Meet Shelley, who is sharing her experience as an OC parent through her blog. Her daughters Emily (OC '13) and Rachel (OC '15) are only mildly embarrassed by her stories.
I am told that OC’s Lighting of the Commons is actually quite an UNcommon event. Of course I’ve never attended (thanks to having a real job and all) but every year I peruse the plethora of pictures (alliteration intended) of the event posted all over social media. And so I feel highly qualified to review and recommend the event. I understand the festive evening includes Christmas music, horse-drawn carriage rides, hot cocoa served in custom-made mugs (inspired by Vienna’s Rauthaus Christmas Market mugs, no less), and this year, even some glorious fireworks lighting up the clock tower sky.
But what I really want to focus on here are the Santa pics from the event. Because after someone sent me a link, I proceeded to spend a ridiculous amount of time viewing all 239 photos, most of which were of total strangers. I’m sure I did this because I was avoiding some real task in my life, but that’s neither here nor there. My point is I don’t know when I’ve been more entertained by a series of photos, and I felt the need to share a few in case you might have missed them. Almost every photo dazzled, so it was difficult to decide which would make the cut. But the following are a decent representative sample, in my humble opinion.
First, the pic that started it all, of my Watson and Roybal nieces and nephews (Santa looking only slightly overwhelmed)...
Next, I was fascinated by this typical college friend pic, with nephew David Paul posing in the snowman get-up…and Chaco’s. He’s a dear boy, but apparently doesn’t have a lick of sense…
This next one I like to call “Little Boy Blue Makes a Run for It”...
Can you say ADORABLE?
Next, we have a series of terribly, terribly, terribly, sweet pics…
And a few in the “Oh, hello Santa” category…
Next, we have a few awfully, awfully, awfully, sad pics…okay, and awfully, awfully, awfully funny as well…
Even sweet Jane (my great-niece) is apparently not a fan…
And in a category all his own, this precious little guy…
But enough of this merriment! I will be back shortly to fill you in on Emily’s graduation this coming Friday. If I survive it!
David, my youngest, celebrated his 18th birthday last Sunday. Which, of course, means my husband and I can quit worrying about a guardian for him in the event of our untimely demise. And it also means that he can now vote (thumbs up), smoke (thumbs down) and be drafted (yikes!). But best of all, at least to him, is that he can now sign himself out from the high school for lunch. Although ironically, I had to go to the high school office and sign a form saying he could…sign himself out. So yes, I found that mildly amusing.
As for the birthday itself, I believe David had five “parties” to celebrate the big event, only two of which he planned himself. Some might call throwing your own party presumptuous, but I like the fact that he feels free to say to friends, “It’s my birthday, let’s get together.” I think it’s sort of endearing, a part of his charm, if you will.
Of course, the boy does have his not-so-endearing qualities as well, and I would feel remiss if I didn’t list of few of them for you. For instance, he doesn’t eagerly volunteer to help me in the kitchen or his dad in the yard. He tends to spout opinions that aren’t exactly the same as mine. And he only seems to find time to crack open that expensive ACT prep book when bribery is involved. (Crazy, huh?)
So alas, he’s not perfect. I guess you might say he’s a real boy. Or maybe a real man/boy now that he’s 18. I don’t know.
What I do know is that he’s been pretty busy since becoming legal last Sunday.
First off, he registered to vote.
Second, he actually cracked open that ACT prep book.
And finally, for his pièce de résistance, he went online and submitted his application to Oklahoma Christian.
So okay then.
Two photos for you. One from today, registering to vote…
...and one from back in the days when he did yardwork without dragging his feet…
The girls threatened to take a “little” road trip to Florida over Fall Break. Naturally I considered this an idiotic scheme…from Oklahoma to Florida and back in 5 days? I think not. But they are oh so young, and think themselves invincible of course, so I didn’t tell them they couldn’t go. Instead I just casually mentioned how much I had been looking forward to their coming home. Okay, I sort of played the “how could you do this to your poor mother?” card. I just couldn’t help myself. And the bottom line? My tactic worked and they came home.
And it was a lovely five days. Completely worth the whining I had to do. My sisters were here as well, having come out to help me with a garage sale, so the girls actually laid aside their laptops and phones and CLEANED OUT THEIR CLOSETS AND DRESSERS AND BOOKSHELVES, OH MY! And they sold a few things and made a few bucks. So I’m pretty sure that was more fun for them than lying on a beach somewhere.
But all good things must come to an end, and so it is with every visit home. And when they leave it’s always a jolt back to reality, but this time it was worse because they left separately. Which meant that I had to stand at the curb looking forlorn and waving until they were out of sight TWICE. Brutal.
And then the aftermath is never fun. The quiet house, the forsaken beds, the empty chairs at empty tables. (Sorry, been listening to Les Mis.)
And this time, there was additional fallout. The day after they left, my husband and I had the following conversation:
Dave: What are we doing for supper tonight?
Me: Let’s have the leftover chicken soup.
Dave: Oh, the girls took that back to school with them.
Me: All of it? Really?
Dave: Yes, all of it.
Me: Well how about hot pork sandwiches with the leftover pork roast.
Dave: I sent that back with Rachel too.
Me: The roast?
Dave: Yeah, sorry.
Me: That’s okay, I guess I’ll have a fish sandwich with that leftover fish.
Dave: Hmm. Well I dropped the bowl with the fish and had to throw it away.
Me: Are you kidding me?
So yes, an empty refrigerator…the final blow. And this is what I had for supper that night…
But hey, it was a small price to pay for these weekend sights…
I hope your Fall Breaks were joyous as well, and that you survived your fallout!
Take a look at this little girl on her very FIRST, first day of school, all dolled up in a pink plaid jumper, with brand spankin’ new crayons tucked away in her sweet new Disney princess backpack…
Okay, so maybe Esmeralda wasn’t a real Disney princess. But my point is, I blinked. And somehow that little girl became this little girl…
…on her very LAST, first day of school, all dolled up in a neon tank and Aztec skirt combo, with nary a school supply in sight.
So…did you catch that? It’s her LAST first day of school, as in no more first days of school, ever. Well, unless grad school happens, but we’re not planning on that at the moment so just let me wallow in this, okay? So at this point, I’m thinking there will be no more first day of school plaid jumpers (although they were hard to find in her size anyway) and no more fresh new school supplies to buy…at least not for Emily. If all goes as planned, we should have our first OC graduate when December rolls around. And once again I am sad. Not so much for me though. This time I’m sad for her.
Right now, she doesn’t have a clue how much she’s going to miss this era of her life. How truly special it is to be living with great friends and learning about the world from Christian professors. Not to mention, how much freedom she has with very few bills to pay, very few meals to cook, and very few square feet to clean. She’s having the time of her life, and she doesn’t even know it yet.
But then I think about the world out there waiting for her. And I stop feeling sad and start feeling excited. Menopausal mood swings, you say? Perhaps. But I prefer to think of it as the old “when God closes a door, he opens a window” type of thing. Sure Maria was sad to leave the convent, but she got to be mom to all those kids. In the same way, Emily will be sad to leave OC, but she’ll get to…okay, well maybe that’s not a good example. But you know what I mean.
Like most parents of college seniors who are about to earn a degree in “Interdisciplinary Studies”, we make jokes about Emily being qualified to flip burgers after graduation. But the bottom line is, she’s a tough little girl (as evidenced by her transition from pink plaid to neon tank) and she’s got a heart that’s yearning to serve her God, in whatever way He calls her to. So even though I don’t know what she’ll be doing a year from now, or five years from now, when I think about the possibilities, I always smile.
I asked Jana Miller if OC was ready to put me out to pasture yet, mainly because I’ve been slacking here as usual. She said she would check with “her people” and let me know. And of course I told her to have her people get with my people, but she saw through that and just gave me the green light directly.
So here we go with Season 4, and I wish I could tell you it would be “pure, adrenaline-pumping fun” (which is how Season 4 of The Walking Dead is being hyped), but chances are it will be “pure, parental-angst drivel” instead. I hope you don’t mind.
I thought we’d kick off this year with something a bit different though, as parent blogs go. What would you say to a little OC architectural scavenger hunt? Now as a rule, I detest all scavenger hunts, as basically being far too much work, you know? But I don’t mind sending others on them. So here’s how this one works:
I am posting photos below of scenes on and around campus and your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to identify where all twelve were taken. I thought about offering a big prize for the first to identify all sites, but was afraid that might mess with your natural, intrinsic motivation system, and then you’d end up with less enjoyment out of completing this fun task. (Psychology 101 folks.)
CORRECTION: I’ve just been informed that Jana Miller and the powers that be at OC don’t believe in the efficacy of internal motivation! So they have generously offered a REAL PRIZE for this here scavenger hunt. Be the first to email me with the correct answers and…
...receive a $25 Amazon gift card!!!
So ready, set, go!
Okay, so some of the above are not exactly OC’s cleverest architectural pieces…but hey, I took most of them without getting out of my car and that was the goal.
And now that there’s a real prize, please note that by participating in the Hunt, you waive any and all claims of liability against me for any personal injury. And unsportsmanlike, disruptive, annoying, harassing or threatening behavior is prohibited. And as always, void where prohibited.
I’ll be back to report on that “best of times, worst of times” event, coming up this weekend…the dreaded move-in!