January 31, 2010

Random Thoughts

I thought I'd do something different today -- just some short thoughts that have been running through my head, rather than one "big" subject. (Thanks to Airman Mom for the idea!)
  • Is it spring yet??!! Geez, I'm tired of snow already. Okay, the 22" in December, right before Christmas, was nice and very seasonal. But the storm that hit yesterday was enough already! All week the weathermen were saying that we'd only get a dusting...well, 5"+ is one heck of a dusting! Of course, I was downtown doing a shift at the Library of Congress when it hit and had to drive a long ways home in that mess!
  • Where do people get their drivers licenses these days? Are they being sold at Sears? While driving home in that mess of snow and slush yesterday, I was passed by 4-wheel-drive vehicles doing at least 50-55 even though the roads were covered with slush and very slippery. Yes, I understand that they can do it with their 4WD running, but that doesn't mean that they should! The 4WD won't stop them from sliding on the ice or slush and running into someone....probably me!
  • Okay, enough griping! I'm a "glass is 1/2 full" kind of person, so I need to be positive. I gave two tours at the Library of Congress yesterday morning and totally enjoyed it! It was my first time doing it on a Saturday. I didn't expect there would be very many people because of the weather, but the die-hard tourists still came out to see it. We had over 30 people in one group and 40 in the next. There were three of us docents working, so we were able to split the groups. Every tour I do gets a little bit easier and better. If I could just remember the order of those darn Putti going up the staircases in the Great Hall. (Don't know what a Putti is? Either Google it or come down to LOC and take a tour!)
  • I spent a good part of this afternoon in a pool hall with Paul and some friends celebrating his birthday. Lots of fun! I got hugs from all his friends -- they're all so sweet. I'm so glad he has made so many new friends through work and that they all like to socialize outside of the office, too.
  • Only 6 weeks until my tour season starts up again! Hooray! I really am anxious to get started again. I miss being on a busy schedule, although I'm sure that sounds a little crazy. By the time I get to mid-May, I'm sure I'll be wishing for the season to end so I can get some rest. You know what they say about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. I do miss the interaction with the people, though, and the chance to share our beautiful Nation's Capital with them. Soon it will be time for me to start brushing up on my facts and figures again.
  • I can't believe I've actually been retired for three years already! Wow! And I'm getting ready to start my 4th season as a DC Tour Guide. Funny, though -- I still feel like a rookie, especially compared to some of the guides I know who've been doing this for 15-20 years or more!
  • With tour season just around the corner, I really need to dedicate myself to getting my apartment in order....going through piles of papers and getting rid of trash, filing things away, hanging pictures, taking some new pictures to be framed. The list goes on and on. Why is it so easy for me to ignore these things and so hard to get motivated to complete them? I want to spend time working on my scrapbooking while I still have the time to do it, but feel guilty about working on a fun project when there's so much "un-fun" things to be done.

January 26, 2010

Happy Birthdays!

It's been a long time since I posted on this site. In the month since I last wrote, a lot has been happening -- holidays, a new year, hand surgery (doing fine now, thanks), singing, etc. In other words, "life". I've been busy and, for some reason, haven't felt inspired to write about much. I've been waiting for something to happen to get me going again.

Well, today is the day. Actually, the "something" that happened really occurred 30 years ago today -- the birth of my first son, Paul. Thirty years! I can hardly believe it! Where did the time go? I look at him today and can't even imagine that he was ever a baby...yet, I remember every detail of that day like it was yesterday! It's just all the years in between that are a blur!

It's been an incredible journey these past 30 years, filled with peaks and valleys. We've had moments of pure joy and moments that scared us to death. When he was born, the doctors thought there was something wrong with Paul because the shape of his head was a little elongated towards the back and his neck seemed to be too short. Of course, it turned out to be nothing at all. My theory -- because I'm so short, he ran out of room to grow lengthwise and that caused the problem. By the time he was 6 weeks old, he looked as normal as any other baby....except he was the most beautiful baby in the world! (Of course, I might have been slightly biased about that!) He really was adorable, although he was bald until he was 18 months old. Just a little platinum peach fuzz all over his head. Sorry, son -- I think that was a precursor of what you would look like as an adult! (That male pattern baldness thing comes from both sides of your family!)

As kids go, he was a fairly easy one to raise, although he had his moments, like any child does. We had our first real scare with him when he was a little over 2 years old. Long story short -- he had grand mal seizures, three of them in less than a 12-hour period. We ended up at the Children's National Medical Center for a few days of tests and were told his diagnosis was "idiopathic epilepsy". Apparently, it's quite common in little boys and the neurologist said Paul would outgrow it by the time he was 4 or 5. Well, it took a little bit longer, but before his 9th birthday, his eeg was clean and he never had another seizure after the initial ones. He grew up to be healthy and normal, thank goodness!

But there were far more positive, happy times than negative ones and those are the ones I choose to remember. He was always a loving child, never afraid to hug his mom or dad, even in front of his friends. He was never embarrassed to be seen with us....at least, not as far as I know. We never went through that awful teenage time when he thought we were from another planet -- he was happy to hang out with the family and do things together. In fact, he even asked me to take him and his friends to Kings Dominion when they were in high school...twice! Those are times I'll never forget!

There have been so many times that I've been proud of him that I can't even list them all! He was always polite, helpful and hard-working (except when it came to doing chores around the house or keeping his room clean). He became an Eagle Scout at the age of 15, then continued with the Troop and eventually became an Assistant Scoutmaster. He traveled to the Netherlands to attend the Boy Scout World Jamboree and went to the BSA Jamboree in Virginia, too. He learned to be a leader and still possesses those skills today.

He developed an interest in athletic training, so he attended a course the summer after his freshman year and became a Certified Student Athletic Trainer. He spent three years as the trainer/manager for the football, basketball and volleyball teams. He was the first CSAT to ever serve in his high school and he received letters and other awards for his good work! He also was honored for earning the most Student Service Learning hours of any other graduating senior.

Thirty years. Wow! That cuddly, sweet, little baby -- a clone of his dad from the moment he was born -- is all grown up. He's turned into a strong, intelligent, independent, caring man with a heart of gold! I am so proud that he is my son!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAUL!

But, wait -- there's more to the story.....

There's one more thing that makes January 27 a very special day for our family -- it's my sister's birthday, too. That's right -- Paul was born on Judy's 35th birthday (you can do the math yourselves). For the nine months I was pregnant, she kept saying that he was going to come late and ruin her day....and she was right! I, on the other hand, choose to believe that he was the perfect present for her that day -- a nephew, a godson, and a playmate for her daughter who was born six months later! For 30 years, Judy's been a great sport about sharing her special day. She's celebrated many a time at Chuck E. Cheese, hockey games, movie parties, etc. It became "Paul's Birthday...and, oh yeah, Judy's, too" in 1980 and pretty much stayed that way until he graduated high school.

Thank you, my dear sister, for sharing your birthday with my son. Thank you, also, for always being there for both of my sons...for being their "other mother" when they needed you...for loving them as much as you do your own children! They are so lucky to have you as their aunt (and, of course, to have Ed as their favorite uncle!). You are the best! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, too! I hope you have many, many more of them!!

Love to both of you....and may this day be as special as you are!