Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Birthday, Colin - 2015

Yesterday was Colin's 14th birthday. I got up early and went to Tim Horton's to buy a dozen donuts and a box of Tim Bits to start the day. Colin seemed in a decent mood and I made sure to have minimal contact to keep it that way.

He put on his new forest green dress shirt and tartan-plaid tie that I bought him this past weekend. What a difference a year makes. Last year we could not be under the same roof and refused to accept any cards or gifts from us. He accepted his birthday donuts which was shared with his brothers and took the Tim Bits to school with him.

We had to delay going out for a birthday dinner as Colin had signed up to help with a Fish Fry fundraising dinner at a local Irish Club to get his required volunteer hours in. When he came home, we celebrated with an ice cream cake. I was delighted that we were able to sing to him and I was able to get some photos.

The only blemish on the day is that my middle-son was not shy in voicing his resentment to me. Colin came home on his 16 year old brother's birthday. To make matters worse, that was the same day we picked up Sumter. I have no doubt that without this puppy, we would not have been as successful in bringing our son home. Unfortunately middle-son views this as his brother getting a gift of a dog and taking away the spotlight from the birthday boy.

This teenage angst is working my last nerve!

Other than the simmering resentment from his brother, Colin seems to have had a good week. Wednesday, Colin and his eldest brother performed in a high school band concert; Colin on trombone, his brother on trumpet. We were able to have a nice dinner afterwards. I really cherish these bouts of normalcy.

Tonight we have family coming into town and will dine out. I am delighted that Colin is on-board with the plans and not the least bit hesitant.

Time to start to get ready!

As always.... we are a work-in-progress!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Team Spirit

This morning I had to take Colin and his middle-brother to school by 6:00 a.m. They are part of the Engineering team at school and they are traveling by bus to take part in a High School competition. The boy who said he would not do any school activities with his brothers nor claim them as being related seems to have long forgotten his proclamation back in July. Colin is active in school clubs and sports and is maintaining an Honor Roll status. He currently has a 3.9 GPA.

The Final Plunge

High School swim season is now over. Two weeks ago,  my eldest son made it to "Districts" in the 100 Breaststroke. We had to leave at the crack of dawn for a 90 minute car ride to the all-day swim meet. While my middle-son slept-in, Colin chose to come along to cheer his teammates on. Perhaps due to his eldest brother's presence, he was on his best behavior. During the car ride, I was only subjected to a couple of shushes when I was talking.

Colin sat with me up in the stands, was able to tell me where he was going when he left and politely asked for money when he wanted to buy some lunch. He even brought back my change. The only odd behavior was when we were ready to leave and had to wait for my senior to change and pose for a team photo. I noticed that Colin had his knit cap pulled down hiding his eyes. Former classmates and summer swim teammates were there with our local public high school team. I'm pretty sure he did not want to run into any of them. His shame over the past year runs deep.

 Quiz Time

Colin and his 16 year old brother also are on their NAQT ( National Academic Quiz Tournament) team and have been participating in weekend meets. Three weeks ago I drove the boys and a schoolmate up to Cleveland for a tournament. Other than the weather, things went fairly smoothly.

I took a break from the tourney to visit a favorite childhood deli. I purchased some of  the world's best corned beef and deli treats for my family as well as picked up an order for my sister. Colin remembered the deli from our last visit 19 months earlier when we were in town for my class reunion, right before our relationship went downhill.

Much to my surprise, he asked if I was going to Corky's and seemed pleased when I answered in the affirmative. Fortunately I had the foresight to go early, soon after the tournament started. The weather was snowy and the roads were starting to get a bit hazardous. I don't think I would have made the trip if I waited until the end of the day.

When I got back to the meet, I chose to follow my high school junior's team as Colin does not want me to watch him compete. The ride home took twice as long due to slippery, snowy roads and a detour around a 20-car pile-up. I was grateful to arrive home safely and that Colin was well-behaved the entire time.

Imaginary Friends

Due to a series of inclement-weather days off from school,  it would appear Colin has been spending a fair amount of time with online gaming. One recent evening, I brought the dog down the basement to check on my son. I opened the door and let the pup in only to hear my son say, "Mom. not now, I'm playing with my friends".

I stuck my head in his room to look for "imaginary friends" and found Colin seated in front of his laptop wearing his headset. I pointed to his computer and shot him a quizzical look. He nodded in the affirmative. I grabbed the dog and left. At least he was polite in front of his online buddies.

I spoke to my 16 year old to see if I needed to be concerned that his brother was spending quite a bit of time online with what appears to be total strangers. I was told no, and that I didn't need to worry. There are better ways of paedophiles targeting victims than playing "Call of Duty".

I have to trust that my son will be o.k. Things seem to be going well, at least on the surface. What lies below is anyone's guess...

As always, "We are a work-in-progress!"