Sunday Scenes – Bye, Bye Boy Scout

Bright & early on Sunday morning, Gavin left for a six-week stint as a staff member at Boy Scout camp.

DSC06858 DSC06862People keep asking me if I am going to miss him. I suppose that I am. He is very helpful and keeps us all laughing, but I think camp is exactly where he should be and he is doing exactly what he wants to do be doing. I am more happy than sad!

Breakfast brought cooking lessons. I am trying very hard to work my way out of a job.

The results were stupendous.

DSC06880

Summertime is also an awesome time to learn new chores. I’ve got a list of things to teach Mikey & Sean – and just wait until Gavin gets home….

DSC06884 (1) DSC06886 DSC06885I am a gardener by no means. I have no talent for it and hardly enjoy it. But I dream of being good at it and enjoying it – so I keep trying. So far, the payoff is good.

Apparently, we also have a burgeoning comic book writer.

DSC06909 (1)Overall, these are my favorite scenes of any day, not just a Sunday. Keep ’em coming.

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

Beach Brawl

There are times I say nothing. There are times I decide that I’m going to let it go, rise above and turn the other cheek.

There are times I decide that I am not going to do that.

Ethan was having a particularly hard time on the beach last night. He is apt to do that. He went from ‘happy man’ to ‘I’m going home’ within the hour. Doritos and a coke had no bribery value. I believe he was using the ploy to visit the men’s room as a mode to get closer to the parking lot. He asked that I not come with him. So, I went incognito and followed at a distance. That’s when I saw it unfolding.

There were a group of what looked like 20-somethings following closely behind him. I saw the nudges and pointing before the comments started. I know how this goes. I’ve seen it far too many times.

There was laughing and whispering, pointing and a girl shrieking ‘stop it – you’re so mean!’

‘I want to buy the poor guy a donut’

‘Look at his head’

‘Nice shorts’

Then, ‘Fat r-word’

I waited for Ethan to walk ahead and enter the men’s room. Then it was my turn.

‘I hear you running your mouth you ignorant piece of crap! You must be some tough guy to pick on someone like him! Yeah, you – keep your head down and keep walking.’ Some more followed.

But from him and his pathetic, little group there was only more laughing and shoving of one another and looks of shock. They thought he was alone and they could carry on their recreational mocking in private. How dare I talk back, right?

Bullies count on you to be quiet. I explain it to the boys all the time. They expect you to be hurt and embarrassed. They expect complacency. They count on you to be placid. I tell them to meet those kind of people where they’re at – head up and mouth open.

On our way back from our journey, I noticed the same guy sitting with a large group of people. I expected it was his family. When Ethan was a safe distance toward our group, I approached him.

‘You know, jackass, his life is hard on a good day, on a bad day it is something that a piece of garbage like yourself wouldn’t know what to do with. People like you make my whole family’s life harder. He deals with more shit then you probably ever will and you need to know that ‘what comes around truly does go around’. I hope your family here knows what a scumbag you are.’

He said he didn’t do it. He said he didn’t say anything. He said he was ‘trying to help’. Lying sack of crap.

That’s when his dad got up and used ‘fat’ in front of the B-word. He said I was making a scene. I informed him that if his son wanted to make Ethan a spectacle, that I’d give the same back. Let’s make a scene. I may have referenced his height. I may have made my sailor-father proud with the string of swear words I put together.

And then, I walked away. Tears welled up and I started to break down. But that was ok, because by then I was back with the people who care deeply for me and Ethan and the rest of my family. I am glad they were there and that I was not alone.

I am writing about this scene, because it is rattling around in my head. It brings up my worse fears and greatest disappointments. I become sickly aware that someday Ethan will be a grown up and I will not always be there to defend him. Then I remember, that he has three brothers, being raised by me.

I am still debriefing this situation. I play out alternative endings and rehash my tirade. I am thinking about how I want these things to play out in the future.

I wondered ‘what would Jesus do?’

Jesus did some yelling and table-flipping.

I am not Jesus.

Theresa Giudice did some yelling and table flipping.

Oh well. I am glad I got this off my chest. Thanks for listening.

sunset

This is the sunset the boys and I pulled over to enjoy after we left the beach. Terrible picture, fabulous moments.

7 Weeks Away

Gavin will be spending 7 weeks away from home this summer. The first week will be spent at high-adventure Boy Scout Camp and the additional six weeks as a staff member at another BSA camp.

There will be a seismic shift on the Costello household with Gavin gone. He is often a bastion of reliability, he is a good conversationalist, and he is full of fun & frivolity. He is the only one who can hold down the whole fort, besides Dennis & I.

He is also a teen…and well, things can get a little hard when your a teen. And things can get a little hard when you are the parent of a teen. You know – the ‘regular’ stuff.

But, truth be told, I am really glad he is leaving.

I am glad he will be leaving behind the monotony and mundane tasks that winter brought us. I’m glad Algebra & Anatomy have been put on hold for firebuilding, metal-working, ecology, and canoeing.

I am glad that he will be disengaged from all his gadgets, screens, the internet and TV for a period of time.

I am glad that he will be surrounded by fresh air and lake water, trees and grass, bugs, birds, forest creatures and nature sounds.

I am glad he is carving out a space where he can cultivate his independence – where he will be responsible, solely, for himself, including his own health and hygiene. Please tell me he will be responsible for his own hygiene :)

I am glad that he will experience a time to discover who he is outside of the circle of his three brothers. I am glad he can investigate who he is outside of the centrifugal force of family life.

I am glad he will be developing serious leadership skills in a structured and progressive program like BSA. I am glad that he will be forming new relationships and navigating the balance of the responsibilities he’s been given with personal time & relaxation.

See, I’m glad he’s leaving.

“In scouting, a boy is encouraged to educate himself
instead of being instructed”

~ Sir Robert Baden Powell

20 Years

“Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
Twenty years
I don’t know
I Sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone

And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall”

Thank you Bob Seger.
It is Ethan’s birthday. For me, this day marks 20 years of parenting with 100 more to go.
Many years before there were 4 boys comprising this crazy and chaotic clan – there was just three of us. Dennis. Me. Ethan. 5 1/2 years. Just us.
His Story is something I remember with emotions that can bubble to the surface even as I read it today. Living with Ethan is incredibly intense – that’s the truth. He is intensely complicated, intensely persistent, intensely funny
…and intensely loved.
Happy Birthday, Ethan!

Sunday Scenes – The Very Bad Mother Edition

I woke up VERY early for a Sunday. 5:48 to be exact. It worked out nicely, as I was watching my neighbors kids bright and early. It was nice to have breakfast guests.

DSC06584 (1)Although I no longer attend church and don’t see that changing at any point in the near future, there are some things I still find very meditative and comforting.

DSC06587I do not like contemporary christian music, but I do like old, very traditional hymns. It’s is ok with me if they are performed by contemporary christian artists but I still prefer Alison Kraus, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton.

DSC06588Then, this happened and I cannot stand it. Just can’t. Can you?

DSC06595Also, I allowed Ethan to leave the house wearing this. Do I think that it’s ok? I don’t. I was late for playoff hockey and fighting with him can take a VERY long time as Ethan can hold out on issues for hours at a time.

Speaking of being late for playoff hockey and fighting with Ethan…here is where ‘the very bad mothering’ happened. When I arrived at the hockey game, other moms greeted me with ‘Hi! Where is Sean?’

Well, he must be here somewhere, he came with Dennis. But no one reported having seen him. After a cursory search and confirmation that Dennis did not, in fact, bring him, I panicked. It took me about 10 full seconds to realize that he had been playing on the swing set in the yard across the street – WHEN I LEFT!! Yep. I finally really forgot a kid. The littlest one to boot.

I mean, sure it was cleared up in one quick phone call and he had all the time been the care of a responsible adult (not me), but it was terribly disconcerting. I am sure the ‘Mother of the Year’ is still taking nominations. Check on that for me, will you?

So hockey season has come to an end. As glad as I am to have it be over…

DSC06611 (1) DSC06607I love to see them like this!

Later, Chef Cutie and I baked some cookies. We used the wrong recipe – but baked none-the-less.

The evening ended on the best note – literally – the Star Wars Film Score. There are so few times that Ethan is happy, truly, really, happy. Content. With the music blaring, he worked on diligently on his light saber skills. Meditative, light-sabering – I think it could catch on.

DSC06634 DSC06635The force is strong with this one.

Sunday Scenes – Throwback Edition

Sunday was a throwback to ‘old times’ – before sports and Boy Scout camping trips and teens with their own agendas took over. It used to be that Dennis and I packed a cooler and packed up the kids and drove to one or more locations with amorphous plans. We have not had a good, old-fashioned family picnic in a very long time. But we did yesterday.

We ended up in Allamuchy Mountain State Park, as Gavin had some Boy Scout business to attend to. Nearby, was the crazy-scenic Waterloo Village. I’d love to return when the historic happenings are in full swing.

It was a beautiful walk – with only one complainer.

There was also a request to fish. So we did in a nearby lake.

DSC06456 DSC06460 DSC06463 DSC06453 DSC06468These pictures make it look quaint. It wasn’t. There were tangled lines and catching weeds and children yelling ‘help’ every 3 seconds. Dennis wanted to know if I got nice pictures because we won’t be doing this again 😉

This issue of Sunday Scenes is the first of the ‘summery’ edition. Knowing there are many more to come make my heart happy, and my toes warm.

Finally.

Ethan and More Ethan

One of my goals is to be an interesting and consistent blogger.

Some of my other goals are to be an adequate mother, keep my house relatively sanitary, tame the laundry pile down to a dull roar, and experience time with my family in a variety of neat places, doing fun activities.

That gets in the way of my first goal. But don’t fear – I am honing my time management skills.

I’ll just tell you what Ethan has been up to and I am sure all will be forgiven. Right?

Special Olympics. It is really a wonderful event for the athletes that participate. It is preceded by weeks of practices. There is the anticipation of the parade and friends, the new t-shirt and, of course, the medals.

DSC05764 (1) DSC05797 DSC05818 (1) DSC05805 (2) DSC05857 (1) DSC05878 (1)Years ago, this was a difficult day for our whole family. It was often hard for Ethan to manage the waiting and the weather and for our little kids too. But as they have all gotten older, the experience has gotten nicer and I look forward to many more years of participation.

“Let me win, and if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt”. ~Special Olympics Motto

Ethan also attended The Midland School Prom. All proms are wonderful. But this one is the best. The kids are all so ‘on’ and pulled together – really nailing it in every way. I feel privileged that I get to be a part of these peoples lives.

Who doesn’t love when I post about Ethan and more Ethan?!