Here and Gone

Our youngest kid finished up his freshman year at Indiana University a couple of days ago. He came home yesterday. I use the term “came home” very loosely. I saw him for all of five minutes. He’s got other priorities now. Off to see his girlfriend. Home for about five minutes to change clothes, then off to play volleyball with his friends. Then to a friend’s house to watch a movie and hang out. This old man was long asleep when he came rolling home.

He’s already made plans to spend Memorial Day Weekend with his Hoosier friends from Indianapolis. They’re going to the Indy 500.

I feel like he’s already IN the Indy 500 – racing here, racing there… rarely making a pit stop at home. It’s part of the growth process, I know. But it’s still tough when you become a bit player in your baby boy’s life. He’s more “gone” than “here.”

The child born at dawn,
By evening has moved on, grey and gone

Buffalo Tom “Here I Come”

I know life is fleeting. I just wish the pace car went a little slower. Instead, I’ll have to cherish the pit stops.

Welcome to the Working Week

Our son Peter starts his first “real job” today. He just left the house a few minutes ago, passport and Social Security card in hand (gotta have those W-9 docs).

The job market’s been tight, and this day has been a long time coming. But it’ll be merely a blip on the radar over the course of his career.

His gig’s at The Cincinnati Insurance Companies (plural). They’ve been around for a long time and are well-respected. Peter could be there 20 months or 20 years. Doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this is just another step on the road to “adulting.”

You have your family, your school friends… and then your work friends. Some of the folks he meets in the days and weeks to come could become people he stays in touch with 40 years from now. That’s pretty cool. Oh, and earning a salary is a nice perk too.

Welcome to the working week!

Oh, The Drama!

I’ve always had a face for radio. But my first cousin once removed is a star of stage and screen!

That’s Erika Henningsen (my first cousin once removed!) on the right. She has the lead role in Hazbin Hotel, a new animated series now streaming on Prime. She plays… the princess of Hell!

She also played “Young Gloria” in Girls5Eva – all episodes of that series are now available on Netflix.

And she originated the role of Cady Heron in Mean Girls on Broadway.

(I think that’s her future hubby Kyle Selig on the left… )

Oh, and she made her Broadway debut as Fantine in Les Miserables. NBD.

Erika posted this on Instagram last week, on World Theater Day.

Acting isn’t an easy profession. There’s plenty of drama before you even get to the drama (or comedy, or romance, or…). I’m glad Erika learned early on that you need to be resilient, and to separate your work worth from your self-worth:

“Constant rejection became a thing that was just inevitable,” Henningsen said of the cycle of auditions. “It is inevitable in this business because there is so much job turnover. I think I got used to that much faster than I anticipated, because I realized that rejection has nothing to do with my identity or my sense of purpose; it just is for that one job. And the sooner you can get over it, the sooner you can move on.”

Erika in this 2018 interview in W magazine

I’m thrilled about Erika’s ongoing success. But I’m even happier that she has an attitude of gratitude. Heck, she could even have a happy day in hell…


Now Be Thankful

The contemplation above is from Seth Godin’s The Thanksgiving Reader.

It contains many more pearls of wisdom that could come in handy tomorrow.

The full PDF is here. Feast your eyes upon it before the feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

North, to Alaska

This summer, the whole fam-damily went on a two-week jaunt to the 49th State. We flew to Vancouver first – by way of L.A., with a long layover. In fact, the layover was so long that we left the airport and toured SoFi Stadium.

Then we spent a few days in Vancouver, a city I’d always heard great things about and wanted to visit. It did not disappoint.

Next was boarding a cruise ship for a seven-day journey to Alaska via the Inside Passage.

We made stops in Juneau, Sitka, Icy Strait Point, Skagway and ended in Seward. We found a fun hike at every stop. In Juneau, we saw “bubble net feeding” by a group of humpback whales. Glaciers galore! The occasional moose sighting. You know, your typical, everyday sights.

After an extra day in Seward, we went to Denali for a few days.

The term “majestic” doesn’t do Alaska justice (neither do my photos). And thanks to our cruise ship stops, we were logging 20K steps a day (not enough to offset gorging on food all day long, but it made us feel slightly less guilty about doing so).

But to be honest, the best part was just spending time with the whole family. With Peter graduating college, Andrew bound for IU in a few weeks and Leah heading back to Scotland, there might not be many more summers when the entire family is in Cincinnati. The trip’s price tag was high, but the experience was priceless.

Passing the first college test

I took our youngest child, our baby boy, to freshman orientation at Indiana University over the past few days.

On Saturday evening, he stayed in the hotel room with me. Sunday, we had some “classes” together on campus during the morning, then the students and parents split for different sessions, reuniting at dinner. We walked around campus for a bit after that, then he went to the student-only evening festivities, and stayed in a dorm room that evening. Yesterday we attended different sessions before meeting up around noon to head home.

The campus is gorgeous. The business school is top-notch. But the most important part of the trip was Sunday evening, when we parted ways. He wound up meeting and hanging out with a kid from Philly and a kid from Chicago. They stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. Just like the college kids do.

College is about expanding your horizons. His high school was diverse, but there were no kids from Philly or Chicago there. Soon he’ll be around 9,000 fellow freshmen from all over – East Coast, West Coast, Midwest… big cities and small towns. Over the next four years, out of that batch of 9,000, he’ll meet a handful of kids that will wind up becoming his best friends for life.

In less than a month, our baby boy will be moving into a dorm room again. Only this time it won’t be for a single evening. It’ll be for days and weeks on end.

So this entire trip was a test. A test for me. To help me practice letting go.

I passed, but barely.