59. My Son Finished College!

Yesterday, my youngest son finished his last Final Exam, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Computer Science.


I am now the mother of two full-grown adult college graduates!

It was a lovely last drive to Williamsburg.  There were no traffic slowdowns, and it was so warm we had dinner outside, in Merchant’s Square of Colonial Williamsburg.  We talked all the way home.  Just a lovely day with my wonderful boy!

Where does the time go?

I am so proud and happy about the man he has turned out to be.

58. My Mom

This year I was a judge for the Cybils Awards, in the category of Fiction Picture Books.  Publishers sent me many picture books to consider (the ones my library didn’t have).

The majority of those are going to the library.  But I selected the best to send to my two toddler nieces — and to my Mom.  My Mom has Alzheimer’s.  My sister, who helps my Dad care for her, requested board books or very simple picture books for Mom.  Apparently she can still read those.

I’m not sure the ones I sent are simple enough.  But I hope so.  I hope they will bring her some joy.

And that got me reflecting.

My Mom was the one who taught me to read.  Long before teachers got hold of me.  (I can still remember when I could read a particular set of word cards she’d made for me.  And her delight.  One of the words was yellow.)

My Mom was the one who taught me, by example, to read aloud to small children with expression, with joy, and with love.

I am sure I still slip into her cadences when reading aloud to children at the library.

It was my Mom’s idea to have all her kids take naps for an hour every day — but we could read during that time; we didn’t have to sleep.  Thus she got me in the habit of reading for at least an hour each day.

My Mom always wrote in each book she read the date she finished reading it.  (At least books she owned!)  Whenever she gave a book, she wrote to the giftee in the front, and insisted we do the same when we gave books to her.  So each book chosen last night was inscribed to her.

Yes, parents can instill a love of reading in their kids.  My Mom sure did!

And now, I hope that reading these simple, lovely books I’m sending will give her some joy.

And I have to also say that I’m so thankful for my Dad, who takes tender loving care of her, even though she’s definitely not the woman he married any longer.  And I’m thankful for my sister who lives there and helps.

Merry Christmas, Mom!  Thank you for the positive way you shaped my life.

55. Thanksgiving

I’m so thankful for the Thanksgiving holiday!

A whole day set aside for giving thanks.  The awesome thing about Thanksgiving is it can be celebrated by people of every religion.  Even atheists can think of the other people in their lives to whom they can be grateful.

I also like the way Thanksgiving has traditionally become a time to celebrate the people in our lives whom we love.

A wise person has said that gratitude helps you live in the present.  When you’re being thankful, you’re not obsessing over or regretting the past.  You’re not worrying about the future.  You’re remembering that right now, this moment, you have something to be thankful for.

What a blessing!

54. Driving to Get My Son

When my son first started college three hours away in Williamsburg, at William & Mary, people told me to make him find out about bus service.  But I have to say how much I treasure my trips down there to pick him up and take him back.  What a treat!  I’m so glad I didn’t listen to them.

Traffic is usually bad for the Thanksgiving trip, but yesterday it only took a half-hour longer than usual to get there, and it was a glorious day, chilly but sunny and still with colorful trees shining in the sunshine by the roadside.

Once he gets his stuff from his dorm, we walk through the lovely campus to old Williamsburg.  We bought a sandwich at the Cheese Shop and I got some of that incredibly spicy ginger ale that I like so much.  There’s a ginger theme, because then I get Gin-Gin candy at Wythe’s Candy Shop.

And then we drove home.  Yesterday, we talked so much, I didn’t notice whether there was bad traffic or not!  It seemed like before I knew it, we were almost home!  (I even took a wrong turn when nearing home, because I was paying more attention to our conversation than to where I was going.)

It was so lovely to talk with him!

And now my boy is home!  I worked today, but have the whole rest of the weekend off.  I’ll take him back to school Sunday — and then three weeks later, he’ll completely finish his college career, and I’ll have one last trip down to pick him up.

It’s been a good three and a half years.

53. Time with my Toddler Niece


Another highlight of my trip to Oregon was a day and overnight with my brother and his family, including their 2 and a half year old, Arianna.

She is active and outgoing and so much fun!

We had a busy, exciting game of hide-and-seek with her daddy and me doing the hiding.  It made me laugh how it got my heart rate up waiting to find out if she would spot me!

The next morning, I got to go with her to an open gym.  Such fun to watch her enjoying the equipment!


You can see how proud she is to get up on the “horsey.”


And my sister came by with my other two nieces — and I caught Baby Zoe smiling at my sister-in-law!


Just a lovely time with little ones!

52. Holding an Infant

Holding Zoe

When I arrived in Portland, the next day, I visited my sister Marcy and got to hold my 6-week-old, not-quite-9-pounds niece Zoe.

She smiled at me!

There is nothing quite so wonderful as holding a newborn.  You forget how tiny they start out.  I’m still smiling when I think about it.  She fell asleep in my arms, which was a break for her mother and a thrill for me.


Of course, another wonderful blessing was getting to spend time with Zoe’s 3-years-and-one-day-old big sister Alyssa.  Another true delight.  (In this picture she’s feeding us pretend food — busghetti — at the park.)


51. Time with My Kid


I’m now going to go into more detail about my wonderful trip to Portland, Oregon.

The highlight was definitely getting to spend time with my adult child Jade, who is newly become my daughter and used to be my son.

This has taken some adjustment in my mind — but it was wonderful to just have some time together and be reminded each day that this is the same fabulous person I love with all my heart.

50. My Oregon Trip


I just got back from a wonderful trip to Oregon.

I like to make this blog about *present* blessings, but I was not able to do much posting on my trip.  So I will first be thankful for the whole trip, that I was able to go and had a wonderful time.  My subsequent posts will get into specifics.

Overall — I got to take a week off work and go to Portland.  The excuse was a Young Adult Library Services Association Symposium.  But I stayed before and after the symposium to see various loved family members.

And it was a simply wonderful week.

26. Grown Kids

Today I represented the library at a Back to School Fair at a middle school.

And while I really enjoyed the middle school kids with their excitement and energy, and while I really enjoyed my own kids when they were in middle school — I was struck by how glad I am that I am no longer the Mom of middle school or high school kids!

This is a nice realization — lately, with my youngest starting his very last semester of college, I’ve had a little trouble with the Empty Nest Blues.

But I was reminded of all the stress of middle school — meeting all the various teachers, buying supplies, this, that, and the other detail to worry about….

Yes, I got through it, and I do look back on those years fondly.

But we are done with that!  That season of life is over, and now I can smile fondly on those still going through it and tell them about all the ways the library can help them.

There are some lovely things about this phase of life, and this was a nice reminder.

20. Time with my Son

Today my son came back from his summer internship!

Never mind that I have to take him back to college — for his last semester — in less than 48 hours.

It is simply wonderful to have him home with me.

And we talked and talked for at least an hour.

And that’s just lovely.

I am blessed to have two children who have grown into such fine adults.

And tonight I get to be with one of them.

This makes me happy.