Tag: sons

Happy Birthday to The Man

Happy birthday to the man…

Born June 27, 1965
Born June 27, 1965
  • of the hour
  • I’m married to
  • of my dreams
  • who puts up with me day after day
  • who proposed to me 29 years ago and married me 28 years ago
  • who is the best father my boys could have
  • who I’m glad to grow old with
  • who spoils me
  • I love…still…after all this time
  • who looks at me with awestruck eyes
  • who loves me…still…after living with me for nearly three decades

Okay, the man’s a saint! I admit it. I’m the one who calls him “Mr. Wonderful” after all.

Back in 1982 when two cute seniors flirted with me the day before school started, I never would have imagined one of them would be my husband. And it wasn’t the one I dated first, either.

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This is a man who stood beside me through the births of two sons (well, there were those few moments he was nearly passing out, but I hardly remember that).

After the birth of son #1
After the birth of son #1

This is the man who taught our sons to shoot hoops, ride a bike and drive a car.

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Yes, he’s an amazing father. My boys are blessed.

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He spoils me with great trips

Caribbean 2016
Caribbean 2016

And I let him spoil himself with Mustang convertibles

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He has a sense of adventure that parallels mine

Ziplining 2016
Ziplining 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to mention a sense of humor

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And didn’t he help me make handsome children?

Now we’re blessed with daughters, and our family is complete.

Thad & Kacy Wedding 2016 - 0627

Happy birthday, Mr. Wonderful. I’m glad you let me talk you into dating me and then trick you into marrying me. I hope I make you half as happy as you’ve made me.

Here’s to another 50-some years, right?

 

Wishing for the Empty Nest

Empty nest sign

No matter how I say this, someone will interpret incorrectly (ie. So I look bad). I wish my nest was empty again.

I know, I’ve been so focused on other things this past year, I haven’t mentioned a topic that many of you began following me to read about. You know, life after your children leave.

Perhaps I haven’t been able to post on the subject because I haven’t been experiencing it.

Remember when I was sad about seeing my older son leave for college. Refresh your memory here.

And then my younger son went to college and for some reason things started getting romantic around the house again. Yep, that post is here.

What happened after that?

My oldest son graduated from college.

And moved back in with us.

Oldest Moves In

Rewind to June 2013. It’s a happy day. Our first born son completed four years of college and earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Software Engineering.

And moved in with us “just until I get a job.”

And proceeded to take the “summer off.” He flew to Vegas to visit a friend, traveled to Idaho to see he girlfriend and took multiple road trips to hang out with college buds.

And the months passed. He applied for a few jobs. Interviewed for even fewer.

Fast forward to January 2014 when he lands a job working for his dad’s former employer (a place he held a summer job several years ago). Hurray!

February he purchases a $20,000 car. He’s paying $1000 per month on his student loans.

When’s he going to move out? Shrug is the answer.

Oldest Moves Out

After two years of marketing it, time comes when our house sells.

“They sold the house out from under me.” Really?

“I wasn’t invited to live in the new house.” True, but we would have allowed it.

Still, isn’t a year of living rent-free (while being gainfully employed) enough time to build up a cushion so you can rent your own place?

That’s March 15, 2015.

New and Empty

Not empty nestOn April 3, we moved into our new home.

Brand. Spanking. New.

It was me, hubs and the two cats. And all the piles of boxes.

But, after a few weeks, things were mostly organized and in their proper places. The new office inspired words galore.

Hubs traveled to China. It was the truly empty nest of silent bliss.

Fast forward to May 2.

Our youngest son graduates from college with a Bachelor of Business Marketing degree.

Youngest Moves In

And moves in to the empty nest.

Suddenly, having college graduates for children doesn’t look so lovely, does it? I mean, that’s the common thread in the return to the empty nest.

Even if the youngest would have had a job, he wanted to live with us (“And get the same deal” his brother got).

Sure. Free is the best price.

He’s saving for a wedding, being married, and setting up an apartment. His reasoning is sound. Savvy even.

But it means my nest is no longer empty. My house has been invaded by people who wonder what’s for dinner. People who mess up my perfectly decorated guest room.

People who cook late night snacks and leave my kitchen looking worse than a plundering tornado would.

And here we are. Do I love my son and his fiancé? Sure. But there are a few things I’m not too thrilled about. Funny thing – the cause complained about the same thing a few months ago.

Come back next week to read more about Being the Thing you Despise in Others.

New Office: Assembly required

Environment matters. Nature versus nurture aside, we know successful work can be promoted by the proper surroundings.

My sons had the music cranked while they worked on homework. I prefer the sound of silence while I’m concentrating.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to optimal work space.

As a writer, I spend most of my time working at home. I love this, but I have to admit the cramped quarters of my old office inhibited me.

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Now I have a big, beautiful new office. And everyone knows a new office needs a new desk.

Is my clever title beginning to make a little more sense now? Did you really think I was going to talk about setting up my office space?

My husband loves to build things. “If I won the lottery, I’d quit my job and work on a construction crew.”

Yep, that’s what he says. Unfortunately, my husband has the worst luck when it comes to home improvement projects.

He may love to build – but it doesn’t come easily.

Thus, the reason my two sons found themselves assembling my lovely 71 x 71 inch L-shaped desk this past weekend. Hubs was wrestling with water hoses for the washing machine and converting circular dryer vent pipe to fit the oval-shaped ductwork.

Meanwhile, I was unloading boxes (mainly shelving books and sorting items into the donation bags and boxes).

“Those two need supervision,” my husband told me.

Of course, who am I to supervise the construction of anything? Well, a lemon meringue pie maybe.

My youngest son had the assembly manual. (Yes, it required a manual to convert two heavy boxes of boards into this lovely desk.) My oldest son lined up the parts and wielded the tools.

It’s amazing how manufacturers have learned to label all the boards (A-K for my desk) and include pictures of even the smallest screw. I’m convinced the poor sap who spends his days writing the assembly instructions has the most boring writing job in the world.

My oldest son predicted the desk construction project would take five hours. He’s learned to estimate high after watching how things don’t come together for his father.

Each time I stepped into the doorway (the entire floor of the office had been requisitioned for organizing the parts and equipment), I smiled. They were working together – and getting it done.

These sons of mine argue about everything. Mostly, it isn’t because they disagree. It’s because they like to rile each other up and cause friction.

It doesn’t help that they both think they know everything. (You remember that, right? Between 14 and 25, you didn’t need any help because you had all the answers. Or maybe that was just me – and my sons.)

There were some debates early on in the building process. When my husband sought me out as an overseer, he had just stopped them from assembling things backward.

It's a beauty! Those Hughson boys can assemble a desk, I tell you.
It’s a beauty! Those Hughson boys can assemble a desk, I tell you.

After the first hour, most of the criticism went to the manual writer. I learned this when I mentioned I might review my desk at the online retailer. After all, I really liked it.

“Make sure you mention the manual was written by an idiot.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that won’t make it into any review I write.

Someone had to take the fall for the difficulty my genius sons faced in assembling this central figure in my new work space.

I’m not surprised it was the beleaguered manual writer.

What’s one feature you love or would change about your work space? Any thoughts on assembly instructions?

What Makes a Mother Proud

In accordance with my monthly hobby goal, I’ve spent several hours with pictures, paper and glue since February 1. Leafing through the photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia, I did more than walk down memory lane. I renewed my sense of motherly pride.

When I was growing up, I wanted both of my parents to be pleased with me. I spent years following instructions, doing chores diligently, and conforming to their will. Then my dad left. The sky crashed down. Rather than be a casualty, I put up a shell and pushed my mom away.

How many times did I get straight As in school only to hear something like, “But what’s this A- in Geometry”? I could always be pushed harder. Whatever I achieved, it wasn’t the top. There was no basking in one moment before looking for the next mountain to climb.

Mountaindream

I promised I would never do that to my kids.

You know what happens when you say you will never do something? Yep. That despicable thing is the first thing you do. (Never say never is a good policy. Of course, you said never…so)

My oldest son could read in kindergarten. He learned all of his multiplication tables in 2nd grade. He tested in the 97th percentile in math in third grade.  He was an intellectual superstar and he wasn’t too bad at basketball either.

I had high expectations for him. He always met them. I praised him and let him bask in his accomplishments. Of course, I bragged about him until I’m positive people dodged me because they wanted to gag over my motherly enthusiasm.

Life was grand. And then…

My youngest son needed speech therapy in kindergarten. He needed occupational therapy because his handwriting was terrible and he held his pencil wrong (still does, BTW). His fantastic imagination and memory held academic shortfalls at bay in first grade. He didn’t learn how to read until late in his second grade year.

I was no less proud of him than my older son, but I despaired of helping him succeed. Suddenly, I was at the bottom of a steep learning curve.

All of this came back to me as I finished that same boy’s high school scrapbook. Seeing pages upon pages of accomplishments and awards filled my heart to bursting. He came so far. I always knew he would. He exceeded all my expectations.

The older got straight As and the younger carried a B average. “Still above average,” I told my straight-A-over-achieving self. The older was valedictorian of his high school class while the younger was a National Honor Thespian. Scholar athlete versus most improved band member.

What's not to be proud of?
What’s not to be proud of?

Thankfully, I learned not to compare them early on in their lives. They are both extraordinary in their individualism. If they dream it, I believe they will achieve it. That’s not the mother in me talking either.

What makes me proud? Watching my sons grow into men who have convictions and live by them. Seeing them follow their dreams – whether big or small.

Am I proud that the oldest is a college graduate and the youngest made the Dean’s list last term? I’m not going to dignify that with an answer.

Seeing how far they have come gives me hope that they will continue on, surpassing their dad and me.

Isn’t that what all parents dream for their children?