One of us was driving kids to soccer games this weekend while the other was hiking the Grand Canyon.
Steve may have had better views…but I can walk up the stairs without any pain today!
Teaching kids to wakesurf is a lesson in patience. Our two older kids learned how to surf the few days we would spend at Lake Powell every summer. We had the most patient friends who would take them out on the boat, teach them and cheer them on. It wasn’t until we were teaching Bennett behind our own boat that we truly appreciated the patience our friends had for our kids. Last summer, we thought Cannon was old enough to learn and after a few frustrating tries, we realized he was not quite ready – or perhaps we were not quite ready!
While we were at Powell this summer, Briggs and Cannon expressed no interest in surfing. To be fair – what kid wants to learn to surf when there is always a boat taking tubers out!
When we returned home, we got irrigation and Hunter taught the kids how to surf on a skim board. He tiredly pulled them around the backyard over and over again. They had a blast and Hunter was excited.
A day later we went to the lake. You can imagine my surprise when kids were calling out turns and Briggs said he was up next. I didn’t have Steve with me – so I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. (Steve usually sits in the water with them and helps them up as they’re learning).
But if a kid is ready to try – I’m not going to argue.
Hunter was on the back of the boat giving him tips on how to get up out of the water and on his first try he popped right up! He fell shortly after but we were all a little surprised with how easily he got up. He went again and once again popped right up and stayed up for a while. You’ve never heard louder cheering on a boat. It was no big deal to him. He was barely 7 years old and crushing it.
After seeing Briggs’ success – Cannon was excited to go next. We got lucky with Briggs but I wasn’t sure if we would find that luck a second time. Much to my surprise – Cannon popped up the first try and stayed up longer than I would have ever imagined. The loud cheering ensued! I was dreading teaching these kids how to surf and somehow they taught themselves.
Hunter is happily taking credit for teaching them how to surf by pulling them around the backyard on the skim board and as much as I want to take the credit for being an amazing boat driver – I think he’s right.
I will give him all the credit and my gratitude because we just knocked out teaching our last two surfers! Lake days just got better.
Hunter’s teacher encouraged parents to attend their student’s unit presentation last week. We were set up in the hallway in front of a large map documenting all the civilizations students were presenting on.
Before Hunter’s group presented – seemingly, out of nowhere – we were ushered into the classroom and the door locked behind us as the school entered a lockdown. It was clear both the teacher and students had been prepared and knew exactly what to do in this situation. The lights went off. Students sat silently on the floor as the teacher hurried around the classroom finishing up lockdown protocol. Whether it was a drill or not, we were unsure because everything felt a little too real.
I wasn’t in the same classroom as Hunter but knew he had to be next door or one classroom over and I knew Hallie was almost directly above us in the same building because I had just seen her as she made her way to class.
Since my kids were in other classrooms I sat on the floor with 3 other parents who showed up to listen to presentations. And I’ll be honest, I sat in complete awe and disbelief for what these students go through. It was a terrible feeling. None of the kids seemed overly concerned as they were all quietly on their phones. But I had this pit in my stomach for what has become normal protocol for them. I understand it’s necessary but sitting on the floor that morning, it was far more unsettling than I could have imagined. I have a new sympathy for my kids every time I get an email that says they went into lockdown as a drill or as a precaution.
Fortunately for us, the lockdown was accidental. It was really short and before long it was back to hallway presentations. But I walked away thinking how much high school (and all education) had changed since I had wandered the hallways. These kids know no different – they are being raised with phones and lockdowns and they are thriving. We do not give them enough credit!
This weekend our family joined neighbors and participated in the annual 9/11 National Day of Service. The founders of 9/11 service day did so with hope to transform the anniversary of this tragic day into a day of doing good for others. We had some neighborhood block captains who organized some meaningful service for neighbors who were in need.
Our family signed up with a few others to strip orange trees for a widow who lives just a few houses down from us. Another group worked to get all the Christmas lights down from the attic of the infamous “Christmas House” who puts on the most amazing light display every year. Some went to the assisted living home in our neighborhood and entertained them with their musical talents. Some made a run to the dump. And some baked goods for first responders.
After we were done with our service, we delivered some of the treat plates neighbors created to our first responders and veterans. We also put a sign in their yard expressing our appreciation. And I loved driving the neighborhood after and seeing so many signs of appreciation in the yards. (I got emotional at one of the houses. There was a group of neighbors standing on the porch, unsure as to what we were going to say or do when he opened the door. And without any coordination, the door opened and we started clapping and cheering for him – a firefighter. He was slightly embarrassed but very gracious in accepting our applause and treats. And it just filled me with joy and immense gratitude for all those that serve. Thank you!)
We had to drag teenagers out of bed (who am I kidding, it was far too early for me as well!) and there were arguments over who would get to hold the orange pickers. And someone hit someone else with the sign and scratched their face. But we showed up and we worked side-by-side with our neighbors and that was rewarding.
Service isn’t typically convenient…but service always wins.
We spent the evening with some family and friends at the Tempe Healing Field – a 9.11 memorial. We attend this memorial every year, but it was a first for all those who came with us. And although the tribute is heartbreaking – it is beautifully touching. Tonight they had several groups performing musical numbers and it added to the patriotic feel of the evening. Our kids have heard the story of where we both were the morning the towers were hit a hundred times, but that doesn’t stop us from recounting it ever year as we drive to the healing field.
They are patient with our stories – and they thoroughly enjoy the flag display and reading the cards – learning about the people who tragically died that day.
Every year we attend and every year it’s impactful.