Life Lessons and Let(-ting) It Go

Life Lessons and Let(-ting)It GoChildhood is continually marked with milestones and firsts. This time of year, it’s also marked with lasts. This is my last month as mom of a kindergartener, last month of having any kids under five, and so many more. But I like to look forward, so let’s concentrate on the firsts.

The girl participated in her first May Crowning at church.

The boy played in his first tee ball game.

The girl will complete her first session of gymnastics.

The boy will participate in his first field day at school .

The girl also had her first-ever audition. She’d been mulling over trying out for the school talent show ever since seeing some friends on the stage last year. Her performance ideas varied as the year past, but when the audition form came home at the end of April, she was confident in her decision. She would audition for the talent show by singing “Let It Go.” Maybe you’ve heard it before. Are you familiar with the movie Frozen???

She learned the correct lyrics and we practiced the karaoke version. We downloaded the instrumental version of the song and charged her iPod. I marked the calendar with the audition date.

And I wondered. I wondered how she sounded compared to the other singers. I wondered how many girls were going to get up and sing “Let It Go” with the same hopeful look in their eyes. I even wondered if there would be a “Let It Go” chorus, where the scores of girls auditioning could all take part.

I saw what a production this was when I picked Meg up after her audition- there were over 140 acts auditioning, and auditions were taking place in three separate areas of the school. Panels of judges were in each room, scoring each act on a few different measures. 140 acts auditioning, and 20 being cast in the show.

I didn’t see Meg pull the letter out of her backpack and read it. When she handed it to me, the look on her face told me she wouldn’t be performing in the talent show this year. And I realized this was a milestone too- a first rejection.

She took the news well, and I’m glad the casting happened on a Friday and she’s had the weekend to mull it over. It’s come up a few times over the past few days, and I’ve given her plenty of examples of things I tried out for but wasn’t selected for. Here in no particular order are a few of them:

  • school talent shows
  • student exchange program
  • cheerleading (ha! Can you imagine?)
  • assorted school plays
  • assorted jobs
  • assorted social media opportunities

I’m still here, and I’m still kicking, and I know that she will do the same. And as much as I wish there¬†would be a “Let It Go” chorus, I understand why there isn’t. This is a milestone that doesn’t go down in the record books, but may be it should. The concept of not everyone makes everything is a big one, and it’s good to learn about it when your memory is short and your hopes are high, and you’re inclined to continue to sing the song you love so much. Although she doesn’t believe, I tell her that she gets props for her first-ever audition. I know some day she’ll understand why.



Choosing the Right College: How on Earth Did That Happen?

Today while on a walk with a girlfriend, the subject of choosing colleges came up in the conversation. And it was decided between the two of us that wow, that’s a big life decision you’re making at the age of seventeen or so.

I decided early on in the college searching process that I wanted to go to a small college. The idea that Indiana University had the same number of students as the entire population of my hometown was overwhelming to me. I’m sure my parents had a bit of a heart attack as brochures came in for schools that were twice the amount of in-state tuition, but for the most part, they held their tongue.

They drove me all over the midwest — to Beloit College in Wisconsin, to Kalamazoo College in Michigan, to St. Mary-of-the-Woods near Terre Haute. I’m wondering if senior vists are cut down today by the advent of the Internet. Had my mom seen the condition of St. Joseph’s College in Renselessar on the internet, she would have saved the gas money.

My girlfriend laughed when I told her how I chose Marian — I had a stack of applications and I completed Marian’s application first because it didn’t require an essay. I mailed it in first, and had every intention of getting started the essays required for all of the other schools. Then I got busy being yearbook editor and stage manager and you know, being a senior in high school.

And I got accepted into Marian with a great financial aid package before I ever even started writing a rough draft of an essay for any of those other schools.I visited one more time, thought it was good and made the decision to attend. I then got back to being a senior in high school.

As it turned out, I made life long friends, got a solid education, and developed a fondness for the city my family now calls home……..but conversations like today sometimes make me wonder what would have happened if I had even just applied to one more school.

And I wonder if I will be able to give MaM and Junior the wide berth my parents’ did when it came to choosing a school. I mean sure, it was my education, but it was their tuition money. Years later my mom told me she was incredibly relieved that I chose Marian over all the other schools we’d visited — it was Catholic, it was small, it was affordable w/ financial aid, and it was a drivable distance from home. As I type this, I realize maybe once they figured out that I was happy with Marian, they’d just keep their mouths shut and thank their lucky stars.

How did you choose your school? Was it a process? Were your parents very involved? Was the internet involved in your college search at all (it wasn’t in mine)?

Fall Break Wrap Up…

I am sitting here, listening to RAIN pour down in central Indiana, something I haven’t heard for any amount of time in ages. Oh wait…it’s over. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

We had two of our five days of fall break disrupted by vomit, but overall, we were able to have a lot of fall fun these past few days. Wednesday we visited the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, including Skeletown, their haunted house (during friendly ,lights-on hours), which the kids loved. Actually, Junior was excited to “see halloween!”, MaM was more confused as to why we’d want to see all of the skeletons and gore and what not. But they gave out just enough candy that she stopped asking questions and rolled with it.

Thursday was disrupted by Junior having a mild stomach bug. Bah.

Friday we packed up and heading down to Brown County State Park for a day of outdoor fun. We had a great family day of hiking and exploring and just being together. To mix it up, instead of coming home, we spent the night a few miles down the road. I’m pretty sure the hotel lost money on us — the kids watched all kinds of cable tv, we visited the breakfast buffet multiple times, the kids had multiple baths, and we went swimming and tubbing all between the hours of about 6:30am and 11:30am Saturday morning.

We then packed up and headed to¬†Columbus, Indiana, home to Kids Commons, a fun hands-on museum for kids. There are three levels of fun for kids of all ages. The four of us played for three hours — climbing, exploring, rolling balls, shooting baskets, playing with the interactive light board and, get this –rock climbing. MaM was geeked to try the climbing wall and she climbed up the wall and rang the bell at the top THREE times. It was awesome to watch her be so confident and excited in herself.

The kids (and grownups) were exhausted, and our ride home was a quiet one. It was funny to think that we were only about 70 miles away from home. It was a great escape.

Today is the last day of MaM’s official fall break, but she’s getting a “bonus” day — it’s her turn for the stomach virus. She’s finally keeping food down, but wasn’t earlier today, so she’s taking her first sick day of the year. She’s bummed about being sick — she’s missing a birthday party, and a trunk or treat event today. And, as she pointed out, her school friends will now have to wait until Tuesday to see……..that she got glasses over fall break!

Climbing the Fire Tower
He actually sat still for a few portraits!
Here she is….five going on fifteen.

P.S. There’s still time to enter my 1800Flowers giveaway — see the previous post to enter!