Ups and downs

Today, much more than most days, is going to be one of those days of both highs and lows: today marks Li’s 8th birthday (up) and Ian’s departure (down) as he heads back to Norman at the end of his holiday break and for his final semester of college before graduating.

A Letter

letter-20141224Li (age 7-soon-to-be-8) left a letter for Santa Claus, transcribed verbatim here:

Dear Santa,

I would like 4 things for Christmas.

1. a real kitten that has a nice percenalety.
2. Pokemon cards
3. evrey thing that has to do with How to train your dragon
4. some surprises.

I have tried to be my very best self this year.

Sincerly
Li

P.S. Check off the kitten if you gave me one so I can know and unwrap or fish it out of my stocking so it does not sufficate. Ian would like a kitten also.

Li

Time for a talk

Li turned 7 years old this past Monday, and based on something I saw Friday afternoon, it would seem that the time has come for one of those important father/daughter “talks”. I was doing some volunteer computer tech support at Li’s school on Friday afternoon. She had left her research paper on Argentinean pampas deer open in MS Word on one of the computers in her classroom. (She had saved it — of which I was proud — something not all of the students in her class have apparently learned, based on my observations.) One of her teachers found me sobbing uncontrollably under the computer table… Li’s entire paper is set in … [gasp] Comic Sans. The horror, the shame… I was so unprepared.

While MS Word probably does not deserve anything better, Comic Sans is a horrible thing to do to Argentina, pampas deer, and research papers. Yes, even 1st grade research papers.

(This entry is based on a Facebook post I started on January 10, 2014. Most of it is true, aside from the “sobbing uncontrollably under the computer table” bit.)

Here we go…

All of these are combining — as they typically do each year — to pile on a good case of the January blues:

  • Li’s birthday is tomorrow. She turns 7. How is this even remotely possible? I can’t believe how fast this past year and, really, all of her life have raced past.
  • Ian heads back to Norman tomorrow morning for the upcoming start of the spring semester of his fourth year of college. Has he really been home for three weeks already? It’s never been easy on any of us when he leaves but the past couple departures have really been hard; this one will be, too.
  • Li goes back to school tomorrow. She’s really excited about this and about her birthday, but also really struggling with Ian’s impending departure. Yesterday was not a good day for her, and the internal tension between her excitement and her sadness was a big part of it.
  • I go back to work on Tuesday (the day after tomorrow), after having been off work for a full three weeks.

Up early…

Up early this morning to get Ian up early (never an easy feat, and sometimes not all that pleasant) to get him to the airport. He’s headed back to Norman and school today, leaving a noticeable hole here at home. It has been wonderful having him home for the break between semesters and for the Christmas holidays.

We’re definitely seeing that as Li gets older, she misses him more each time he leaves, which makes these transition days as and after he departs even harder for all of us.