Monday, September 19, 2011

Roots and Wings

Yea, you can imagine I'm thinking a lot about those 2 subjects this week. I'm gonna try not to drive you nuts about it tho', I promise. Mostly because I am sick in love with your blog visits. So, I don't want to do anything to mess up the momentum we've got going on here! (Not that I'm addicted to you...or that I have the Betty Ford Clinic on speed dial or anything.) I am aware that some self-restraint will be needed so that I am not the sound of screeching chalk in your virtual ear! Give me some slack tho', ya hear?

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I think a lot about how the world changed during my grandparents' lives. That leads to thinking about how change ramped up exponentially since I was born. I'm amazed that some of my friends, parents of friends of Son #2, weren't even born when some of my pivotal life moments occurred! They routinely make me feel older than my stated age!

My younger friends hardly remember a world without computers. I saw my first computer in 1976. That bane of my existence took up an entire room. It was a BIG room too! I was tortured almost to death by a computer programming class and the foreign language involved called 'Fortran'.

Communication with the beast involved typing holes into punch cards. We'd take a stack of a bazillion cards to the computer room, hand it off to some grad assistant who only spoke Geek, and wait. The machines would run my cards, spit them out along with a print out, and then sit there and hum delightedly while I disintegrated into a pool of hysteria.

Why the hysteria,” you ask?

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Because...that print out would say, “error in line 2” which meant I had to go back to the data processing room and arm wrestle someone for a terminal. Then, I had to figure out what was wrong with card #2, fix it, and take the entire stack of a bazillion cards back to the same Geek for another run thru. IF...and that was a HUGE qualifier...I fixed card#2 correctly, the next print out would say, “error in line 15” and so on and on and on and on. They tell you how smart computers are. Ha! If they were that smart, I think that one could have Id'd errors in 2-3 lines at a time vs 1, don't you?

Now, if I'dda believed in Providence way back then, I might have realized that God was putting me in a place where I could learn to speak Geek. After all, he has me spending more than half my life living with 3 of them. Maybe I should have used my time more wisely in that computer lab? All I knew was I was being driven MAD, and those guys were rolling their eyes by my 33rd trip through! I began to loathe those smarty pants grad assistants as much as I did that blasted machine.

Mad Penguin Creative
Today, Son #1 began full tilt preps for his Australian adventure. First on his list was to procure a 'smart phone' that would allow him to call home. He sat with my Dad and showed him all the neat things that little palm-sized gizmo can do. I felt like I had been plopped down in an episode of the Jetsons looking right at Rosie the Robot's picture phone!

When I was his age, a room-sized computer was my foe. In the world of his early 20's, a computer driven phone – smaller than his hand – will flatten this fraidy cat world and facilitate communication with those of us at home. It almost makes me fall in love with computers. But, I still hold a grudge.

In my youthful world, the declaration that I'd like to take a class trip to Europe was met with a laugh and a snort. The underlying tone implied that I was taking leave of my senses to consider the idea much less voice it. In a world like that, you learn to fear the unknown vs looking at the possibilities as adventures waiting to be conquered.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I think I sorta get why it was easier to respond that way. Any other response would have set me free to fly. Think about it. Do baby birds ever come back to the nest of their birth once they take that first successful flight? Tonight, I'm thinking it was just easier to clip my wings than face my flight into the unknown. Looking back, what I see is that I've spent most of my adult years trying to undo the clipping.

And so tonight, it is my hand that is twitching above the wing-clippers. I am the one who wants to do something to stop this crazy train I set in motion. And yet, I know that it was my job to give him roots so that he could fly. This is one of the days I prayed for, planned for, worked toward, and anticipated rejoicing over. So, I take a deep breath and try to make it deep enough that it sucks back the tears that are threatening to fall.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
It's time for me to graduate. And, like graduation days everywhere, there is a time for rejoicing and dismay, anticipation and trepidation, laughter and  tears. Ready or we go! 

Deuteronomy 4:9 (Bible in Basic English)

Only take care, and keep watch on your soul, for fear that the things which your eyes have seen go from your memory and from your heart all the days of your life; but let the knowledge of them be given to your children and to your children's children;


  1. You are going to be fine and Will is going to soar like the eagles! Enjoy the moment of watching him achieve the goals you nurtured him to make! So proud of him and so proud of you!!

  2. Thankfully, I have good friends like you who turned their kids loose to wander Paris while you stayed in your home away from home country....just following the example you blazed...or trying!

  3. You're going to be ok CA! You know Will is going to be ok too. I know Australia is so far away. Make sure you have Skype! That's the best way to communicate with someone long distance. And it doesn't cost a crazy amount of phone minutes or long distance/international. Skype... trust me. You'll get to see his face, he'll get to see yours, and it will be great.

  4. My cousin's family had a Commodore 64 in the 80s! HA! We didn't have a computer in our home until I was on my own and a roommate had one. And it was rarely used! Wow.

    You're doing a great job. Keep it up! :)

  5. I actually remember my brother-in-law learning Fortran and computers as big as a room. My first was a Commodore 64 that had, yep, 64K which we thought was HUGE!

    I second Jessica, use Skype and celebrate a job well done. God knows our heart and He loves your son more than you do! Trust and let go, and let God. I've graduated two who are now happy adults, one with a family and kids of her own.

    Hugs! he'll do great and so will you.

  6. Felice,this was a post fr last September. :-) He's gone and come home and is ready to go again. I survived. He thrived. I wouldn't trade his experience for the world. And, my sedatives should wear off about noon next Thursday! ;-)