Friday, June 03, 2011

The End of School -- Age 8, and Age 27

Quote of the Day -- An Instruction Manual
Book Reviews -- My To-Read List

The past two weeks has closed the doors on two educational milestones, both completely at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Zack, who is eight, finished 2nd grade.  Colin, Rick's middle son, completed his Ph.D. in Physics at Yale.

First Colin.  I have always described Colin as "mutant smart".  I mean, seriously, folks.  Let's examine this.

He made straight A's through his first twelve years of school.  He finished undergrad in three years with a double major in Math and Physics -- again, straight A's.  And on he went to Yale, working on Neutrino Physics and traveling back and forth to Fermi Lab doing things Rick and I (neither of us stupid people, if you don't count my locking keys in my car) could understand.  I urge you to read his acknowledgements page of his dissertation -- he has a dry sense of humor and likens a math program to Dr. House, opines that he's the kind of Doctor that doesn't mean he can ask you to drop your pants, and chides his co-workers on their bad movie taste.  He's an awesome guy, and has helped Zack grow.  And I cried at his last line.

Rick is, as Zack announced yesterday to my bark of laughter, an "epic failure" at taking photos.  So I only have one of Dr. Colin (and friends) to show you, and one of where his ceremony took place (in Latin).

Dr. Colin in the center

Yale Ceremony Space

Now on to Zack.  Yep, there's nineteen years between Zack and Colin, but you'd never know when they play Little Big Planet together or put together a particularly difficult LEGO kit.  We call certain LEGO kits "Colin Kits" because Zack and I both know that Mommy and Daddy know their limitations and putting things together just isn't something we can brag about.  IKEA often bests us.

The end of school brought about the 2nd Grade Play, and Zack tried, he really did, but being up on a stage is just not going to be his thing right now.  It's just not.  Thankfully, his teachers understand him, and have been working with him, and rather than just throw their hands up in the air and stick him in the audience, they said he could be the Lighting Technician.  So Zack raised and lowered the lights whenever the other kids came forward or back with costume changes.

I stood nearby, just in case he needed some extra support, but he did just fine!  He really loved the Behind the Scenes thing, and when it comes to plays that require set design, I'll bet that will be something he'll dive right into.

At the end of the play, he sat on the stage and let me take his picture.  I think this is the picture of a happy, contented boy who loved being included.  BIG Kudos to his teachers.

Whether you're eight or twenty-seven, milestones are important.  How they're treated, how they're remembered, and how they're celebrated are important to a person's lifetime Book of Memories in their brain.  Colin came home the following weekend and along with his older brother, Ryan, we had a family weekend with lots of grill time and a bout of croquet on our lumpy bumpy lawn.  Zack got to celebrate his end of school with our annual End of Summer Mall Jaunt.  And both were told how pleased and proud we are of both of them, for so many reasons, and in so many ways.

Your goal for today -- remember a milestone in your life that you're particularly proud of, and celebrate it again.  YES, again!  Because, hey.... milestones are hard won, and deserve more than one act of rejoicing.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.


  1. Beautiful post Lori! Love it!

  2. Zach is becoming quite a handsome boy. Thanks for sharing the accomplishments.

  3. I can't believe Colin is finished. Wow. It seems like just yesterday he was finishing undergrad. His acknowledgements page is awesome.

    And I love that Zack was in charge of lights. Neither of my girls likes being up on stage either, so I understand his anxieties about it.

    Looking at the photos, it really struck me how much Big Brother and Little Brother resemble each other.

  4. They sound like amazing young men.
    Good job!

    Wonderful post.
    Thank you

  5. Sincere congrats to both of them!!!!!!!!

  6. Awesome, well written post! Congratulations to both of your sons!

  7. Great opportunity for Zack - its fun to be behind the scenes. He looks like he is beaming and that's a good thing. Congrats to big brother too!

  8. Congratulations To Dr. Colin and to Zach. Theater always needs a good tech crew. (One of Ernest's proudest moments was being the youngest child his drama teacher ever had on tech crew---and Zach has him beat by several years!)

  9. Congratulations to Colin - what an incredible achievment. I should say Dr. Anderson! :-)
    And it's great to see Zack end the school year with a smile. I know there's been many ups and downs and it's hard to believe school's out for summer (at least in MD!).

  10. hey gorgeous, love this post...milestones are something we all live by! Who would be without them {good or bad!}

    LOVE the pic of Zack sat at the edge of the can def see it in his eyes! Such a cutie too! So glad he got to participate, undertaking something that's equally as important as the acting! ;o)


    hello gorgeous xxx

  11. Congratulations to the and to you, Mom.

    If Zach continues on that vein, he will have lots of experience and "job security". My daughter is in drama and says that they always need "GOOD TECHS"! Go Zach! Good for his teachers also, great move.

  12. Wow! Congrats on both of these awesome accomplishments. They both look so very proud!
    And I know you are too!
    Enjoy the day!

  13. A lovely read. You have two wonderful milestones...a role model and a young man coming into his own. That Zack's teachers work with his limitations and his desires and found him something productive so that he was included speaks volumes to me. We are all teachers -- some much better at it than others and it fills my heart when I hear a mother speak of her children as you've done and knowing that there are teachers in the world who have what it takes.

  14. Thank you for such a wonderful post, Lori! And congrats to all!

  15. Wow. Just Wow. Those are some awesome milestones and I'm so glad he got to be the lighting tech. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  16. Congratulations, Dr Colin and Zack! Both your achievements are pretty darn impressive.
    I, for one, have no clue what the heck Dr Colin does, as I am not ashamed to admit. Neuro.. what? And I used to be the second- smartest kid in school, which I honoured by jacking in my studies after 3 years and going on to working first in a care home (in Germany) and then, my personal best so far, the bookis (in England). It is so satisfying to see bright young people (8 or 27, no matter) achieving stuff rather than throwing away whatever gifts they are blessed with!
    I always suffered from stage fright, which ultimately caused me to abandon my keyboard lessons. Its so cool that Zack has teachers that support him in what he's capable of doing right now, rather than focusing on what he will be capable of later, when he's good and ready.
    Way to go, matey, you cut a pretty sharp figure there.
    And Dr Colins gap- toothed smile is to die for. You are one lucky girl to have all those amazing guys in your life, Lori!

  17. I's about having each other's back, about celebrating the important things both big and small and all the stuff in between. Mostly it's about love and understanding. Looks like you and your family is doing it pretty good and helping the rest of us bring it home.

    Lovely post today.

  18. Wow Lori, Zack is really growing up, what a great job doing the lighting for the theatre that is a very responsible job, well done Zack!
    Congratulations to both your boys.

  19. What a tribute to your boys, Lori. I can't wait to go read the acknowledgement page. I am so glad you honor them both and celebrate them both.

  20. What a tribute to your boys, Lori. I can't wait to go read the acknowledgement page. I am so glad you honor them both and celebrate them both.

  21. Two big milestones! And both are so impressive. I'm floored by how Zack's teachers understand him enough and care enough to include him in a way that he can handle. Amazing.

    Plus, a Ph.D.? Super impressive! Go Collin!


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