The Art Cabinet

For years the idea of ‘cleaning out’ has been a huge desire but overwhelming thought. We have so much stuff!  Of course, Steve and I both have said that it is part of how we will cope during ’empty nesting’.  If nesting is a time to acquire, make cozy and create a home…empty nesting is a time to clean out clutter and make more space and time for other things. In an attempt to make this task more manageable and palatable, I have been taking on small areas where I can clean out, throw out and organize a drawer, cabinet, corner in a relatively short time…under an hour.

The art cabinet is something we bought when the boyz were small to house the obvious – crayons, colored pencils, paper of all kinds, markers, craft materials, tape, etc. It is where they went when they made cards …they made their own construction paper cards until they were 16 or so. Then I realized – oh yeah, they maybe should send something a tad more sophisticated now  :-0 – especially for thank you notes.  In later years the cabinet has also been home to extra school supplies and some wrapping supplies.

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Just a bit of a mess has accumulated!

 

While I did accomplish my goal of ‘cleaning out’….we have a big bag of things my great niece and nephew might like (oh how happy my niece will be to have more stuff in her house ;)…we have a big bag of things for Steve to take to school for students – binders, looseleaf etc…I was not prepared for the emotions that came with this project.

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Crafts, cards, crayons…oh my!

 

In the midst of pulling all the contents of the cabinet out into a pile on the floor, I felt a huge wave of nostalgia and sadness wash over me. Casey was home for the weekend so I did not expect to be in a mode of missing the boyz. Plus this cabinet is not home to their past art projects or school work (we have bins for that downstairs that I now do not want to go near!) so I just did not think I would go down memory lane. But just seeing their pencil cases with the supplies still in them, some old notebooks with names on the front, and the many half pieces of construction paper as they make cards with only half of the sheet, all brought the memories so close. How many times did we say – ‘go get that from the art cabinet’…’that is in the art cabinet’….’please clean up and put it back in the art cabinet’?  I missed those times. It was also a rainy, dreary day which brought a memory of us all being home, doing crafts, making cards…the boyz running around the house with no thought of going anywhere else, for where else was there to go unless it was with Mom and Pop? There is a simplicity to that time of life that I miss. Yet I also know, as my rational brain is still in check here, that it is not all rainbows and roses…it comes with a lot of care taking, stress, teaching and guiding.

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After saying goodbye to the old….

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Ahhhh…so much nice to access what I want or just to walk by 🙂

It was good to feel the sadness and miss the ‘old days’- even if it did not feel good in the moment.  The feeling has passed through me and now I am on the other side of it…enjoying my cleaned out space! 🙂 And both the sadness of missing the past and the enjoyment of the organization feed the love.

Many blessings,

Suzanne

Life is Cycling

So Steve and I went to the Open House at school last week. I was there to sit at the  Dollars for Scholars table (no, I do not miss open house so much that I had to go back despite having no kids there!). I went to sit in the hall at the DFS table as I waited for my fellow board members who were bringing the supplies and across from me was the Parent Teach Organization table. There was a mom and her 2 elementary aged daughters there and then several other moms came up and talked with them, some of whom were other PTO members.  I am not sure I can adequately describe the feeling I had watching this…I was on the PTO when my boyz were in elementary school, though we called it the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association)….I remember it vividly – sitting at the cafeteria tables having meetings with way too few people, planning activities for the kids as well as fundraisers….all of the things I now do with the DFS board. I was acutely aware that while I recognized most of the people – we do live in a tiny town- I did not know them and they likely did not know me.

We live in a very small town, my husband is a teacher and I am a therapist at the local health center so we know a fair bit of people – especially at school.  Yet I felt like a stranger in there. And I truly felt like I was watching the cycle of life continue right before my eyes. A place that was integral to the boyz lives and our family’s lives, that felt so familiar and comfortable for the last 13 years, suddenly felt strange and slightly unfamiliar. Yet I could watch and listen as these other families were in the midst of the busyness, the involvement and the social life that is parenting and volunteering when you have a young, active children. The feeling was palpable …I did not feel like crying, but there was a sense of grief, of loss and of time moving regardless of what I am/am not doing.

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Seeing the colors change, as they do each year…going through their own cycle of life

Looking around the halls, it seemed like much more than 4 months since Seamus, Brendan and Casey roamed those halls so fluidly and naturally. They did have a particularly likeable and hard working class so teachers always said how much they would be missed.  As much as we know it is true that people are missed,  we also know people quickly move on….it was surreal to feel it so gutterally. When I went on the 3rd floor, aka, the high school floor, several teachers asked about how the boyz were doing (many know from working with Steve), but the rest of the building was oblivious to our change, to the students that have moved on.  It reminded me of grief – when someone dies and everyone rallies around the family but quickly people get on with their lives while the family is still living the loss every day. While it is not that strong, it is the same sentiment, the same idea that was playing out.

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As some leaves have already passed their time,  others are in their beauty..

When Steve came home we talked about it as he also felt it that night. He has been in school for a month and has not talked a lot about how different it feels without the boyz there. They went to his classroom daily from the time they were in Kindergarten…yet much of his year is different so he has not felt their absence at school as profoundly as he expected.  Until Open House.  Steve had previous students, now married with kids of their own, who came to his classroom to say hello. He was also reminded of the cycle of life, how quickly time moves forward and how especially true this feels in small town America where many do not move away so you see the generations repeating themselves right before your eyes. This is both beautiful and sad- it is reassuring to know life goes on….yet sad that phases that feel so significant to us at some point are just over.

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Turkeys moving thru our front yard…just like the ones who preceeded them last year…

Yet are they over? They do stay within us and shape who we become. We would not be the same if we had stayed in Maryland and never moved here….we would not have been touched by the same people, the same experiences, the same natural environment… So I can know that each one of the boyz is inextricably linked to this place, our home and yes, even the school…and with that they, and we as their parents, can move forward with wonder at what will come next…and with appreciation for what we have had here and what resides within us because of that.

Obsessing

Obsession is a word we use freely to describe many things in a lighthearted way. We ‘obsess’ about a boy in high school,  we become obsessed with a avocados or peanut butter M&Ms,  we are obsessed with a certain kind of music…but true obsession feels different. Obsession is defined as ‘a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling’. It is a struggle to have obsessions and can intrude on your daily life.  I have had a tendency towards obsessive thinking – when my brain catches onto something and does not want to let go even though it is not serving me to continue thinking that way.

quotes, life, and inspiration imageMy obsessions often come in the form of ‘if only’ or ‘what if’. In other words – if I had just done X differently, than things would be so different now or might I say even ‘perfect’ now. So the perfectionist and the obsessive are like friends here. But they are not my friends – they are not adding to or improving my life. They are taking away from my values and what I know to be true. That is, that all we have is the present moment….that I want to be a loving kind presence to those around me, and that we all do the best we can at any given moment.

So how can I change this?  I do my go to practices….meditate and journal..write my gratitude list….practice tapping…talk with Steve (who can always present a positive view on anything)…get feedback from my mom or friend Mary Ellen…go outside…listen to a podcast. Sometimes I feel a shift that lasts for days and other times I have to repeat the above steps every hour or every day depending on the potency of the obsession.

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Focusing on the beauty of nature that surrounds me

For today I am choosing to live in the present. I will work, walk, do a few errands, talk with my mom and get ready for my mom, aunt and uncle’s visit tomorrow. I will see my obsessive thoughts with awareness, acknowledgement that they are there and acceptance that this is a thought but it is not who I am. When I accept, I can shift and it is in that practice that I feed the love.

 

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

BC Parents Weekend

I remember parent’s weekends from when I was in school…..the dinner dance on Saturday night, the out to dinner with mom and dad, and the shopping trip with mom to the mall to get a little something (think 80’s style sweater-lovely!). We also took advantage of having our parents there for a trip to the grocery store for room snacks. I always lived in a dorm with just a small fridge in my room and of all of the 8 girls we lived with, not one of us had a car on campus in all 4 years! Unheard of these days (and actually by senior year it was unheard of in those days as well!)

We went to Casey’s Parents Weekend knowing he was going to be incredibly busy with his band commitments. They had a performance on Friday night at the Boston Pops Gala (fund raiser for scholarships – thank you donors!)  so from class ending til 11pm he was with the band. Saturday was the football game and he had band 7:30am-4:30pm, and Sunday he had a parade 11:30-2pm.  All that to say, we only saw him for dinner Saturday, and for a few minutes before the parade then lunch/ice cream Sunday afternoon before we left.

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We saw more of Casey like this than up close and personal!

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These very cool dancers ‘Sexual Chocolate’ performed during the half-time show – phenomenal! Love their names 😉

We have been beyond blessed to have met the Russells during orientation in July. I was sitting outside after the parent’s group one night, waiting for Steve and everyone had left except this one man sitting on the stone wall a few feet from me. I asked the standard “so do you have a son or a daughter coming to BC?’  He responded in a way that is oh so familiar to me ‘daughters…actually 3, I have triplets and they are all going here’. Coincidence? I think not! We were meant to meet as Paul and Kelley became our fast friends and we have already seen them a few times since then. They have been incredibly generous to us helping us out in getting tickets, parking and this past weekend we stayed with them at their house about an hour from BC. They are down to earth, easy to be around and Casey has become friendly with the girls as well.

 

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Our triplet friends 🙂

Steve’s parents were at their time share in Lenox ,Ma so his dad met us and came over to spend the day – Casey was so excited to see him there ❤ Our friends, The Crotty’s joined us as well since BC was playing Temple, where their older daughter goes to school.  They sat there with their Temple shirts and did not get eaten alive ;)…Katie was smart though and bought a BC t-shirt to be safe!

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Enjoying the game

It was a great game and especially nice since BC won – always a good thing with all those parents and families there for the weekend.

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Our selfies need some improvement !

We tailgated with our friends from LeMoyne and with the Russells friends…

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Casey ran over for a few minutes to our friends’ tailgate

Then headed out to eat…

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Dinner at City Side Grille

We dropped Casey off – he was exhausted so was going to wish his friend a happy birthday and head to bed.

We drove out to the Russell’s house – in a beautiful beach town. My run Sunday morning was so peaceful…

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Not to shabby of a background to my morning run

We chatted with Paul and Kelley and finished up Casey’s laundry (very thankful they let us use their washer/dryer….oh my did his clothes need to be washed!!! ) Interestingly, there were very few pairs of underwear and socks for the length of time it had been since he last did laundry…anyone else with boys who can relate????

We were to pick Casey up for breakfast but lo and behold he was still sleeping….just going to wish his friend a happy birthday turned into a bit of a later night 😉  So Steve and I went to get breakfast and bring bagel sandwiches back to him.

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Amazing bagel shop where Steve had ‘the most incredible bagel sandwich of his life’…with ghost pepper cheese on a sirachi bagel…sweating during breakfast anyone???

We headed to the parade to watch Casey play/march one last time…

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Casey with Dave, his band director

After the parade, we had planned to say goodbye and head out as we were stopping to see Steve’s parents on the way home and had a drive in front of us.  But Casey asked if we could get something to eat and we of course obliged! It is amazing how we spend all of this time with our kids for 18 years…then they leave and we suddenly cling to any time they will give us. That time at lunch ended up being our best connection over the weekend. We were happy to get home late if it was going to give us time with our ‘baby’.  It is funny too that a few months ago, I would be encouraging him to eat veggies and fruit etc but when we see him it is ‘order whatever you want’ with no concern of health, price or any restrictions at all.  It is fun to spoil them  – maybe similar to how a grandparent feels.  So while we still say ‘ try to get some rest’ ‘take care of yourself’, it is SO much different than it was a mere 3 months ago. I do not know when he goes to bed, where he is, who he is with, what he is eating, how often he is showering or washing his sheets (he actually says he does not sleep under the covers so he does not have to wash his sheets…but that begs the question – ‘do you wash your comforter???’) or if he has all of his work done.  This is in some ways a relief and in other ways an anxiety producer. But either way, it is an important step in both our journey and theirs.

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A visit to BC is not complete without a stop here for ice cream – yum!

While we did not see Casey too much, we were grateful to have some time with him .  And it was not hard to leave since he will be home on Friday for the long weekend 🙂

 

I cannot post today without a little shout out ‘Happy Anniversary’ to my one and only…such an amazing life partner…it has been an incredible journey so far and I am excited to see what the next chapter brings. Of course we are starting it out just right – celebrating our 24th with soup and salad at home and early bed – we are exhausted from being away and not up for any special food after eating out all weekend.  Boy we know how to live it up don’t we?! For our 25th we will have to up our game 🙂

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Just a typical day in the life 😉

A fun parents weekend and 24 years of marriage…both feeding the love 🙂

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

 

Hallmark?

In this day of the internet, social media, texting and even emailing, how is Hallmark even keeping afloat? Due to the expense of cards (I have been hard pressed to find a card under $4-5) and time, I have taken to sending most birthday wishes and thoughts by way of text. Adding emojis and confetti make it fun and immediate.  When my boyz were first born I remember my mother-in-law saying ‘Oh Suzanne – you have a year off – no one will expect you to send a card for anything when you have 3 babies to take care of’.  Well that year I was great at sending cards – the boyz were good sleepers so during their naps I could take care of any business like that.  But after that year, I was back to work, naps were shorter, the boyz were on the move….you get the picture. Since then I have had a mental block about getting cards out – I have a belief that I will always be late so naturally …I am always late! It feels like each step of the process is significant…there is :

1-buying the card (which I have to remember when I drive south because there is a limited selection in my town)….

2-writing the card out and addressing it (and potentially having to search for updated address)….

3-stamping the card and getting it to the post office (a mile away but somehow never convenient).

This is how a simple task becomes complicated in my little mind!

So cards have been reserved for some birthdays, sympathy and graduations/special occasions if we attend an event.  But I recently started buying some cards since Seamus started Plebe summer and I thought it would be a way to cheer him up (I can only say so much in letters without boring him to pieces!).  I have sporadically sent some and then to Brendan as well.  I have some for Casey that I will send as a pick me up when there is a stretch where we do not see him.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I called my friend Laura last week when I was feeling particularly sad about the boyz being away.  I received this in the mail the other day and it was such a light for me….

 

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There is something about a physical card, a personal note which is handwritten, not typed, and mail that is a fun surprise (not bills or junk!) that just brightens the day.  So while I am still going to be savvy with my card purchases, I will be aware of the impact they can have on what might be an otherwise down day for someone I love. As frivolous as Hallmark can be…it does feed the love 🙂

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

Bear in Dublin

I was finally able to see Brendan in Dublin over the weekend. My sister-in-law (and Brendan’s godmother), Eileen, graciously agreed to accompany me so we could see how he is doing and what life is like so far for this international college student.

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On our way!

When Brendan came over initially, Steve went with him and saying goodbye at the airport was incredibly heart wrenching for me.  Just knowing how far away he was going, how many challenges he had ahead, and that I would not really know his day to day in any way close to what I have known for the past 18+ years, was hard to conceive of and scary.

Thanks to modern technology, we have had regular contact with Bear since he arrived in Ireland in the beginning of August.  He was there early to get accustomed to things, start rugby practice and settle in a bit before school started.  We are grateful he was able to do that as he has met some wonderful people, spent time with his dad (only a few days) and Granddad (stayed on an extra week) and met some friends of friends, the Gaffneys who have basically adopted him as their own. He also was able to visit our very close friends, the Ring’s, who are there for the year in Killarney.  Of course even with arriving early, some things still are not settled (immigration, school financial details…). The Irish definitely are on a different schedule than we are!

We arrived earlier than expected – 11pm as opposed to 11:45pm.  We caught a taxi to our Air B&B (the owner called that morning saying our room was no longer available and he just had a room with a double bed – we reluctantly took that and he reduced the price for us) and upon arriving entered a room that was pretty small.  The sink in the bathroom looked like the little dentist’s sink that you spit into when they are cleaning your teeth, the shower had NO hot water (eek!) and there was no toilet paper!. I mean really – none? at midnight? Thankfully Eileen had tissues to get us by, the room was clean and warm and the bed felt fine for the 2 of us to share.

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Our first cafe –  there are SO many in Dublin but there are also lots of people to support them all

We met Brendan at lunchtime on Thursday – I cannot express how great it felt to see him. He is my most affectionate boy and big hugs were an absolute! So I will tell the tale of the visit through photos and then recap my emotional journey while there.

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Oh so happy to see my second born 🙂

Exploring Trinity’s campus

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The library is incredible and Harry Potter library was based off of this one…The Book of Kells was not available to view that day but still amazing to see everything this inspiring library full of history

 

St Stephen’s Green is beautiful and just down the road from Trinity…lunch at a local Pub

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With a little time before his next class, we squeezed in Bear’s first Irish haircut. Not quite like the boyz India cuts (amazing and only 50 cents each!) but still good!

Aunt Eileen (GeeGee to her littles) found the Disney store – uh oh!..Bear enjoys some dessert to fuel up before a long wet walk home Thursday night

Friday was the best day by far….a little windy and very short sprinkles and then just cloudy and chilly but we were warm enough to be outside for extended time in our coats. Brendan seemed happy..we had more time together than we had planned (his class was out early and he unfortunately got a concussion last weekend so could not practice Friday night – not good but a bonus for us with time together and he is really fine they are just being extra cautious.) He was relaxed, enjoyed all of the things we did, ate well and said how much he loves doing things like walking on Grafton St, watching street performers, exploring… He much prefers that speed to the party/club scene.

We started the day meeting Brendan’s rugby coach for coffee at ‘The Honey Truffle’ (how cute is that name?!)

Coach Smeeth is truly amazing – so generous with his time, kind, encouraging. It is such a comfort knowing he is there looking after Brendan. Kay is his office manager and is equally friendly and helpful. He treated us to coffee and bought Bear a sausage breakfast sandwich which he insists they need to start making in the States. (like a croissant with sausage in it). We loved the “Honey Truffle’ so much we returned there meeting Brendan for lunch – unbelievable salads with grains, sweet potatoes, beans…right up my alley!

We did lots of walking while Brendan was in class and then met up with him after class for the rest of the afternoon/evening…

Some sights in Dublin

Grafton St is one of those streets with no cars, lots of shops/eateries and street performers

Went to exhibition on Irish Famine – powerful. And this article speaks of missing people who had family in Troy, NY looking for them. Made it even more real

 

Walked through St Stephen’s Green again

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Eileen’s maiden name is Murphy so when we saw this across from our dinner restaurant (Cornicopia – delicious!), we knew it was a must! What different flavors they had! The mix of chocolate and raspberry sorbet on a waffle cone was phenomenal! Dingle Sea Salt is their most popular

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Street performers were amazing

We rounded out the night with a obligatory visit to O’Neill’s Pub for a Guinness. Neither Eileen nor I drink beer so a sip was all we needed and Bear finished it for us (he is legal there!)

My favorite was that they sold hot drinks everywhere – including the Pub!

Saturday was a little more difficult.  Brendan was tired and congested and I am now recognizing the ‘Sunday feeling’ like Seamus had on our 2 visits to him. The energy and excitement of the visit is coming to an end.  Also we went shopping for things he needed for his room and for food- but it was busy and chaotic which is stressful for all of us but particularly Bear who is not a fan of big crowds.  We were successful  in our purchases though and went back to his suite to clean, cook and eat.

We took a tour of Aviva Stadium where the Irish National Rugby and Soccer teams play..Brendan loves it!

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A display of some American teams that have played there….Notre Dame and you guessed it…Navy and Boston College!

Some sights as we walked through Dublin

 

The toy store…and …do you notice a theme here with alcohol????

We ended the day going back to Brendan’s suite to put all of his things away, clean a bit and cook up some food for him….But first – some kitchen cleaning was in order!

Six  18 yr old college guys makes for a messy kitchen space…before and after

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Aunt Eileen relaxes after cleaning…this is in the main room of his suite where the kitchen and dining are – very pretty with nice views.

Bedroom and bathroom cleaner and more organized 🙂

Saying goodbye was painful and sad. The only way I was able to is because I knew I would see him in another couple of weeks (Steve and I planned a trip for what we hope is rugby parents weekend which we had not known about when I planned this current trip).  I cannot even imagine how I will say goodbye after that one since it will be Christmas before I see him again.  Despite the fact that he is 18 and full grown, I think our kids always feel like our children – we can see them as they were as little guys so easily and adjusting to not seeing them every day, not hugging them, not knowing what they are experiencing – is a tremendous adjustment.

I worry about all that he has taken on. He absolutely has what it takes to make this work though and I know that.  Eileen kept reminding me  ‘he is doing great….I cannot believe how well he can navigate that city after only 1 month…his coach is looking out for him and would let you know if anything seriously wrong’.  I am happy for Brendan to be having this international experience that is providing him with ample opportunities to grow emotionally, academically, athletically, and interpersonally.   I am choosing to focus on that and am absolutely feeding the love by doing so.

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

 

 

Feeling The Empty

I guess it is called “Empty Nest’ for a reason.  We have felt blessed to be feeling quite full since the boyz left – enjoying some calmer evenings after work, early bedtimes and getting a few things done around the house that normally would not have happened, (ie cleaning out a drawer or two) while still being busy with visits to the boyz on the weekends. The boyz all seemed to be doing well so far and I just felt blessed more than empty.

But this weekend it finally hit…the feeling we had been anticipating…the empty. This is my only weekend home during the month of September….we were looking forward to being with friends Friday night and then having 2 days to clean out Steve’s shop, relax a bit and pack up for my trip to Dublin (leaving Wednesday :)). I was not prepared to wake up  Saturday morning with that dull ache in my heart, the heaviness in my chest that is sadness and the sense of clouds overhead when it was actually a sunny bright day.  I think the beautiful day made it harder in some ways – I missed the boyz being home….long slow breakfasts outside, mowing the lawns, playing croquet before dinner and barbequing with or without friends over.

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Breakfast and later lunch on the patio

 

Yard work in action 🙂

 

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Chillin at 13th Lake after a hard days work

Steve ended up going up to Long Lake to meet up with some friends for the evening. It hit me even harder then…I was in the house alone (something I usually treasure) and did not even have any pups to keep me company. WOW – this is strange…this is sad…this is lonely…this is empty.

I did the things that I usually enjoy …went for a walk and talked with my mom and my friend Laura who were validating and empathetic, texted some friends, ate dinner without having to feed anyone else. But there was not joy in it, there was not relief in only having to think about myself. I looked at old pictures and wrote to Seamus, and Casey.  I went through some things that I am bringing over to Ireland for Brendan. I read. I had some ice cream. I meditated and wrote in my journal.

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Meditation spot/puja table

So I got through, though I do not feel a whole lot better yet. It is part of the journey. Everyone asked ‘what are you guys going to do when the boyz leave?”.  My response was always the same ‘we have lots of things we want to do. We are looking forward to having some time together, but nothing can prepare us for the feeling that will come with the total shift of energy in our house’.  So that shift of energy is what I am feeling. No hungry mouths to feed, no big piles of laundry to do, no bickering to listen to, no ‘time to get up’, no ‘what homework do you guys have this weekend?’….and no laughter, stories, teen energy, hugs, and just family connection with the 3 boyz I love most in this world.

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I remind myself that they are where they need to be right now. We have had a blessed, full life with them at home. It was messy at times but it was our mess. And always it was filled with love….as is this next phase…filled with love but in a different way. That love travels through the miles to Annapolis, Dublin and Boston.  Love knows no distance, it is eternal and it is ever present.

Even in this distance we can feed the love to each one of them.

Many Blessings, 

Suzanne

USNA Visit

Well certainly lots has happened since my last post….graduation…I Day….Brendan going on rugby tours….going to Casey’s orientation weekend….Casey going to Montana for a wilderness trip…college preparations….Steve and Brendan going to Dublin to get Brendan somewhat settled….Plebe Parents Weekend ….Moving Casey into school…a short trip to Maine to see friends before they head to Ireland for the year….first BC football game….first Navy football game….so needless to say it has not been dull over here and we have barely been able to feel the ’empty nest’ yet.  I will post more of a recap as I want to have some time to recall the summer and all that flew by for us.

Most recently though was our trip to Annapolis to visit Seamus, see our first Navy football game and see our friends from Garrett County Maryland who we have only seen a few times since we moved away 16 years ago.

Steve and I arrived early to catch some of Seamus’s crew practice.  It was fun to see him in his day to day routine.

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Crew team stretching out after rowing and before running 🙂

Seamus brought us in to the boathouse to tour around and we went to the Mid Store so Bill could buy a new Navy hat to support the team through the game.  The forecast was calling for cloudy skies but no rain in the afternoon so we thought we were all good…Ha! We should know better than to trust a weather report!

 

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They decorate this Tecumseh statue before all USNA events

Seamus went back to his room to get ready for the March On (when the brigade marches onto the field prior to the game starting). We were in traffic a bit driving to our parking spot so our tailgate was brief but yummy (albeit with way too much food!)

 

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Sue and Steve getting lunch ready

The game was ….WET….it rained pretty much the whole time…and not little sprinkles – we are talking FULL-ON-RAIN!  I struggled a bit with my perfectionist mind – wishing it was a nice day where we could really enjoy the game and being outside (& later enjoy the pool at the B&B!)  It is a challenge for me sometimes to release the ‘if onlys’ and accept what is.  So I reminded myself we are there, seeing Seamus, visiting with our friends and that those things are blessings.

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I need a bigger hood (or smaller head/ponytail!)

We watched the first half which was great as Navy scored a touchdown in the last seconds before the half – making the score 9-7 Navy.  Bill and Sue had headed back to the car so we followed suit after watching the halftime performance of the drum and bugle corps. We went to the Air B and B where we quickly jumped in the hot tub to warm up. Steve went back to the game to pick up Seamus who was supposed to have liberty (be able to go off the yard) til midnight.  He watched the end of the game which was incredible – navy scored 2 touchdowns at the very end – with final score 22-21. The Commandant announced that since the class of 2022 cheered the team on to victory with 22 points, he was granting weekend liberty (meaning they could be off the yard until Sunday at 6pm! Whoo hoo!).  The plebes were so excited as they have only had hours of liberty since June 28 and even that was only  a few times so far.

Steve brought Seamus and his two friends, Hill and Justin to the B&B. They enjoyed a tremendous steak dinner, hot tub, sleeping in, huge breakfast of french toast with bananas foster, fruit, yogurt, eggs, quiche…and just chilling lounging on couches, napping, scrolling….

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Hill, Justin and Seamus chillin in the hot tub

Sunday the enthusiasm was a bit lower as they were tired and anticipating a return to the yard with lots of homework waiting for them….and of course, returning in the dress whites…

 

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Seamus, Hill & Justin ready to return to the Yard

We feel so blessed to have been able to see Seamus, enjoy listening to him and his friends chat on about USNA life in the language that is still unfamiliar to us but connects them, see our friends Bill and Sue who we treasure as they were our ‘family away from family’ when we lived in Maryland, and to stay at John and Linda’s Air B&B – incredible hosts – like I cannot say enough about how much they went above and beyond, fed tons of people like it was no big deal, adjusted to us having 3 extra people for the night, shopped for and cooked our steaks which is not part of the deal….just amazing!

Though I was very sad to say goodbye to Seamus (it was a quick goodbye since it was raining and he and his friends had to run inside ), I feel so grateful that he is thriving there and has such wonderful friends to share and support each other on this challenging path they have all chosen.

Yes – the weekend did feed the love.

Many Blessings,

Suzanne

Armed and Ready

Well it is here…Graduation Day! We are house full with family and hearts full with love and appreciation for all of the support and love that has surrounded our family through the boyz first 18 years. We are full of excitement for all that is to come for them.

But let’s get down to basics here…when thinking about graduation, I knew I needed one thing…

 

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Note the words highlighted in blue ;)….I am not one for much makeup (save for my high school eye shadow days -eek!)…I pretty much only wear mascara and clear lip gloss type stuff.  But the mascara I had recently kept smudging if I rubbed my eyes at all so I knew I would need to make this investment before the big day.  😉

 

Tears just may be a part of the day…but they will be tears of joy, of nostagia, of love and of appreciation. They will be tears that feed the love.

Many Blessings, 

Suzanne

Compression Shorts

Who would think one could obsess about this men’s sport underwear as much as I have in the past week.  With 3 boyz, we have bought many pairs of compression shorts through the years, and I have never thought twice about what we were buying. If they were compression shorts and a good price, we were all set. Well the one thing we have been told Seamus will need at the Naval Academy is compression shorts as they do not provide as many as he will need.  You would think I was trying to find him the perfect wife with how I went about searching for compression shorts.

What do I get …there are climalite, climacool, microfiber performance, sport underwear, blah blah blah….Suddenly this simple task became overwhelming. Add to that mixed reports about the colors and lengths that plebes are allowed to wear – white?blue?black?…they cannot go below their shorts? (3 inch)  they can go below the shorts? (6 inch) Yikes. So this led to  quite a post on FB, started by my, what I thought to be simple, question about compression shorts.

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In the end, we were shopping at Dick’s Sports for  yard games for the graduation party and Seamus found these – a quick glance and great price – just as we always have done in past when buying compression shorts- little thought and the purchase was just fine. Required no research believe it or not 😉

When the post went on and on, it begged the question as to why we – or maybe just I, was obsessing about underwear. Two thoughts emerged…

1- Seamus will be allowed to bring one small bag with him to Induction Day and likely most of the contents of said bag will be taken away and locked in storage or sent back home with us. Having a child about to embark on the hardest thing they have ever done as well as leaving home for the first time in a more permanent way, causes a mom to feel the need to make any small comfort he is allowed, just perfect. So compression shorts were not just compression shorts ….they are the only thing I can send him with that is from home, and given the amount of physical activity and heat he will be enduring, comfort and durability is key.

2-The second and more significant reason I am sure that we/I was obsessing…is because it is much easier to think about underwear and strain my brain online in search of the perfect kind…than it is to think about the elephant in the room…the fact that my ‘baby’ is about to leave home and with that, his life, and our lives, will change in indescribable ways I am sure.  The mix of sadness, grief, joy, excitement and hope is overwhelming at times and underwear brings me down to earth in a very simple, grounding way.

I guess you could say…compression shorts fed the love for me 😉

Many blessings,

Suzanne