Monday, September 7, 2015

The reality of letting go...

Its been about week and a half since we dropped off Christian at LAX.  I don't know how, but we found the strength to see him off, to physically let him go, and not actually lose it.  It was hard and there were tears but they were full of pride and so much love. It is his turn to start his life's journey at school and in this case in Spain, and we can't hold him back. We definitely forfeited the privilege of traveling with him and going through the craziness of shopping to get him settled into a dorm at FSU this time around. But instead we made the choice to help pack him up into 2 bags to go experience college in an extraordinary manner in the hopes that the fruits of our labor will be in this adventure to celebrate and enjoy along with him.

I was sweetly texted and messaged by friends and family throughout the day letting us know that they were with us in spirit knowing how hard it would be let Chris go, and we so appreciated feeling supported by all the good vibes and blessings being sent Chris's way. They all let us know it was going to be ok. And it was.

I have to say that I was surprised that as hard as it was at the airport, Jerry and I came home and talked about how much peace we felt and how happy we actually were about it all. Like in the company of all other parents and friends dropping off their kids this year, we felt like we did our job. For the last 18 years, this is what we have worked for, right? We did it! We have been getting ready for this day through every possible experience in life and in school that we could have given him. All of that to prepare him for this day. To prepare US for this day.

So as we reflected, it was kind of hard to be sad about it really. If anything, all we could truly feel is extremely grateful that we were able to give him this opportunity somehow. But how to stop from missing him was now the question.  I was holding up pretty well until the dust settled over the last weekend and the tears showed up as the novelty of "we sent our kid off to college, hooray!" became "Holy Crap! We sent our kid off to college!!! Spain!"

What the HECK did we do??!!

I'm getting pretty good at asking and answering my own life questions lately I think. Its helpful when I have to take a step back from panic to talk myself out of it with some common sense reality and logic. Its works most of the time, but if not then Jerry's there to help me through it.
So to answer that lovely question? For one, we did what we would have wanted to do back in our own college days but never got the chance to do. Second, we knew that given all the options this was the best fit for Christian and what he wanted for his we took this opportunity, and now he'll be living it, and we're nothing but excited for him!

As a family, the reality of letting go has been as normal as could be expected I'm sure...

We all miss him! How can we not? Again, we are handling it as well as possible, but seeing the love his younger brothers have for Chris expressed through their heartfelt prayers to keep him safe, and sleeping in his bed to feel close to him can make some days harder than others :') 

Every conversation, skype session and text is cherished and looked forward to. However, although the technology is there to keep us connected, we're finding it necessary to hold back (at least a little) to find a way to give him his space and help relieve him of feeling homesick as much as possible. 

We are celebrating every discovery and experience with him. His stories, his pictures and blog posts produce some of our biggest smiles and happy hearts.    
As a mom, I'm find myself worried about something new every other day. Is he sleeping ok or enough? Does he need anything? Is he eating ok, enough or at all? He says he is, but is he really?? Is he just saying that or is he going without something he could have here at home? Ugghh...all the things that can kill a mom's spirit in 2 seconds flat, but I guess all other "top ramen/mac-n-cheese" eating kids have made it through college ok. So yes mom, Its part of the process. He will figure this out too.

At home, we are also figuring out our new normal. Like sleeping with our cell phones nearby, converting time to Spain time every time we look at the clock. To remembering that I am making one less lunch, not necessarily needing to go in his room for laundry, or even remembering to ask for a table for 4 instead of 5 when we go out! Its habit what can I say...we'll always be 5 right? ;)

As parents its 1 down and 2 to go. Danny and Mikey are growing up too. They're needing their own guidance and encouragement to grow and gain their own sense of individuality during this time apart. Chris's going away for college will be a great inspiration to them, but they will find what works best for them when the time comes. For now it will be about continuing to cherish them, who they are and our time with them as life continues to fly by.

Ultimately, this will always be Christian's home, our boys' home, but we've been told by many parents before us that they will become 'visitors' in our home. Kind of sad? Yes! But isn't it a problem we want to have? Its what we want for your kids right? For them to become independent and self sufficient and yet still be there for them to give them a reason to want to come home and visit.

The reality of letting go?...It is what it is for now and will be what it will be in the future. We have officially sent our first born off to school..Hooray! With God's help, Chris will be back in December for the holidays and then leave again, come home in the summer and leave again. Also part of our new normal for the next 4 years to come. It doesn't mean we're supposed to like it or get used to it but its what's supposed to happen. The truth is, we are embracing this reality with every inch of our heart and soul with joy, love and lots of faith.

From my little corner to yours...have a blessed week.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Frank Sinatra's 100th Birthday @ the Hollywood Bowl...

A trip to the Hollywood Bowl is always a special one. To be honest the Hollywood Bowl is a fairly new experience for me. Believe it or not, the first time I went to to the Hollywood Bowl was just 2 years ago for a Juanes concert and it was amazing. I couldn't believe I hadn't experienced it before, but I swore I'd go again and I have.

I've learned quickly that a night at the Hollywood Bowl includes anything from dining al fresco before the concert or choosing to take your own picnic basket full of whatever your heart, food, dessert and dining at your seats during the concert. You can totally get comfortable as you wine and dine while you get entertained by your favorite artist. A perfect night every time.

For the last 2 years I've been able to post and share with all of you the Hollywood Bowl's Summer Concert Schedule (Thanks to Allied Hispanic) and I hope its been a reminder and incentive for all of you to go out and see a summer show.  Last year I was given the opportunity to see the Grease Sing Along. That was amazing fun. To see all kinds of people dressed up as the movie characters and to sing along to one of my favorite movies was a night to remember.

This year we picked the Frank Sinatra 100th Birthday celebration to go to last Wednesday evening. We had been to a Frank Sinatra themed party earlier last month and it was so much fun. His music is just so wonderfully classic that what a better place to listen to his music once again but live.

Concerts are usually a thing we share with Christian who is our music guy, but this time we wanted to share and expose Danny and Mikey to some amazing music and invited them to be our dates and they accepted. It was a night to broaden their musical horizons and their cultural experiences as well. It was their first time at the Bowl and I know it won't be there last, but they had a really good time.

Frank's tribute was a series of songs that came from all areas of his classical catalog and were sung by some amazing singers and accompanied by The Count Basie Orchestra who have all had some kind of playing history back in the day with Frank Sinatra. Special guests included Kurt Elling (below), Carmen Brandford (the Girl of Impenima), Seu Jorge, and even Seth MacFarlane who was just wonderful! I think the boys were secretly hoping to hear "Stewie" sing a Sinatra song or two, but that didn't quite happen this time ;) What they did get to hear though, were many more songs they recognized than they expected. Songs they've heard in modern form in some of their favorite movies, never realizing they actually belonged to Frank Sinatra. A cool way for them to connect the old with a lot of their new.

All in all, it was a wonderful tribute to "Old Blue Eyes" and we were so happy to have been there and be able to share it with our boys. I hope they'll remember that it was a special night for us with them and we know there are more to come for us at the Hollywood Bowl.

What will you be seeing at the Bowl next?