September 15, 2014

A Real Man

We often wonder as parents... how will our children turn out to be as adults? Will they be compassionate? Will they be hard workers? Will they be listeners? Will they be doers? Will they be trusted? Will they value others?

And the list goes on.

You cannot judge how your child will be based upon how they treat their siblings. There is always going to be fighting and things done in a family that would not occur outside of a home.

I always tell people, I'd rather my kids act up at home than at school.

Today... something happened that made my heart swell.

I cannot and would not go into much detail, but one of my second son's best friends is a girl. She had something very bad happen to her when she was in elementary school. Think of a horrific fear if you have a daughter and you've probably come up with it.

He and his friend have never spoken of it. He knows. She knows he knows. He has never asked. She has never volunteered. It just... is.

He is very protective of her. When he found out he was angry. He wanted the person dead. Right then. He cares deeply for her, but we have watched from afar and realized, he has created a sister/brother bond with this girl. She has no brothers and he no sisters and this relationship has formed that is comfortable for the both of them.

One of their teachers thought they were dating. That's how close they are.

In their AP English class, they have been asked to write about a life changing moment. Last week, their teacher told them he was going to randomly assign them all partners to read each other's work, however, if what you were going to write on was so deeply personal that you felt there was only one person in the class you could trust, then come see him and he'd make it happen.

And so today, he was not well. He is fighting a cold. I told him he could stay home, but he said to me, "the first two periods, I need sleep. But, I can't miss English."

He got up at 9 and went to school.

He came home today and told me that on Saturday he'd gotten a text from his friend that told him that she was going to write something very personal and that she told their instructor, only T could be her partner. No one else.

So T made it a priority to go to class today since he knew it was coming.

He is honored. He is humbled. He is protective. He has told no one, but me exactly what is going on. I am painting with broad strokes.

I am proud he is compassionate. I am proud he listens. I am proud he is there for a friend. I am proud... he is trusted.

He is becoming a Man.

And he is writing about his childhood friend being shot and killed this summer.

Such sad stories coming from extraordinary teenagers...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:04 PM | Comments (9)

September 11, 2014

School on 9/11

The kids in high school today do not remember 9/11 overall. T was four years old. He knows where we were and what we were doing. But, he didn't really understand it at the time and obviously understands it more now than then, but those aren't his memories. His memories are not of the horror. His now is the horror of what it was.

This is a funny story that happened today in school... during a not funny day.

T said they were at school and the school priest came on the broadcast system to do his 9/11 prayer. He started to pray for the victims and their families and his cell phone went off. His ring tone went throughout the speaker system of the school... Cher's Do you Believe in Life after Love?

T said they were all looking at each other completely confused.

As if the entire thing were not ridiculous enough, he said it became this huge earworm and no matter where he went, someone was humming it or singing it, in a class, in the halls... all day.

We could not quit laughing.

On a more somber note, but uplifting, if you have not watched the video Boatlift, you should. It does the heart right... being an American.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)

September 04, 2014


Today my Dad, TGOO, turns 74. I just got off Skype with my Mom and him. The two boys joined me on my end with my husband popping in.

Ringo called him from college and wished him a Happy Birthday. Dad thought it was my husband, which cracked us up.

That is our tradition now. We Skype on birthdays. We sing Happy Birthday.

I'm perpetually amazed at how different my Dad is than my paternal grandfather. I don't remember when my grandfather wasn't old. Yet my own dad is 74 and he's still not old.

I remember when he turned 60, he said, "I didn't mind turning 50. I loved my 50s. But I hate turning 60. You know why? Because I know there is a large segment of society that thinks I'm old and I'm not."

But my grandfather always was. I remember when my father was probably 41 or 42 years old, he'd get off the phone with my grandfather he'd clutch his chest and say, "Damn, every time I get off the phone with him, I feel the need to run 5 miles." Granddaddy was in his 60s.

One time he got off the phone and said, "Dad is in the attic. I hope to God he doesn't have a damn heart attack up there." Granddaddy was in his 60s.

When my parent's had their 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago, my Mom commented, "I remember when your grandparents had their 50th. I remember thinking how old they were. I'm not old!"

The telltale sign would be how my kids view my parents. My kids view my parents as young people. Whenever there is a tough question, they still say, "Let's call Big!"

My friends from high school still point out how much they loved my Dad. I never thought anything of it. He's my Dad. My Mom and Dad loved having my friends over.

It wasn't until I went on Facebook 9 months ago that people I went to high school with, in particular men, would send me private messages about how cool my parents were. They loved my mother's warmth and they thought I had the best Dad in the world.

And I did.

And they still think I do.

I hit the jackpot when it came to parents. We don't get to pick our parents, but if I were to look at my biggest blessings in life, my first big blessing was my parents, my second my siblings, my third my husband and then the last big blessing was my kids.

I walk amongst the blessed. Truly, I do.

Happy birthday, Dad! I love you and love to tell people you and Mom are my best friends and mentors in life.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:35 PM | Comments (4)

September 01, 2014

A Finely Woven Tapestry

It's been a tough couple weeks. T's schedule worked out with the school pulling strings and letting him take classes online that would not fit into his schedule . It's not the best solution, but it's better than he not get his classes.

Bones... it has been a horrific year to start. I'm still nervous, but if it works out, I understand why.

He got his schedule and it appeared that someone just shoved him in classes. It didn't help that he failed the Algebra EOC... AGAIN. And unbeknownst to us, he had an anxiety attack during the reading portion of the FCAT and failed it.

Even though he reads on a college level.

So they put him in remedial reading and remedial math. That would be on top of the other screw ups.

My hands are tied. There is nothing I can do for him for the math until he passes the EOC and he may be able to get out of reading if the State ever gets their act together to get him to test out.

It was supposed to be last week. Time is ticking. Now we don't know what will happen.

Meanwhile, he's not singing. They didn't give him any vocal classes.

At the beginning, when all this happened, he went into a deep depression. It was bad enough that I was concerned. He holed himself up in his room and read. (He's reading the Glass Castle.) Meanwhile, I was emailing the vocal teacher and guidance and was getting nowhere.

I got a call last week from guidance finally. She said that Bones was in a good place and that the last time she's seen him, he'd been on total freak out. But this time he was good and he understood he couldn't stay in the class some jerk gave him that is for Seniors... even though he loved the Seniors.

And that is when she said, "I'm going to put him in Spanish." It was not our path. Bones was supposed to take French. I can help him with French. I cannot help him with Spanish.

She checked and said the teacher was good and we got buy in from Bones.

And this is where the path ends up taking an odd turn...

Bones walked into his Spanish class, a class he was never supposed to take, a class we fit in because his schedule was so screwed up even guidance didn't get it.
The Spanish teacher looked at him and said, "Bones Russo". (I used a different last name in my husband's family... not our real name.)

Bones looked up and said, "Yes."

She continued, "Are... you the grandson of Lucia Russo?"

And for those who do not remember, my mother in law, died 14 years ago, while leading the Rosary, on the altar, of the local Catholic Church. She had a stroke right there and died. Bones was 6 months old.

Bones replied, "Yes, that was my grandmother."

She got silent and then said, "Bones. I knew your grandmother. I taught with her at JD Middle School. She was my best friend."

And here is the thing... Bones never wanted to take Spanish. He is not going to do well. Languages are going to be tough for him. I had hoped to help him along.

But, deep down, I think that all this happened because Spanish was an inevitability and Ma is looking out for her grandson.

In the end, the hardest class he will take this year... is being taught by her best friend.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:22 PM | Comments (9)