Excuse me, are you listening? 15-17
Sunday, September 4, 2016

Dear Readers,

Summer 2016 has been a roller coaster for me.  I think that my children’s schedules have my mind rattling.  Most think of summer as a time of rest, for me it is more hectic.  No beach filled week long vacations or the early morning sounds of the birds only to roll over and get the really good second go round of sleep in. 
It is up at 6:00 am and to school or color guard practice.  Thursdays were the most hectic.  Rotary at 7:30 am, color guard practice at 8:00 am and school at 8:30 am was my routine until last week.  Not to mention the appointments that were forgotten until three hours prior too.  They would say that they told me already but I think I know better.  
I am really proud of my children.  One went to school during the summer to supplement his education and passed a class at Blended Learning Academies.  He completed a science class that he would have had to take as an upper classman.  He did a wonderful job and met some friends too.  
I really enjoyed the learning environment at Blended Learning Academy.  A bonus also was that he was able to play basketball before and after school.
My daughter also had activities.  I am proud to say that I am a band mom.  Sorry that I will have to pull back on all of my other volunteer activities.  I must make sure that my two teenagers get as much of my time as they can.  They are both in high school. 
I cannot even believe that I am saying that.  A mixture of bittersweet and disbelief fill my heart.  They have turned out to be totally different people than I expected but my expectations were unrealistic.  
Parents need to just guide their children towards what they think a child would enjoy doing.  They should also be supportive when the child is not performing to their standards.  It is our responsibility as parents to give them the tools and let them decide.  
I wanted my children to love music as much as I did but that did not work out.  My oldest is twenty-four.  While in middle school he took lessons.  He carried around a saxophone for a while but he left it on the bus a few times and the stress of trying to find it was enough for me after so many close calls.  My daughter used to love to sing but I do not think that people understand when it no longer becomes fun for the child it is up to them.  You can’t continue to make a child take ballet so that she can fulfill your past dream of being a famous ballerina.  
Our dreams are our dreams.  Our children need to be able to create their own.  I am not saying that this is a perfect solution.   There are some children that need to be encouraged and pushed harder to reach the next goal.
I was sad when my daughter told me that she did not want to sing.  However, I respected that.  I did not know in 9th grade she would play volleyball and tennis, become the treasurer of her class and still sing for some events.  She still managed to be on the dean’s list.  
Summer of 2016 was the year dominated by marching band practice, visiting friends and being there.  I am proud to say after all of that, I went to my first football game.  My hard work included waiting for practice to end and all of the driving.  I am smiling while I am writing this.  Parents who have more than two children, I am proud of you too.  
I was so excited watching my daughter with her color guard flag doing her thing!  She in that very moment personified everything that I wanted her to be:  confident, proud and beautiful.  
While she struggled between weather or not to play volleyball, I saw her weighing her options carefully as she oftentimes also talks to herself.  Well, I can hear that too.  
While her school team did not win, I actually had a great time.  I thought about my days as a child in Brooklyn, NY, listening to my father play with his drumsticks.  I did not know anyone else who had a parent who played the drums in the Army.  Marching band music was a part of my childhood.  I had a moment as I watched my daughter twirl and catch her flag.  I invited a friend who discovered that his sister’s grandchild was in the band so that made me really happy.  The smile on her face when she saw him in the crowd was priceless.
To my children and all of the other children out there, no matter what life throws at you, at least try to catch it.  If you cannot at that moment, keep trying until you do.  There will be something in the world for you.  Your parents cannot live your life but try to do the best to provide you with the tools. Do your best at everything you try.  
Best of luck this school year! 
Love people,
Rina Risper
Printed in the September 4, 2016 - September 17, 2016 edition

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