Sunday, October 12, 2014

Less than a week to go!

Carson comes home in six days!  I will not say the past two weeks have flown by, but it does seem like I have not been nearly has teary as I was the first few days.  I thought I would break down every time I talked to him.  I thought I wouldn't be ABLE to talk to him for losing it.  But that hasn't happened!  I'm surprising myself here as much as I'm surprised that Carson wants to end all our conversations after 10 minutes.

I've only talked to him about four times since he's been gone.  I do my best to ask leading questions and get him going, telling me all the minutiae I want to hear, like what exactly are you eating every day.  But he doesn't bite...he answers dutifully and then all of a sudden he'll say "hey, I gotta go, we're playing a game..." or some such thing that is far better than speaking to the one you brought you into this world and then sent you halfway around it and is a little on the freaked-out side that you do not want to speak to her more than nine minutes.

But you go play your game, by all means.

Honestly, it beats having to talk down a sobbing son who longs to come home.  He seems to really be enjoying himself, and the details that I don't get from him are posted on a private Facebook site for all us parents to see.  We get a recap of their field trips, photos galore, and videos.  On one call, though, I did come right out and ask him "are you homesick?"  And he said "well, I try not to think about it."  So I shut up and said nothing else about it.  Like any mom, I really want him to be able to tell me what he's thinking, but sheez I also want to leave the kid alone and if he can get through a tough time by just "not thinking about it" then maybe that's maturity?

Today he and his family are touring Paris.  I am so thrilled for him I can't stand it and I reminded him yesterday to take a ton of pictures and get his camera charged, etc.

Oh, some people have asked me about his spending money, so if you're curious:  part of the exchange "tuition" was an allowance of $40 in Euros per week they are there.  The chaperone gives that to them on Mondays.  I asked Carson if he'd spent any money and he got a twinkle in is eye:  "oh, yes!"  So I left it at that...I can't wait to see what he thought worthy to make the trip home.

As for Cooper, that other son of mine, he has survived quite well without Carson, but I will say he has not been in our backyard one time since Carson left.  He is well aware of when we are scheduled to call Carson, and he's written him a couple of emails (which I cannot possibly decipher because they are about Clash of Clans and DreamLeague Soccer...).  He said one day last week...he just wants to hug him.

Me too.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Day 5 of 21

Y'all don't worry, I'm not posting my drama out here every single day until Carson comes home.  But I could if I wanted to 'cause it is my blog and I'll cry if I want to.

And I have.

And it came out of nowhere.

And my friends understood.

I'm good with Carson being in France.  I'm good with his host family situation.  I love that he's getting to do this with kids he's known since Kindergarten and a chaperone he loves.

But apparently all this "goodness" has elevated my emotions without me realizing it.

Yesterday I was at work and I got a call from my doctor who wanted me to come visit her before she called in a prescription for me (to cure this nagging, three-month-old cough).  The appointment she offered me was in the middle of my work day, THAT day, and I hadn't made arrangements to be gone.  So I did what normal people do when they have to leave work unplanned:

I cried.

Then because crying for this reason is so absurd, I began laughing.  It was all just absurd.  And my friends at work were like, um, what are we supposed to do here?  And that made me laugh some more while I was crying.

I ended up going to my appointment at my friends' suggestion (lordy, pity them had they said not to go), missing the rest of the day's work, and getting a bunch of prescriptions, an X-ray, and a breathing treatment (maybe I should have had one of those at the airport).

And then I realized that if I'm going to have a peaceful next 16 days I better get my emotions together, for my sake and those around me.  Yes, it's an emotional thing for me: I'm proud and happy for him and overwhelmed and yes I MISS MY SON.  So all of that means I'm going to be a little sensitive to things like demanding doctors.

I suppose that's okay as long as people are aware it's not them, it's me.  I should wear a badge:  "Caution: Son is in France.  Disappoint me at your own risk."

Aww, I'll be able to keep it together until he gets back.  I have no idea how I know this, but I believe it at this moment and that's what matters.

So on to Days 6-21.  I can't wait.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Let's skip to the fun part...

I was going to sit down last night and write a post about the airport scene.  I thought for a couple of hours what I wanted to write: about how the kids were so excited to get on the plane and how the parents were nervous and crazy.  (Well, really just me.)  I was going to write some tearjerker thing about being proud of Carson and proud of myself for keeping my emotions in check most of the time until they began their walk toward Security.

I was gonna write all that, but then it just got too late and I was exhausted and too busy watching the little plane inch along on Flight Aware.

So, too late for that post now, I want to skip to the fun stuff!

Carson has arrived and is safely with his host family!  We Skyped with him this morning and he looks great...not tired but I know he is because he said he only slept for an hour (which could actually be 30 minutes or three hours, doesn't really matter).  He said he got to sit by his BFF and that they had a croissant on-board.  I'm sure they fed them more than that, and if not he had quite a buffet in his backpack.

He has his own room at his host family's house, and he proudly showed me a bookshelf where he "organized his stuff."  He said there's a window in his room that he can open like a door.  (And it's a beautiful sunny day there today which just added to the whole feel-good scenario.)

I met his host mom, who is so sweet and continues to apologize for her shaky English.  I told her it was perfect.  (I've also asked her to speak French to Carson as much as possible.)

This afternoon they were taking him to a park and then I hope he'll be able to stay awake until bedtime.

So here we go...the countdown to October 18 begins!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

We leave in an hour

It's almost time to head to the airport.  I've been up this morning since a crazy hour making my boy whatever he wanted for breakfast and trying to think of something he might have forgotten to pack in his suitcase.  I've reached the they-have-stores-there stage and we are ready to close it up.

His backpack is full of enough snacks and activities to last him TWO international flights, but miraculously the thing only weighs 13 pounds.  I think he must be in heaven with it and all its compartments: I can still remember when he was a toddler and wanted to pack Ziploc bags full of stuff all the time.

Me?  I'm doin' okay.  Last night I told Carson everything I wanted him to know before he leaves, so I wouldn't have to try to speak at the airport.  He sat and listened and tried not to roll his eyes and I didn't even tear up one time.  I think those things I was saying...all the safety reminders, all the encouraging words, were more for me though.  He already knows them.

The most important thing I wanted him to know is that when we say goodbye I would not be talking to him because I'd be trying to keep it together, and I didn't want him to think something was wrong.

But honestly I don't think he would have noticed.  He's so ready to get on that plane he can't stand it.  And when he disappears around the corner after getting through security, I'll be so ready for him to get started on this trip.  So ready to hear about this experience, the thing that HE'S doing that I've never done.  It's gonna be amazing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

On sending Carson to France

It's been a while since I've posted anything (I know, not news to you).  Maybe this time I'm posting for myself as much as anything else.  It's a big week here,'s when we send Carson to France for three weeks.

There, I said it.  Wow.  It hardly seems possible.

Oh, the logistics of it are possible all right: he will depart this coming Saturday at 2:00, arrive the next morning in Paris, take a bus with his fellow travelers to the city of Amiens, and be greeted with a group lunch and his host family.  He has a passport, a big suitcase, some electronics, books, and snacks, and a journal to write about his experience.

And it's possible also because of the awesome school he and Cooper attend.  They've facilitated these exchanges many times to France, Costa Rica, and most recently Madrid.  His chaperone is someone who has taken groups of Fifth Graders to France many times: she's organized, specific about what she expects from the kids, and she's a mom.

The "hardly seems possible" comes in when I consider that I'm good with all that.  It's been a process, don't get me wrong.  When he started at this school in Kindergarten, I heard about the French Exchange and it felt scary: I mean, c'mon, Carson was SIX.  I couldn't imagine for a minute putting my baby on a plane without me.  And letting him stay with strangers for three weeks, in a foreign country.

Then over the years my "baby" started hearing snippets at school about the exchange.  I think I must have asked him a thousand times since 2009:  "Carson, would you want to go on the exchange?"  I was tempted to start fabricating horror stories about kids who wailed for days when they got over there, how French food is really horrible, and no soccer balls are allowed in France.

But I resisted, and I heard wonderful things about the experience, from both kids and parents.  The kids get to go to school, tour Paris and other amazing sites, and use their French language skills for three weeks solid.  And they come back with a new appreciation for their international counterparts.  Their global horizon is broadened.  There's emotional growth and they become more responsible.

And every single time I asked him if he wanted to go, he always said yes.  Without hesitation.

But hey, just because my kid wants to do something doesn't me we always say yes (soccer, golf, and basketball notwithstanding).  I also think Carson's mature enough to handle it.  He's comfortable meeting new people, he can handle social situations, and he is responsible with his belongings.   And he's done a little air travel so that's not an issue.  He has closed all the loopholes!

So now the possibility has become reality: he's going.  I'm letting him.  I'm going to miss him terribly.  I'm going to Skype him and email him.  I'm going to cry when he leaves for so many reasons.

I'm also going to spoil Cooper for three weeks.

His host family:

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Monday, February 24, 2014

So long, Sochi

Pardon me while I'm in my funk-of-every-four-years.  See, yesterday the Winter Olympics ended.  I LOOOOVE the Winter Olympics!  Even though the USA figure skaters didn't really show up much.  Okay, Meryl and Charlie won gold in Ice Dance but no one really watches that.  We wanted our Ladies and Pairs up on that podium!  (I also hope someone recognizes the insanity of that "team competition" and stops it before Korea 2018.  It's just a country competition and I don't understand what the purpose of it is.  I think if you put all the skaters from one country out on the ice at the same time and have them to a program together...that would be interesting!)

Anyway, so then there was hockey.  I hate watching hockey.  I'm thankful my husband is not a hockey fan.  BUT, if there's a major hockey event I will watch it.  We had a fleeting one of those when the USA beat Russia in a shoot-out and one of our guys (see, already forgot his name) was a household name for a minute.  Then nothing, and I went back to hating hockey.

The boys were into it this year, too.  Cooper told me, as if he was stating the sky is blue, that he wants to be an Olympic snowboarder.  Guess he can do that in the off-season of NFL football.  And the NBA.  That boy...  It's fun to think about though: this is the first Winter Olympics he'll remember watching with the family.  Carson just might remember Vancouver 2010.  I have awesome memories of watching the Olympics when I was a kid and I hope they do, too.

So for this sports-watching family we have to wait two years to hear that familiar Olympic anthem, and four years for the good Olympics.

And omg.  I just realized I'll be 51 years old when that happens.  Uh.  Wow.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crickets. And game whistles.

I'm such a cliche tonight.

My husband's out of town and the boys got invited out with a friend for the evening.  Five hours with no one here at the house but me.  At night, on a weekend.

I thought it would be kind of cool, ya know.  Watch whatever I want on TV (even though omg the channels still land on SPORTS and I have no idea how that happens with the sports people in this family aren't even in the house!).  Eat whatever I want for dinner.  No one to pick up after or nag to pick up after themselves.

Instead of melting into solitary bliss, I'm watching the clock tick until someone interrupts it.  I miss them all and I'm done with my silent night.  Bring me back the busy!!  Now!!

See?  Cliche.  But I believe cliches exist because they are often true.

But still, why can't we just be content with the way things are at this moment instead of always wishing for something different?

I'm going to ponder that awhile.  In my boring silence but for the roar of some crowd on TV.