they were crying…

Those were small potatoes. At the time, they were monumental potatoes, but not compared to the reality that these are the final few years (if that) before they move out for good and eventually marry, building their own nests: When Your Kids Near Marrying Age.

As we embark upon yet another new parenting season of having adult children – college graduates – who now live at home for a time, I’m grateful. I’m thankful for card games and board games. Summer dinners on the backyard table. All the usual things we tend to do during the summer and I don’t stress over too much any more. I think I wore myself out during the teen years (wink) and learned the hard way to trust God at every turn.  I’ve learned that the only steady, ever-present Rock that will never change or shift or move is the One Who knows us best. Who loves us just as we are, right where we are. Ready to help us navigate and enjoy all the fresh waters we’ve yet to explore as parents of adult children.

Thanks for catching up with my nest-news today. I wish you a happy weekend :).

 

 

 

Hanging on When the Winds Blow Hard

The branches in my Northeastern town remain bare. Last November’s leaves are still strewn on the ground, some lightly covered in a dusting of snow.

Despite the windiest winter ever, the few leaves in the photos hung on. Wind, snow and cold fought hard to rip those leaves off as they had pulled down every other leaf in sight.

Those. Held.

While these branches wouldn’t be considered a vine and the paper thin leaves are certainly not fruit, I thought of that scripture when looking at these photos I took a few days ago.

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.” John 15:5 GNT

The verse is actually speaking of not being able to produce good things (“fruit” such as love, joy, patience…) without remaining attached to Jesus (the vine). Depending on what’s going on, it’s not even “good things” I’m clinging to Him for. Sometimes, we hang on tight merely to survive the smaller struggles that can overtake our time and minds – swiftly ripping us from the Vine – if we’re not paying attention.

“Remain alert. Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong.” 1 Cor. 16:13

 

 

 

An April Fool’s Joke You Can’t Get Away With in 2019

Right up until the kids moved to college, I always pulled some shenanigans on April Fool’s Day – every single year. It was especially fun during the high school years when teenagers pulled open the fridge door, only to have a bowl of dry cereal dumped on their head. Mornings before school generated the biggest laughter – mostly mine! I got in 3-4 stunts before 7:30am.

When they were little, I gave them sweet funnies that generated happy giggles. When they were teenagers, it was game-on rigging shower heads and toilets. I messed with their shoes and lunches…even put a “for sale” sign in the back window of my son’s car during his senior year! During my youngest daughter’s senior year, I drove to the high school just before her day ended and loaded her car with filled balloons and tied a few on the outside side mirrors with long ribbon. I wish I could have watched her squeeze her eyes tight, shake her head back and forth and smile in spite of her mother – all that long walk in front of friends in the parking lot – but I had to high-tail it out of there before she arrived!

I basically did anything to bring a smile to their face and a hearty laugh for myself.

My husband isn’t as much fun to prank, but I still do it. One of my classics is from eons ago when the kids were still in diapers. Cell phones had made an entry into society (and into my husband’s vehicle) but they were big and bulky and certainly did not tell the time. Yes, the ‘ol time joke was the best that particular year.

Late into the night of March 31st, I lay next to my husband stifling giggles and hoping that my April Fool’s plan would work out. After he hit REM sleep, I crept out of bed and set all clocks in the house back one hour. Then, I went outside and set his car clock. And his watch.

Barely able to contain my excitement, I remained under the covers and peered out of my half-slit eyes as my husband rose up, showered and headed out to work. As luck would have it, my husband planned to get the oil changed in his car on the way to work. I didn’t know this during planning, but it gave me a great ab work out of laughter when I found out a short time later.

The second the car pulled out of the driveway, I leapt up and laughed all the way through morning chores. The phone rang about 45 minutes later (the kind that used to sit on kitchen counters, not stuffed in your back pocket).

“Uhhh, this is weird but the place isn’t open yet. It’s been a weird morning. Less traffic and no one is here. Is today a school holiday or something?”

I could barely contain myself. “No holiday today. Where are you?”

“I’m at the car place but it opens at 7…” (Moments of silence ensue as he thinks about why a car place wouldn’t be open.) “It’s 7:45…I don’t know why it’s closed…maybe it opens at 8.” Silence. Thinking. Reading the sign on their door.  “But, it doesn’t open at 8! It opens at 7!”… “I’m just going to work. I’m not going to sit here another 10 minutes.”

We hang up and I let this continue…

A short time later, the land line rings again. At this point, I’m sure he knows. In my most cheerful tone… “Hello?!!”

A sarcastic voice responds. “Real funny! How in the world!!?? I cannot even believe you did this…I should have known…the sky wasn’t as bright…”

I haven’t stopped laughing since.

Now, our phones automatically update and correct the time and announce every single event – even those email confirmations you didn’t put on your phone calendar appear in your phone calendar! Very few people don’t look at their phone between the time they wake up and go to work.

And, very few people wear watches any more since they have their phones!

Enjoy your April Fool’s Day and have some fun!

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