They call him Mr. Reeve… which is SO strange to me because my husband has been the only Mr. Reeve in my life for the last twenty plus years (I know what some of you are thinking but no, his dad was Dr. Reeve.) However the kids in Will’s fourth grade class at Dunbar Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee don’t know or care about any other Mr. Reeve. (Their loss honey, their loss!)
I’m pretty proud of that oldest son of mine. He has done some amazingly wonderful things in his 23 years and the latest one is teaching at an inner city elementary school. His first day with students just happened to be the day Matt and I were in Memphis to pick up Luke (who spent his summer working at SOS in Memphis for the second summer.) I can’t tell you how excited we were to be able to go see Will in his classroom and hear all about how his first day went. Naturally, Luke and Matt were a bit unruly acting… no different than the nine year olds that Will spent his day with… yeah, no surprise there.
I found it a bit surreal to see my son, who just yesterday set off for kindergarten, in HIS classroom, in what has become HIS city, fulfilling HIS dream. Will is a realist and no, everyday has not been all glitter, unicorns and rainbows. But for every bad day there have been two great days. He’s learning that just because you are called to be somewhere, it is not necessarily going to be easy. There are always going to be challenges and trials but hopefully those are going to be followed by victories.
So to you my firstborn son. Congratulations on entering the real world as a gainfully employed adult. By the way, you now get to pay all your own bills… including your cell phone and car insurance. What? Oh, you are quite welcome son!!
Yes, I realize I have been silent for some time… I’ve kind of been half too busy, half too lazy. Keeping it real people, keeping it real.
Here’s the thing, all my boys are typically home for May so all I do is focus on spending time with them along with doing all that I can to assure that Tim’s end of the school year goes well. This year Luke and Matt were home all of May and we all traveled to Memphis with a nice stopover in Nashville for Will’s grad school graduation. We finished off May by heading to Charleston to see our beautiful niece Rachel marry Robert and y’all it was all a blast!
So before I turned around it was June and I was shipping off Luke to Memphis to work his second summer at Service Over Self (check it out here, a GREAT ministry!) and Matt off to Greenville to serve on Furman’s summer orientation staff. Obviously, Tim and I then headed off on a few vacations and adventures of our own.
So as July hits I assure you, you will get tired of hearing from me! Enjoy your fourth and stay cool….
We had a family wedding this past weekend in Charleston that was fabulous! For those of you that are not part of the Reeve or Walton family… I’m sorry for you because we are a fun wedding bunch!! Just to give you a taste Go here
Yes, that is my middle son Luke and yes ladies, he is single….
I could write a nice long rambling blog about everything Luke did while studying abroad in France but why? Especially when he says it best:
To spend even a week in a European country is an experience of a lifetime, but four months? Well, according to my calculations, that’s the experience of 16 lifetimes, and that’s exactly what I did during my spring 2014 semester. Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was more like 13 countries. I lived in the small French city of Metz, right where Germany, Luxembourg, and France all meet: the perfect launching point for a semester filled with the works of masters such as Michelangelo and van Gogh, the ruins of ancient empires such as Greece and Rome, and the fine wines of France and Italy. I have walked the Cliffs of Mohr, skied the Swiss Alp’s Matterhorn, and been amazed by Gaudi’s masterpiece: the Sagrada Familia. From Dublin to Athens, Barcelona to Amsterdam, and all in between, I have seen more in my 21 years than a lot get to see in a lifetime. But as I look back and the reality of it all sets in, I realize that, more than the places, the people I met were the ones that changed me. They are the ones that, in some way, will stay with me forever. I’ll always remember the five Scots that helped me take Dublin by storm, and Ashley, the Australian who I toured the underground tapas world of Barcelona with, and then the Nigerian street vendor from Athens who sold me the bracelet I still wear, and his story of how poverty has defined his life. I’ve seen the best that Europe has to offer and tasted some of the best food in the world, but it took me over 15,000 miles of travel and a semester abroad to discover what is life’s greatest potential for adventure: the human race.
It seems like just a week ago he was going to pre-school for the first time. How is it possible that he’s now graduated from Georgia Tech with his undergraduate and Union University with his Masters? Oh yeah, and he has a job… a real job. You know the kind with benefits, a 401K, retirement plan, insurance and responsibilities. Better him than me!! I kid, I kid. Super proud of this guy.
After getting his undergraduate degree, Will knew that he wanted to get his masters in Urban Education because let’s be honest, he has been drawn to Memphis Tennessee since the first summer he went there with our church for a mission trip (I blame you Roy McVeigh!) Teaching has also been on his radar since he was in middle school and since he worked as a tutor at GT it just solidified his love for teaching (it also convinced him he wanted to work with younger kids… ones who weren’t quite as stubborn as college athletes.) Will found a graduate program much like Teach for America, only in our opinion better, called Memphis Teach Residency (read about it here and feel free to support them as well!) The beauty of this program is that they mentor and coach you through your one year graduate program and then see you through your first three years of teaching. Who wouldn’t love someone to walk you through your first few years as an adult?!?!?! Great program full of great people and Will is blessed to be a part.
You know I’m proud of all three of my boys but I feel a bit sorry for the younger two. Not only did Will graduate from GT in four years, with honors, he has now graduated from grad school and he’s been financially independent for almost a year… and he’s not quite 23. Yep, he’s set the bar pretty high. Good luck with that Luke & Matt…
It was a long Saturday partly because Tim likes to add an hour or four buffer just in case there are any snafus when heading to the airport and partly because we had waited for this day for SO LONG!!! We picked up Matt on the way and thank goodness had enough time to eat at Chuy’s (if you’ve never been to Chuy’s then I’m sorry for you… when you go, try the creamy jalapeno dip. You WILL thank me.) There was very little traffic and we made good time until we got almost to the pick-up area at the airport in Charlotte.
I will warn you because there was no one to warn us. If you are picking someone up from the Charlotte Douglas Airport, then good luck because there is NO hourly, daily or long term parking for what looks like it’s going be the next hundred or so years (maybe that’s a slight exaggeration… maybe.) They have torn down all parking areas and are in the process of rebuilding them in the form of a fifty story parking deck (or so it seemed to my untrained eye.) In the meantime, you have two options: park and shuttle in from Virginia to pick up your loved one or simply time it just right and pick them up right outside baggage claim (of course you will need NASA like precision with your timing.) Now maybe it’s just me, but typically when I go to pick up someone from the airport, I am going because it is easier to be picked up than to spend hours being shuttled out to your car once you get back. Well, apparently the master planner at Charlotte Airport didn’t know that (now you do and you’re welcome!) We arrived with about fifteen minutes to wait thinking that was the perfect window. Nope! Thanks to the lack of parking, you are only allowed to stop for 42 seconds before they make you move on and you have to pull back around… which sounds simple until you drive on and realize that the pull around loop is approximately a fifteen minute ride… if you are the only car in a fifty mile radius. Sweet Tim dropped Matt and me off to wait while he left on what felt like a three hour tour. It was slightly ridiculous and I’m tired just reliving this people!
I told myself I wasn’t going to cry… I lied to myself. There was just no helping it. When you haven’t seen your son in 126 days, you just are overwhelmed when you finally get to hug him. I have to say, there is no sweeter feeling than seeing that handsome mug across the baggage claim area and knowing he is finally home. So yeah, I cried just a little and didn’t even care who it bothered. Of course the first order of business once he got back to Augusta was food… Jimmy Johns to be specific. One “Gargantuan” sandwich later, all is right with the world.
It’s the little things that drive me insane. For instance, there currently is a credit card commercial where they swipe the credit card the wrong way over and over and over and over! Let’s be real, I use enough credit cards to know the strip is on the top of the card and every time I see this I find myself thinking, “You can’t even show your card being used properly and I’m supposed to trust you with all my personal information?? Ummm, no thanks!” Seriously people, someone should be fired over that. This company is asking me to trust them yet they don’t pay enough attention to detail to show their product being used the right way. It just bothers me y’all and yes, I know I have issues. Even when watching a movie or TV show, when an incorrect edit happens it drives me crazy. Mainly because I know NOTHING about movie or TV interworking so if I notice the miscue it must be bad. Tim and I were watching a show the other night when I noticed that the lights in a building behind the guys talking were on, then off, then on, then off. I started thinking, “Maybe that’s going to come in to play. I bet the flashes are a signal to let us know where the bad guys are. I should pay attention to this.” Yeah, no that was not it at all. Again just somebody sleeping on the job. But the worst part is that I totally missed the conversation going on in front of the building because the lights had my full attention. It was like SQUIRREL! I was totally distracted. Guess I’m seeing where Luke gets that quirky trait from. And all this time I thought Tim was the one from the questionable gene pool…
Yes, he is still in France; yes, he cut off the curls; yes, he’s seeing the world and loving every minute of it; no, as of right now he hasn’t lost anything other than his phone and one credit card (that being nothing short of a small miracle people); yes, we hear from him often.
Sunday afternoon has become my favorite time of the week. Why you ask? Because that’s when Luke Facetime’s us to let us know how his week has been. (And can I just be honest? I want to be Luke when I grow up.) Every time he calls I am reminded of the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh the Places We’ll Go” because people, he has done some goin! I won’t bore you with the details but thus far he has been to Paris, Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Amsterdam, Prague, Belgium, and I’m sure I’ve left some off. The places he has gone are great, but seeing him re-live those trips every Sunday when he tells us about them?? Priceless!! There are things we do for our children that bring us far more joy than it will ever bring them and that to me is the greatest part of parenting. I’m thankful we can give him this opportunity but I won’t lie… I’m ready for him to get home. It’s one thing to have Will in Memphis and Matt in Greenville where I can always road trip but a whole other thing to have Luke a very long plane ride away. He’ll be home in just over thirty days and I have to tell you, people, I will be one happy mama.
Not sure where I first heard this phrase but boy did is it spot on! The boys were coming in for winter break, all of us headed to a holiday family wedding in Athens, then on to visit family in Carrollton, Christmas was only days away, lastly sending Luke off to France for four months. (We all see where this is headed don’t we?!?!) I don’t even remember where in midst of all this it happened but at some point I… just… lost… it. You know the kind of losing it where you are staring at yourself from outside your body thinking “whoa… that chick is INSANE!” and then you suddenly realize that chick is you… it’s not pretty people, not pretty at all.
You should know that while I’m not a type A personality who has to pack six weeks in advance, I do think if you are leaving the country for four months it is important to begin thinking about what to pack at least five days out. Now hubby would say you need to be packed at least ten days out… this may or may not have contributed to the basket drop. Just sayin. Anyway, Luke really did think it would be fine to wait until the day before he left to begin organizing his stuff. I mean it will wash and pack itself and it’s not like airlines have a weight or bag limit, right?!? (yes that was my sarcasm font right there!) So between all the disorganization, travel woes, holiday preparations and the emotions of sending off part of my heart to France, I had my basket dropping moment. BAM!! It was on the floor and everything was just rolling all over the place.
But the good news is I think when my head spun around for the third time, Luke realized that maybe we were serious about getting things done ASAP. After that I was fine… poor Tim may never be the same again but hey, we all have our moments… sometimes I just can’t hide my crazy. Living the truth people, just living the truth.
Luke is heading off to France TODAY to study abroad next semester. Yes, this is the child that typically loses his phone once a day. Forgets to charge his phone so that it goes dead making it much harder to find. Leaves his wallet at home when he goes out with friends or on a date. Feeling my pain now?!?! Seriously, I take comfort in the fact that he is heading to Georgia Tech’s Lorraine France campus. Meaning the professors all speak English and his classes are real classes (i.e. they apply to his degree so he is not just wasting time.) Honestly, what is there to worry about? He is a great student and has been on the dean’s list every semester of college… while majoring in engineering at Georgia Tech (not an easy feat people!!) So truthfully I know he will not only have a blast but be diligent about his studies… still it’s so very hard to imagine putting part of my heart on a plane and know that I will not get a hug or see his handsome mug in person for at the least four months.
I asked Luke, “How am I going to put you on a plane and send you off to France for four months?” In true Luke fashion he said, “You’re going to hug and kiss me first.”
For him it is a BIG adventure. For me? An exercise in letting go, putting my words into action, allowing my son to grow up. Heart wrenching.