Thursday, August 22, 2013

Saying Goodbye to My College Boy

Yesterday I took my oldest to his new college campus.  We checked him into his dorm room, the typical white washed cinderblock room with a tall wide window, two desks, two beds, two closets and two dressers.  We walked to the student center, past groups of young adults chatting and laughing.  My boy walked in as if he were entering his old tree house, with confidence and comfort that shocked me.  He got his student ID and his schedule.  He seemed at ease, almost accustomed as we walked the campus, map in hand. 

I, on the other hand have been a human sized stomach full of butterflies, no worse, than butterflies…more like a stomach full of hornets.  The more comfortable he seems, the more sickened I become.  I continue to watch him taking steps into adulthood…steps that I know are glorious and right…but all I can see are his steps away from me. 

I found an article, written by a father delivering his son to college for the first time.  Reading it feels as if someone tapped into my heart and mind and poured out my thoughts onto paper. 

“The emotions of a parent, I can attest, are an odd mix: part pride, part resignation, part self-pity, even a bit of something that feels like grief. The experience is natural and common. And still planets are thrown off their axes… Eighteen years is not enough. A crib is bought. Christmas trees get picked out. There is the park and lullabies and a little help with homework. The days pass uncounted, until they end. The adjustment is traumatic…But with due respect to my son’s feelings, I have the worst of it. I know something he doesn’t — not quite a secret, but incomprehensible to the young. He is experiencing the adjustments that come with beginnings. His life is starting for real. I have begun the long letting go. Put another way: He has a wonderful future in which my part naturally diminishes… Parenthood offers many lessons in patience and sacrifice. But ultimately, it is a lesson in humility. The very best thing about your life is a short stage in someone else’s story. And it is enough…18 years is a window that closed too quickly. But, my son, those days have been the greatest wonder and privilege of my life. And there will always be a room for you.” -By Michael Gerson, Washington Post, August 19, 2013
Tomorrow I will drop off my boy, and with a final hug, I will let him go…let him live and grow and experience great and hard things.  While my heart breaks I will try to smile.  Over the lump in my throat and the weight on my chest I will yell out, “Great Scott, it’s the Golden Knight.”

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Meet Rosco

I am proud, albeit a little begrudged, to introduce to you Rosco, our new Guinea Pig.  Santa brought him on Christmas morning and he is a definite hit with Emma and Spencer.  I am still undecided on how I feel about him.  I am grateful for the opportunity he gives the kids to care for a pet.  I am grateful that his poop is confined to a cage and not all over the yard.  I am grateful that he won't shed all over my furniture.  I am grateful that he is mostly quiet.  I am grateful that he doesn't require much entertainment.

However, I am sure that once the novelty wears off I will be cleaning out the cage, filling up the water bottle and loading up the hay manger.  Sigh!  He is kinda cute in a rodent sort-a way.  Oh well, I guess we will keep him.  His life expectancy is only 5 years!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Letter-or-Our Year in 2 Minutes!!

Dearest Friends and Family,

Emma is practicing her recorder in her bedroom (the walls are not thick enough.)  Ben is giving Spencer a spelling test, “SWERVE…I swerve to miss a deer in the road.”  Jasen is looking up airsofting gear on the computer and asking my opinion about ACU’s verses BDU’s???  Michael is warming something up in the microwave, even though dinner is cooking.  Overall, a pretty average evening at the Dawson house! 

Our year has been a good one and we are happy to share some of our highlights.  They shouldn’t take longer to get through than it will take for me to lose my patience with the recorder!  Enjoy!

Michael is a Senior this year.  He has finally found a fondness in his heart for Mountain View High School and he proudly struts his orange and maroon!  He played soccer for the HS team during the spring and enjoyed it immensely.  He also played soccer for a city league team this fall.  Both experiences proved to be beneficial in his quest towards soccer perfection.  He was moved, mid-term, from his Spanish 3 class to an IB Spanish class and is still maintaining an A.  In fact, all of his grades are fantastic.  He has a sweet girlfriend and they enjoy seeing each other on the weekends.  This year Michael has enjoyed, Prom, jumping bikes off of ramps into the lake, dancing in a Dance Festival with 1,500 youth, The Great Gatsby, dressing up as a zombie, a DC United game, apple picking, Homecoming, running fast, NYC, bro-nights, a three day canoe trip, The Walking Dead and Lord of the Rings marathons. 

Jasen is a Sophomore this year.  His greatest achievement this year…he learned to whistle!  FINALLY!!  He has 100% attendance in his early morning Seminary class for the second year in a row!  He is doing great in school and has straight A’s (if you ignore Geometry).  He is working with a personal trainer in weight training and loves it!  As the tallest in the family he has just topped 6 ft.  He has created his own youtube webcast about airsofting.  The ladies love him and he loves them back…but, we still owe him $1,000.  This year Jasen has enjoyed a Polar Bear Plunge into the frozen lake, airsofting, Dance Festival, a Zombie Apocalypse birthday party, airsofting, Call of Duty, DC trips on the metro, Heather Jones, Sandy Relief Efforts in NY, airsofting, lake parties, The Walking Dead and LOTS of church dances…with the ladies.

Emma is 10 and in the fifth grade.  She just participated in the DARE program and her essay was chosen to be read during the graduation.  She competed in a choir competition with her school and got to sing at King’s Dominion!  This fall she was picked to join her school’s drum ensemble and has loved it.  We all enjoyed her concert.  It was amazing how great they sounded…no seriously.  She played soccer for the city league in both spring and fall and loved it!  She had a super fun Makeover-Photo Shoot birthday party.  She spent countless hours this summer playing at the lake.  This year Emma has enjoyed Jamestown, kayaking, neighborhood animals, The Lost Hero, secret crushes, Activity Days (except not the knitting part), skyping with cousins, Pok√©mon, date nights with Mom and Dad, Williamsburg and Lord of the Rings with her brothers!

Spencer is 7 and in the 2nd grade.  He is math wiz and loves studying about different Native American tribes.  He loves to run and climb and we often find him in a tree, especially at church.  He played soccer this fall in a city league and really enjoyed it.  He scored in nearly every game!  He spends a large majority of his free time building with Legos or drawing. His creations are always very entertaining.  He has become an excellent swimmer and has even considered joining a swim team this spring.  He loves to do all kinds of silly and wild dives off of the dock into the lake.  This year Spencer has enjoyed rescuing turtles, fireworks, jumping his bike off of ramps, pogo stick-ing, making new friends, dancing, playing the Wii, helping Mom cook, hitting things with sticks, loosing teeth, staying up late, playing in the bath tub and hanging out with family.

Ben is a Sophomore this year.  You heard me correctly, Ben is back in school.  College has been a fun addition to his already full schedule.  He has completed two English classes, one Algebra class, one Anatomy and Physiology class and one College Prep class so far this fall.  His grades are excellent! He spent a couple of weeks travelling with work to Afghanistan, Japan, Hawaii and the Carolinas.  He was the assistant coach to Spencer’s soccer team.  He is in the Elder’s Quorum Presidency and enjoys driving a car load of kids to Seminary every morning.  He still enjoys working on Quantico, helping Marines find the jobs of their dreams.  He is still a happy guy who loves his wife and kids!  This year Ben enjoyed long runs, fishing at the lake, laughing with kids, Alphabet Dates, New York disaster relief and the Dresden Files.

Andrea started a new job working in an elementary school.  She spends time in classrooms and library but the majority of her time is spent in the cafeteria during lunch.  She is an expert Go-gurt opener!!  She went to Girls Camp as the ward camp director and fell in love with the girls of her ward.  They still come over to the house to “hang out” even if the boys aren’t home.  She also works in the Relief Society Presidency and loves planning parties and activities.  She planted a fun and successful “salsa garden” last spring and even canned some salsa.  This year Andrea enjoyed watching soccer games, listening to shower singers, driving with teenagers, books on tape, dating her sweetheart and electricity!

You are already in a blessed group for even considering reading this Christmas letter.  Our year has been a happy one and we have seen many blessings in our lives, not the least of which are good friends and loved ones.  Thank you for being a part of our happiness!

Much love and the Merriest of Christmas wishes,

Ben, Andrea, Michael, Jasen, Emma and Spencer

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mormon Helping Hands-Sandy Relief Efforts

Ben, Michael and Jasen had the amazing opportunity to join a Hurricane Sandy Relief team this weekend.  They left Saturday morning at 4 am and arrived in New York City around 9:30.  They met up with other volunteers and Relief Effort Coordinators and were asked to start out tearing down drywall in a basement that had completely filled with water.  They had to remove the ceiling drywall and all the insulation as well.  They moved on to other projects, removing flooring, debris, more drywall and all kinds of cleaning up.  The job was exhausting and filthy but totally worth it.  The boys had a great time with friends.  Ben had a great time with the boys.  Everyone had a great time working together.  I was a very memorable and life changing experience and I couldn't be more proud of the hard work that they did.

This is just a small example of the devastation that the guys saw in New York. 

Michael found this old bottle of wine in some debris on the beach. 

They ripped out all the dry wall off of the walls and the ceiling in this basement.  The water level was 10 feet.

The Grimmers, Andy Reid, Sariah Relitz, Nick Ingraham and  Eric Rivera were a few of the team members that the guys got to work with!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Fun Kids!!

It's that time of year again! The "take pictures for Christmas cards" time of year! We went to down town Fredericksburg. The kids were great sports (and we didn't spend any longer than 30 minutes!)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Handsome Jasen and the Miracle Photo Shoot

Jasen is not a fan of posing for me in any kind of pictures.  He is so difficult that I have resorted to punishing him not by grounding him or taking away privledges but by threatening to make him do a photo shoot.  "That's it, now owe me 50 shots."  To which he responds, "Nooooooo, please Mom, PLEASE!!  I am so super sorry."  To which I respond, "Keep it up Mister and I will make it 60 shots." 

These great photos of my darling guy are a result of forgetting to pick up dirty clothes off of the bathroom floor...and considering the same darling guy, we should be seeing plenty more pictures in the future!!  I am an evil genius!!

Fall Soccer-2012

Spencer had a great season playing defense!

And offense!!

Emma played as the captain of her team. 

She led her team to a record of 7-2-1!

Michael enjoyed playing with a city league team in the HS off season!