Sunday, December 20, 2009

Class of '09

We just had a pretty big weekend in our house. After 4 and a half long years, Silas graduated from St. Thomas with his MBA. He worked very, very hard, and words can't express how proud I am of him. He managed to work full-time, be an excellent husband and father, and still take two classes a semester. And do very well in those classes. There were some long weeks, like when he would go to class Monday and Tuesday nights, then go on a business trip for the rest of the week, but we all made adjustments, and now we are basking in the glow of his accomplishment.

We asked Alison if she ever remembered Daddy not going to school, and she said she didn't. The night after Oliver was born Si had class. That was probably the hardest time for me. It can be a long day with a newborn baby and a 2 year old when your partner comes home at 6. When he's not coming home until 9:30 it's REALLY long.

Friday night we went to Si's graduation ceremony. I'm not one for crying, or outward shows of emotion, but seeing Si in his cap and gown almost made me choke up a bit. Hearing his name called and listening to the kids next to me shouting "Yea, Daddy!" will always rank up there as one of my favorite memories. And afterwards, thanks to the generosity of some friends and my mom and dad, we got a night at the Westin to relax and sleep in. THAT made me choke up. Though I'm just going to say that no actual tears escaped my eyes. So, mom and Janice, you didn't make me cry.

We followed Friday up with an open house on Saturday night. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many of our friends. We are truly blessed to have such a great group of people around us, always rooting for us, and always willing to eat our food and drink our beer. There were so many times last night where I just stood and looked around at all of the conversations going on around was awesome.

I'm happy that Silas won't miss out on any more nights with our kids. There were some days when he wouldn't see them at all and I would tell him stories about what they did or said, and I could tell how much he hated missing all of those little moments. Now when the kids ask me if Daddy is going to eat supper with us I can say "yes". Although they will probably be disappointed that we aren't having frozen raviolis and jarred tomato sauce as much as we used to.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The field trip that was worse than a horror movie

Today I put on my Mrs. McAghon name tag and chaperoned Alison's field trip to the Minneapolis Fire Fighters Museum. I also had to take Oliver along. I wasn't too worried about it. Until I found myself laying on the floor of the museum on my stomach with a coat hanger in my hand trying to fish a car that we didn't own out from underneath some old piece of fire fighting equipment. Then there was the time when we were counting up all of the kids and we were missing one. And I couldn't figure out which one it was. It was Alison. Not only is she MY child, she was also one of the 4 kids (besides Oliver) I was supposed to be in charge of. I rock.

There was a room called 'The Fire Prevention and Safety Room". In this room was a small house with different rooms in it, and the front was covered in plexiglass so you could see inside. There was a small plastic guy falling asleep in a chair with a cigarette, a dryer with the vent full of lint, some bad wiring...the whole shebang. There was also a man hyped up on fire prevention speedballs or something, giving a group of kindergartners a talk about fire safety. He went well beyond the 'stop, drop and roll' bit. He told them about being wet and touching electrical outlets, and then made his point by making a spark come out of some room in the little house, complete with a nice, loud sizzling sound. He made the living room, where the guy was falling asleep smoking a cigarette, fill with smoke. He made the wall behind the dryer glow orange with fire. He even emphasized his point by some pretty horrific true life stories. One ended with a little boy being badly burned and scarred because instead of stopping, dropping, and rolling he ran to his father, feeding oxygen to the fire.

The whole time (well, except when I was on my stomach out in the museum fishing a car my 3 year old had stolen from the play area out from under some old piece of metal) I stood in the back of the room and watched Alison. She was on the edge of her seat. Soaking up everything that was happening in the little house, and remembering every word that guy was saying. I knew we were going to have a problem. Ever since we told her about the smoke detector and what it's there for a few months ago she has been nervous about fire. When fear monger bill was done with his speech and it was time to move on, Alison turned around with the rest of her classmates. But instead of running happily out into the museum to play on an old fire truck, she ran to me and grabbed onto my leg. Her eyes were red and brimming with tears.

I managed to calm her down, and she had fun the rest of the trip. Then we came home and before dance class she gave Oliver a speech about how he shouldn't touch anything electrical when he's wet. And she reminded him about how to stop, drop, and roll. And she asked me about our dryer's lint trap.

Then came bed time. Oh, man. At one point Oliver was showing her how to crawl out of bed and into the hallway in the event our house starts on fire to help her calm down (apparently he was paying more attention that I gave him credit for). He also very helpfully reminded her they could go out the window if there was fire in the hallway. She begged him to stop talking about it. To finally get her to bed, Silas had to promise her our house would not start on fire tonight.

I know that most of her class did not come home with a brand new fear of fire. In fact, I'm pretty sure she's the only one who took everything to heart as much as she did. That's just the way she is. She worries about stuff most kids don't worry about. Stuff that she should be trusting Si and I are taking care of. Even while I'm telling her not to worry and we've got it covered and her job is to be a kid and have fun and OUR job is to worry about everything, I know exactly where she is coming from, because I was the same way. I remember thinking that if I wasn't going to worry about this or that and remind my parents, maybe they would forget and then whatever it was wouldn't get done. And to tell you the truth, every once in a while she does remind me about something that I would've forgotten had she not said anything. It's taken me many years to learn how to not sweat the small stuff. I hope I can make her figure it out much sooner.

Although, come to think of it, your house starting on fire really doesn't fall into the "small stuff" category. More like the "stuff you don't have total control over" category. I can't really help her out with that one.