In Brazil it’s called “mãos que ajudam” and here in the US it’s called “helping hands.” As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we always hear and read about the LDS crews that help out after disasters and storms destroy areas. This weekend I had my first chance to actually be part of “helping hands.” You might say that we earned those yellow t-shirts. We headed down to Lake Jackson to help clean up things from Hurricane Ike. What a great day. How the organizers were able to arrange the maps, directions, and job orders was amazing. Our crew of 7 worked like crazy all day, a bunch of “city folks” packing chainsaws around, pretending to be lumberjacks. No doubt, the 400+ volunteers put in thousands of hours of work which can only help the residents of Lake Jackson as they put their homes and lives back together. It was a privilege to spend the day with them. This picture shows members of our crew with Janie and her friends, who worked just as hard as we did. That big old pecan tree is now just an old memory.
Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category
Our 1992 Plymouth Colt is carrying some extremely precious cargo today. Devin and Michael are driving to Utah/Idaho. Devin will be returning to BYU Provo, now majoring in Statistics and starting his junior year. Michael will begin his college life by living in the dorms at BYU Idaho and getting his first taste of university-level classes. It’s all left me feeling a little weird. One one end I’m anxious to see them moving on, on the other end I’m missing them already. Devin got all of the sports genes and it’s been great to have him around this summer to play some basketball and to share in the olympics. Michael has never not been here and I’m already feeling a little lost without him. He has a interesting way of singing instead of talking sometimes. Who would have thought that I would ever had missed that, let along have it be the first thing that comes to mind. And the Plymouth Colt has been a part of our lives since we bought it 16 years ago. So three cheers for my boys. I’m proud of them, I love them, and I sure hope that they arrive safely in a car that gets them all the way to their destination.
Tonia and I are not empty nesters yet, but I will say that one of the strangest sensations I have ever had is that of knowing that my youngest child is graduating from high school. Michael will be moving on to BYU Idaho in the fall (Devin will be going back to BYU Provo, and Tamara will be returning to a program in physical therapy here in Austin). In other words, the feeling of not having young kids in school brings a bizarre combination of pride and fear. There’s a fear of not having any children at home. (What will we do with our Friday nights? For the past 8 years we’ve gone to the football games to watch Devin or Michael perform in the band.) Now what? But there is also a sense of pride in knowing that they are doing OK.
So, although I don’t believe that graduating from high school is necessarily the world’s highest accomplishment academically, I do feel the emotion of the moment because of what it means for the “empty nest.” Maybe that is why our society makes such a big deal out of high school graduation–it’s the sign that the children will be leaving. And that is exactly how it has left me feeling. It’s the moment when after 18 years of taking care of a child, it’s time to move on.
One of the great things about having a son away at college is that he comes home to visit in the summer. Last week Devin came home from his year away at BYU. Here’s a shot of the two of us at a softball game. It’s a great shot because Dad has the goofy look that says “I’m excited to have Devin home.”