Orientation is a concept I spent a lot of time thinking about this last weekend as I helped move my daughter into her new digs at university. From the moment I put the key into the ignition and the car into drive until I parked my automobile snugly into the garage returning home, I was in a constant state of getting my bearings.
As a writer, one is schooled to continually practice the art of noticing.
The teenager sitting beside me rarely noticed anything that wasn’t coming into view on the flat screen of her smart phone.
There is a vast difference between us. We orient ourselves in completely different ways.
We both learn about the world using our eyes, but mine make grand sweeping gestures east to west and north to south, taking in trees and buildings, street signs and faces, while hers make a minuscule movement barely left and right of center—just enough to absorb the bazillion articles on Reddit that tell everyone reading what’s happening in the world today.
But at least we know what’s unfolding around us.
We both use our ears to scope out sound. As we sit in a lecture hall, in front of a panel of teachers, advisors, administrators and staff, I soak up the voices and what they say: the chief of campus police—serious and dour, the dean of students—confident and erudite, the chair of the physics department—stumped by all the befuddled faces, the university healthcare representative—thoroughly weary from repeatedly answering the same question, just posed in a different accent. The incoming freshman I’ve placed in the seat next to mine has used her ears as a holder for two pieces of electronics and plastic in order to block out the ambient voices and welcome in somebody else’s streaming from iTunes.
I look at the distance we need to maneuver from one end of campus to the other and pull out a map; she hears the phrase lovely walk and clicks on an app to hail a cab.
We pass by groups of kids and I scan the clusters of faces from all ends of the earth and say, “It’s going to be wonderful getting to know so many new people from places you’ve never been.” She replies, “I already know most of them. We’ve all met on Facebook.”
The list of activities–the get to know you parties–are poles apart from what would ease me into my new surroundings had I been the newcomer on campus.
Come build a rollercoaster!
Edible LEGO bricks. Let’s eat our architecture!
100 somewhat illegal uses for all your tech gadgets—shhh.
Yeah, my university mixers were more of the sort that announced: We’re having a pizza party in the Student Union. Come meet your mascot.
I watched a kid zoom by on a ten speed bike powered by a chain saw. I heard music coming out of a speaker that looked like a small Oreo. I saw someone typing words onto a screen, which would have been fine apart from the fact that there was no keyboard beneath her fingers.
I was now completely disoriented.
By the end of the day I had amassed a file full of papers—everything from phone numbers to calendars, lecture notes to course requirements. I turned to my teen, “I’ve got spares for you too because I noticed you weren’t taking any.”
She waved her phone at me. “Got it all right here.”
Smart phone. A helluva lot smarter than me.
We bring the last of her gear up to her dorm room. “Do you want me to remind you how to do your laundry?”
“Nope. I’ll YouTube it.”
“Shall I walk you to the university’s clinic and campus police?”
“Already Google-Mapped it, Mother.”
“How bout I—”
Smart phone is waved in my face.
It is clear I have been replaced by an app. By copper and wiring and eye tracking and satellites. This is her world not mine. It is fast, it is immediate, it is clever and it is made for a group of brains that do not see the world as I see it.
I collected my things and we walked to my car. I looked at my daughter and thought about our positions in the universe, how I would find my way back home, how I would go back to what was familiar and well-worn, and how I’d be recalibrating life and adjusting to the “new normal.”
So much of the weekend was, in truth, an orientation meant for me. I watched this young woman and all her peers around us utilize unfamiliar signs, and oftentimes unreadable directions, leading them confidently down their new path.
There really was nothing left to do apart from stand aside and lovingly snip the last threads of that invisible umbilical cord between us. I let her go … wireless.
August Gotta Have a Gott winner
In January, Rob and I announced that his sketches will be available toward the end of the year in the form of a 2015 calendar! And our readers would get to be the judges and voters for which doodles they’d like to see selected for each month. We’ll reveal the winners one by one, and come November, If you’ve Gotta have a GOTT, you can place your order. Jump on over to see the cartoon winner for August!
Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.
75 thoughts on “How to Get Found by Losing Your Way.”
The times are indeed achangin’. My sons are probably closer to your age so their growing pains were not electronic in nature. My granddaughter started University this year, and it seems as though all the electronic gizmos are such an integral part of her life. The smart phone, texting, Facebook. The whole deal. I bought her a laptop for graduation and I don’t know if I aided her are enabled her. Oh well. I only hope she views technology as a tool and not a life style. I know kids think they have all the answers but in time they find out that no one knows it all. I guess all parents and grandparents can do is help make their transition to wireless as painless as possible. Keep smiling after all on a positive note there is always Skype.
Such lovely thoughts you’ve shared, Benson, and I agree, if you look carefully enough, there usually is a bright side somewhere–and I’ve found my daughter and I actually communicate really well using all the gadgets. It’s pretty much the only way inside and toward conversation. So I shall grab my Skype moments and Facetime talks, my texts, Snapchats and emails, and run with them. It’s all about connection in the end, and I plan to use whatever’s available to keep fastened to her life and share in the joy of discovery (or bathe in the soup of confusion ).
Well it doesn’t take a Culinary Degree to be familiar with that particular bowl of soup. I think we have all had a few laps. I really enjoy your postings,by the way. You do turn a nice phrase.
Day maker of a comment, Benson. You’re going on the fridge. 😀
Cutting those cords can be painful Shelley since we see our kids don’t really need us in the same way anymore. You’ll find more time on your hands to stare into space wondering why you have so much time on your hands but contact won’t be broken. The smart phone will come into it’s own when it comes to phone calls home for “Mum, can you help me…..” since no smart phone can supply a few extra dollars when needed.
Make the most of the quiet time as end of term comes quickly as do weddings and grandchildren.Time to start all over again
xxx Huge Hugs xxx
Ah yes, the circle of life. I suppose it’s wise to start thinking about the ebb and flow of crazy and quiet around here. I’m not big on change, but it’s been said by handfuls of the savvy sages that nothing is an absolute apart from change. Occasionally I’d like to reach out and press the pause button, but I’ve not found it yet, David. Maybe let me know if there’s a secret drawer somewhere in everyone’s house?
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. They always mean so much to me. Huge hugs to my favorite Welshman. ❤
Love your perspective on this Mrs P. The only thing she can’t google is a real life hug from her mum.
This is so very true, but my sister in law sent us an e-card with a DIY hug.
Close (as in human contact) but a real contact hug from someone you love? Nothing can touch that!
Oh, Cheergerm! That is perfect and I never really thought about it that way. I do have one trick left in my bag, don’t I?
I will hold on to that little pearl. I think it’ll keep me warm at night. Thanks. 🙂
I enjoyed this post immensely, Shelly – can so relate (my teen is marginally behind yours). Smart phones are wonderful, technology is brilliant, Google and apps rock, but before we all prostrate ourselves at the alter of SCREEN, read Cheergerm’s comment!)
(Luv your pics Rob) 🙂
You’re so right, Lee-Anne,–about balancing both the admiration and the infatuation with technology (and about Cheer’s terrific point). On one hand, I’m so happy there are all these bits to assist our kids in finding knowledge, and having millions of avenues opened through the miraculous buffet that electronics have provided them. But on the other, I hope they will come to realize that human beings really do offer something quite unique and special, and although probably a little more buggy than their gadgets, we still offer heartfelt warmth, and that’s a priceless commodity.
I hope your journey proves to be a smooth(ish) one, my friend. 🙂
You are spot on, Shelley! Getting the right balance is the key…and it’s a constant challenge. 🙂
Thankyou, Lee-Anne. It’s always a pleasure to read Shelley’s texts. They’re always inspiring and fun to illustrate 🙂
Oops…Shelley, with an ‘e’ !!
I’ll answer to most anything, Lee-Anne. I’m just happy I’ve folks to answer to! 😛
Great post, and Rob excelled himself with the graphics this week.
I so agree how things have changed, and I can’t keep up. What concerns me most I suppose is that the even most basic things have Gizmos or ‘toys’ that replaces a simple on/off switch!
Yes! I think the reason for this is that the need for an “off” position has been made obsolete. A growing number of folks prefer to remain connected 24/7, so what’s the point in switching off? In truth, a good half of all the buzzes, bleeps and pings have disappeared since Chloe’s vacated the premises. My brain is sending out mental thank you notes to the space surrounding it, and I’m actually aware of a sound I’ve not heard in years–a ticking clock in the kitchen! Heavenly.
A very touching post, Shelley, with a beautiful last line. Someday (before I know it) I will be where you are now, and I’m sure I will be just as bothered and bewildered. Already I feel like the oldster, saying, “Back in my day…” to my son. When did I become that person? Aaaaah! 🙂
Thank you so much, Sue, for you gracious comments. And when I look at the name of your blog it brings to mind how absolutely true that phrase is when speaking of the connection between parents and kids. It really is like stepping through into sci-fi zone, so many things unfamiliar and alien. But I think it’s rather intriguing as well, and perhaps we can see ourselves as pioneers as we traverse their territory. I’m rather determined not to get wholly left behind. 😉
That’s the spirit, Shelley! 🙂
I hope this doesn’t mean that the future is going to look like “The Matrix.” But as a college professor, I can tell you that after about three weeks of kicking up their heels, the freshmen get very, very homesick.
So glad to have an insider’s perspective on this, Linnet. Thank you.
Thus far, when I would have been expecting to hear back about all the gatherings and events and discoveries galore, I’ve been getting texts that are more on the side of, Holy Crap, this is hard, Mother! All I’m doing is STUDYING! And this after only a week and a half of classes. I hope it’s a good thing.
Yes, it’s a very good thing! I foresee an attack of homesickness coming up very soon. You’d better bake some cookies and mail them, stat!
Ha! Already sent my first “care package.” Her birth certificate, so she could get a job (yay!) and a bag of Sour Patch Kids – the message being that life on your own has both its sweet and sour sides, but is ultimately delicious.
Very true, wise mom. I think you should keep sending these semiotically ambiguous care packages. And don’t forget to include some condoms. “The challenges of life may at times seem surprisingly hard and intrusive, but ultimately they can be very satisfying.”
Both profound and prophylactic, Linnet.
And so perfectly you 😀
Linnet hits the nail right among the head!
Good morning Shelley,
Have you recovered from your road trip from what probably seemed to the moon and back? Did it feel as if your passenger was foaming at the mouth with a language you couldn’t comprehend (as in remember the old computer “C” language)? Ever feel as if you’re stuck in a world of dial up when your children have surpassed everything you thought you knew and thought to be true… was quickly leaving you feel as if you grew up on a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific? Hey, you know… that sounds kinda good right now come to think of it.
Love your article as always. You have this canny lass-like yet wonderfully odd ability to not only hold my short attention span (that’s talent in itself… see, I digress) but to make me feel as if I am riding right beside you during each of your adventures, thanks for that. I need that right now.
Well, time to prep for lecture hall with Cleo, I don’t want to miss the first day. I’ll be her first guest speaker on the topic of Motovic Cohomology, though I’m sure she’ll be able to define it buy the time I get done writing the topic’s name on the chalk board. They still have those, right?)
Firstly, thanks for all your lovely comments, buddy–it kinda makes it all worthwhile. 😉
And secondly, nope, no more chalkboards. The lecture halls are filled with a wall of moving, rotating boards that are neither chalk nor dry erase. They’re connected to computers (of course), and the prof need not get up from the seat in front of his screen. He tap, tap, taps, and it appears, appears, appears. And occasionally the students hack in and goof off with his lecture notes. Bright and cheeky sparks they are.
Sending hugs up your way. xx ❤ xx
Lots of fun reading your post. You are an Erma Bombeck, for sure. 🙂
Good heavens, Cindy, that is about the nicest thing any one could say.
A wonderful read Shelley. It took me back to when my first “child”, my son went off to college. It was a three hour ride from home. Back then I still drove and our little shadow was loaded up- with I had no idea of what. We joked – nervously. Carted up his stuff to his new “home” in a dorm. Everyone seemed friendly enough- a lot of freshmen surely in the same mix of being excited and somewhat shocked to be starting their journey off “on their own”. We attended nothing together. It was a rapid departure. I fled with that smile and exuberance for him. Of course once on my own, I cried much of the three hour trip home. My heart was ripped apart as I beat back at all the fears and such. I was determined not to helicopter. He took up the calling on the phone- back when we all had house phones and kids called from the pay phones in the hallways. He called nearly daily for the first month, at least twice a week for the next couple of months. It was years later when he finally told me, “Don’t do what you did with me. Please send my sisters somewhere all alone where they know not one soul there before they go off to college. It was a terrifying realization.” Wow I hadn’t ever realized he had never been away overnight anywhere not knowing anyone there before this. Oh we had moved around and he went to a number of different schools not knowing anyone- but he came home after school. Well I did take his advice. I gave them both that experience in their teens. Oddly enough my older daughter went to a local university before moving across the state to a university for grad school. My youngest moved out immediately after high school taking a year off before going to a local community college and then doing long distance education to complete her educational goals for the time being. It’s true our points of reference are widely different. Theirs is a world of phones and life on line. Yet they have the compassion and foresight to do their work and to care for others. This is a world very different from the one I grew up in. Better or not, it is different as was mine different from my parents. The world spins on
What a touching story, Bettemae, and heartwarming advice to you from your son. It’s clear he truly cared for his siblings.
And it’s rather amazing isn’t it, to see how quickly our experiences are outdated, and we find when we’re scrambling around for advice to hand our kids, we’re treading carefully because it’s not nearly the same situation as what we experienced and might not prove terribly helpful at all.
But the support remains a constant need. That much is obvious. Thank goodness they still feel like a moment or two to touch home base is still a worthy effort.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom. 🙂
My heart ached a bit while reading this, Shelley, as I recalled moving each of my two into their first year university housing.
You nailed it when you said most of the orientation stuff is for anxious parents. That move-in is way harder for us than for our offspring, who are so eager to spread their wings and fly (while we son as we cut that invisible umbilical cord…)
It sounds like you’re doing well (I was a mess both times). Know it will get easier, this adjusting to the new normal. xoxo
I absolutely adore this village of people. All the folks who are a few steps ahead sharing their experiences–and their huge open-heartedness about it–and those who are a few steps behind who are hungry for knowing what’s in store. Thank you, Nancy for being one of those beacons to follow. It means a lot to me. ❤
Well, if you look on the bright side, this new technology will help Chloe stay in better touch with you. You can have a face-to-face conversation now with Skype. I think I would be completely lost if I tried to go back to school at this point (and I have toyed with the idea). I’d be the only one sitting there with a pen and notebook ready to take notes while everyone else is using their high-tech gadgets. It’s amazing the way technology has had a profound impact on our lives just within the last decade. And I think I read a study that said our brains are working differently now due to Google. We don’t try to remember as much because we know if we need to find the information again, Google is right there for us. But I do think it’s cool that Chloe had “met” many of her future classmates on Facebook already. That’s a way to break the ice before classes begin. I know it’s a big change for you, Shelley (and for Chloe, too, even if she’s a little less likely to admit it), and only time will help you get used to it. So I’m sending big hugs your way, and I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again–children with moms like you, moms who look out for them and make sure they’re prepared for all the changes ahead–well, those kids are lucky indeed. ❤
You, Miranda, are a like a giant hug built out of the most wholehearted, affectionate and compassionate words one can find, all frosted with a layer of whimsical wit. I love how your comments all boil down to your humbled picture of yourself using the vehicle of back story while boosting up others around you with a savvy hand of genuine sincerity. You truly are a storyteller of the highest order. I am lucky to have you here, Miranda. You always, always brighten the space you are in. Thank you, my friend!
This post cracked me up. I can so relate to the generation gap when it comes to technology and orientation styles. Still, there’s no app that will replace a mom. Thanks for the laughs!
Entirely my pleasure, and it’s wonderfully reassuring to hear you agree with so many others that believe we will overcome the power of technology with those little things called human emotions. I intend to point out to my kids that their smart phones cannot send care packages with all the tiny bits and pieces I know they’d like, but would never ask for. Mother’s intuition. No app available as of yet. 🙂
Wonderful read as always Shelley. We appear to be on a similar page this week only slightly different. My youngest has left home to live with his girlfriend a 30 minute drive away. They are a great couple and are moving on, just as they should!but as you say its getting used to the “new normal”. But on some less dependant level they will always need their mums 🙂
Indeed, Janice, it’s basically the same thing–the feeling of losing part of a limb.
These changes will take a little bit of time with the adjustments, but a few of them have not been too bad. I never realized that my daughter’s wardrobe made up the bulk of my laundry. Wow.
Thanks so much for sharing, Janice. I wish your son great happiness with his new life’s chapter!
Such a lovely post Shelley! I do not have a teen to send off to college but I can relate to all you say nevertheless! Definitely a strange new world out there but hopefully, in its’ own digital way, a brave and exciting one! (At least Mum’s & daughters never change whatever!)
Thank you, Jane. Your kindhearted comments are always so uplifting!
And yes, I’m doing my best to keep up and not be counted among the populace of the old and fogey. 😛
Shelley, you are spot on with your observations and you put all this out there so well I felt as befuddled as you evidently did. If it’s worth anything at all, my youngest (15) just turned up his nose at the little phone/address book I still carry in my bag when I pulled it out to locate a seldom-used phone number. He told me “Just put it all in your phone!” as if this small 2×4 book in my bag was a total embarrassment. I felt about 150 years old.
But, whenever there is a problem, you’ll be the first call, whenever she needs human contact and understanding, you’re going to be the first call, and whenever she just needs wrapped in warm acceptance, you’re gonna be the first one she comes to. All those gadgets won’t warm her heart and feed her soul…..they’re just something to keep her in ‘the game’ such as it is….you’re not obsolete, you’re just the Special Team brought in reserve now for the real stuff!
What beautiful words you’ve put down–I couldn’t have hoped to have read anything more encouraging. And I agree, I think my spot from now on might be the “ICE” category, but I’m fine with that. I shall be there ‘in case of emergency,’ in case of depression, in case of minor mishaps, and whatever else she sees fit to call home for help with.
And as a quick aside, my 16 year old son was doing something so similar to your young feller. We were discussing the fact that I’m likely in search of a replacement car for the one I currently drive. The car I’ve got my eye on is one he nearly had a small attack over.
“NO WAY! YOU CAN’T GET THAT! NO WAY!”
“Why ever not?” I asked him.
“Mom, that is so not cool. You can’t drive me to school in that. You can’t pick me up in that. I would die.”
Ah well, guess life is gonna suck for him for a while. 😛
Ahhh…a little reality is good for their soul….you just get exactly what you like. Someday down the line when he’s the one paying, he’s going to understand alot better. He’ll probably drive his own kids to school in a Gremlin!
You handled all that like a pro. Sounds like you raised a smart young woman with a ton of confidence and chutzpah. Great job Mom!!! As always loved your rapid-fire wit and perspective. Such a great writer, so fun to read!!
Well, from a mother who certainly knows her shtick, that is a considerable compliment, Kami. Thank you! And thank you as well for your gracious comments about my writing. What a daymaker. 😀
My heart aches for you, but I also know things will change. I recently discovered one thing the smart phone couldn’t do for her, put together a genealogy photo album. So I did. Now every time she looks at it she will know her loving Mum made it for her. I loved the first time she rang me to ask ‘How was it you used to make that… (insert favourite food)’ Yes, and they will always need hugs. My hugs to you.
I love the stories you tell about your daughter, Ardys. I so hope I will be doing trips and having grand adventures as the two of you do. I think you have a relationship with your daughter that most moms keep their fingers crossed for. Of course you work your tuchas off to make it so, but I bet it’s worth every bit of effort.
I look forward to the day when I begin to get those phone calls for food. The last couple of years my ‘slaves over stove’ dinners were greeted with more suspicion and less enthusiasm. It’s massively difficult to compete with the copious amounts of sugar, fat and salt their favorite after school haunts were churning out. Ah well. Time will tell. ❤ ❤
“what Ardy says”! Ardy is right: THAT is something the elektrankic thingy can’t duplicate. (yet …)
I like all the pictures you used in this post. I think that what you described about how you got extra leaflets for her was interesting, because you never know when your internet is going to go down, so it’s always good to have paper copies of everything! 🙂
So glad you like the sketches. They’re the work of one of the finest and funniest illustrators I know–Robin Gott.
And I certainly wish my daughter could see the good sense of having a backup, but I’m pretty sure Plan Bs are something that become a really good idea only after you’ve grown tired of the backlash of too many failed Plan As. It might be a while.
Thanks for reading and your lovely comments, Miranda!
Ah, isn’t it always the way?
It’s great talking to ya,
Miranda xxx 😀
As an experienced mother-who -has-had-to-let-go -of-her-children-in-numerous-ways, I enjoyed your sweet, hilarious post. For a time you will feel as though the rug is pulled out from under you,but then you do adjust. And then they’re back home for a weekend or summer, appreciative of all they so casually left behind.
Such good things to hear from someone in the know. My thanks to you for the lovely reassurances. I’m so looking forward to the first trip back home and have all fingers and toes crossed that there will be a short list of things she missed (oh, how I hope my cooking is one of them!).
Cheers, my friend! 🙂
“Are you my mother?”
I wish you were.
When I went to ‘Collage’, way back in the Buggy Daze, I had to pay.
Happily, I had a good/great ‘Career Counselor’.
She stole money for me.
Mi Padre, RIP, refused to sign de papers…de papers whut would get me ‘financial aid.”
“No Matter” said my Career Counsel. We can do a ‘work-around.”
And guess what?
She worked ‘around’.
And I went to college: Majored in…
Wait for it…
I do not have to reiterate how much I love your writing.
Rob’s art is…(it is ‘Rob’ ain’t it??)
Well, it is..
I suppose it has to be.
Top ‘Shelf’ (and that, that, from one who appreciates–er–appropriates, ‘top shelf’.)
That’s an intriguing story, Lance–and one that makes perfect sense on so many levels. Sorry about the uncooperative mum bit–and I hope it was just a quick phase or a bad day on her part. Regardless, you’ve always come across as a fellow who once sinks his teeth into something, won’t let go until he feels finished with it. Perhaps she did you a favor?
And I will always welcome your “reiterating.” I shall never tire of it.
Cheers (and whisky) 😛
It was a ‘him’.
But hey! Just details.
I swear I read “M,” but there’s proof of another reason why me and technology are separating further and further apart. EYESIGHT! I’m really in to “playing the trombone” these days with anything I hold in front of me.
Nothing but smiles for you from me, my good friend.
Nothin’ but smiles (and similes.. and malaprops, and dis-joints, and….aw hell!)
“More matter with less art” said Gertrude to Polonius….
but of course, you know that…
i. am . . getting more ‘n more cynical about the phenomenon of (fer lackuva bedderwerd) “devices” which, without which, the ‘user’ (adherent?) would be toadulleee lawst.
okay, i’ll typerrate more co hear entlee. (yeah: rite). remember the teevee series Dark Angel? i think the premise of the whirled going to heck was “the pulse” or something like that — perhaps a giant solar flare which vaporized/Zapt! everything elektrawnik. society had to rebuild, start over. (but: hmmm: the quasi-hero (to Jessica Alba’s heroine) was a computer geek). okay, sometimes i hope for that. just sometimes. you’ve seen the picture of 3 or 4 teens all staring at their “devices” in some beautiful outdoor locale with the caption (to the tune of) WHAT PART OF THE OUTDOORS ARE YOU GOING TO BE NOT BE PAYING ATTENTION TO TODAY?. sigh. i’ve deviated considerably from the upbeat insightful tone of your story, haven’t i? i SHOULD take a / the hint from you and try (maybe, probably not), try not to be so negative about this “new way of doing/seeing/knowing/communicating/experiencing things.”
in the manner of Theodorick of York: NAAAAAHHHHH!
It is hard. I agree. I keep looking at all the things I think my kids are missing by having their heads down. All the things that make me sigh, or gasp, or feel the slightest bit of delight and gratitude for having been there at the right moment. I know I couldn’t live any other way. My choice is always to be disconnected first, and technologically behind. But that’s just me–and maybe you. Okay, and maybe millions of other parents, but hey, we’re on the way out and they’re the guys stepping up to the plate, right? Measurement of “rightness” remains to be seen.
Great post on generation gap! Well written. Love the doodle, too! 🙂
I so appreciate you taking the time to read the essay and comment. And even happier it hit a resonating spot. Cheers!
1. Technology calibrates us more accurately than we can ourselves, in some cases. Which is great. There’s an app for that. But this isn’t a new struggle. At some point, the battery will go dead, the network will fail, or you’ll drop your compass in a stream. At that point, you’d better know how to find your true north. I don’t think technology prevents us from developing this, but it makes it easier to diminish its importance.
2. I’m not without my guilt. I love my GPS so deeply that I named her Shelley and won’t even stray to MapQuest lest I betray her reciprocated love.
3. Edible LEGOs, for real? Because I could get behind something like that. But My LEGO house would probably never grow taller than a foundation. Until I got full.
There are so many words of wisdom in your comment, Eli, I don’t know where to begin. Needless to say, I admire your choice of names for your Sat Nav. Well done, you. 😛
I’m also with you on the fact that I’d probably never finish a livable space if it were to be built with edible LEGOs. Likely I’d get hung up on the fact that all the taps would need to flow with whisky, because technically speaking, the Celtic name for whisky uisge beatha translates into English as “the water of life.” Works for me.
Beautiful, wistful, heart-felt post, Shelley. I’m a year behind you in the parenting department, so I’m taking notes.
My 14 year old barely sets pen to paper, other than what’s required for school. It’s a whole new world, and from what I hear, we’re not fully ‘wired’ to absorb it.
I hope you’ve survived the snipping of threads, and the letting go, at least this tiny bit. Hugs, mama.
Thank you, thank you, Alys. You’ve always got such touching comments. I remember my son at 14 and thinking “Oh good heavens, he will never be ready.” At 16 things are shaping up beautifully if not a little bumpily. When I think of what just two years to a teenage brain can do, it’s an absolute wonder, and absolutely wonderful.
I’m surviving, Chloe’s surviving, her laundry may not make it. Time will tell.
Cheers, Alys! 😉
Agreed! I think perhaps teenage years are like dog years. Lots happens in twelve months.
I’ve been involving my boys in laundry detail early and often, but the chore still falls to me, so we’ll see what the college years hold.
I’m glad you are both surviving.
I remember orientation at Cal. The crowning moment was getting a free laundry mesh bag, haha. Good luck to your daughter! The re-orientation (or maybe recalibration?) for yourself must have been pretty jarring, but I love that you reacted with a sense of wonder instead of stress. 🙂
I wonder why I didn’t react with stress as well, Alex, but I think it has to be that at some point, when one’s senses are so fully saturated, you grow a teensy bit numb. There was a lot to take in–incredibly exciting, but almost like stepping onto a new planet really. A brave new world.
And yeah, I think my day would have reached the jubilant stage had I received a free laundry bag too. It’s the little things that shows the campus cares. 😛
Great blog! Your cartoons and humor remind me of James Thurber.
A massive thank you for the extraordinary compliment. Robin Gott is the great man who commands the cartoons, but no doubt I speak for both of us in expressing our gratitude to you for taking the time to read the post and comment. Cheers!