Category Archives: University of Texas at San Antonio

Feathers A-Flying

The brothers (ages 4 and a half and almost 8)

The brothers (ages 4 and a half and almost 8)

Throwback Thursday has me thinking about life as an empty nester. It’s been almost 12 weeks since both of our sons flew the coop, the older one to finish his senior year at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the younger one to start his college journey at Sam Houston State.

So how has it been for dear, old mom, who is home alone during the day for the first time in almost 22 years? Lonely, my friends. Maytag man lonely. Oh, how I miss my sons!

The boys on their play cottage in 1999 with their  Pokémon collection

The boys on their backyard play cottage in 1999 with part of their Pokémon collection

What’s been hardest for me is that my younger son usually ignores me unless he needs homework help or someone to talk to while he drives through McDonald’s at night. Yes, my little sweetie who I’ve always been so close to! Before he left for SHSU, he told me straight out that he would not be like his older brother, who at least texts me good morning and good night every day (and usually quite a bit more).

I understand that he wants to assert his independence and become his own man, but, as I’ve told him many times this fall, caring is not a crime. There’s no off switch to your emotions when you’re a parent.

I hate the news blackout after 18 years of being in the loop. It stinks, and it hurts my heart.

Older brother helps his younger sibling with his homework 10 years ago.

Older brother helps his younger sibling with his homework 10 years ago.

My strategy has been to be patient and relish the communication opportunities that I do get. The kid does call and Skype more often than his older brother. Plus I listen intently while he and his father chat (he talks to him more), while throwing helpful suggestions for questions to ask (which the Mister usually fails to use . . . frustrating! Guys!!).

Fortunately for me, we’ve gotten to see our sons this semester, our younger son more often because he’s closer. My older son hasn’t returned home since he left in late August. That’s about to change, though, because he’s driving in from San Antonio tonight (he has no classes tomorrow)! When little bro heard about it, he also decided to come visit the old folks at home.

I’ll try not to make the grill too hot for him!

Continuing Education

Comb needed STAT for two of us!

Comb needed STAT for two of us!

This is what I learned during a loooooong day-into-night trip to and from San Antonio yesterday to visit our older son:

1) A lot about Tommy James (and a little about the Shondells) on the way there (he hosted his own show) and back (Cousin Brucie talked to him) on Sirius XM’s Sixties on 6. It was fascinating! Children behave!!

2) We always always always love seeing our sons! It was such a boost to my heart to spend time with my sweet, blue-eyed boy for the first time in seven weeks. Skyping simply isn’t enough for this mama bear.

3) We’re looking forward to our UTSA collegian graduating in May and moving back to the Houston area, so we don’t have to endure those long car rides, though.

4) Despite all the fun the Mister and I had harmonizing (well, to our tin ears) to all that fab and groovy 1960s music, I did contemplate divorcing him when he ordered the St. Louis-style ribs at Tony Roma’s after I told him not to. He knows how this lifelong Cubs fan feels about the Cardinals!

5) Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger make a good team (it’s hard to understand both of them) in “Escape Plan,” the movie we saw with our son. Yes, there was plenty of bad language and a ridiculous amount of violence. But the story was good, and we loved the ending.

6) Finally, it’s very tough to take a selfie plus two on my iPhone 5S and properly center it (as the evidence above proves). As my clever son quipped, “That’s why they call it a ‘selfie’ and not a ‘triofie!'”

Miss you already, kiddo!

A Surprise in the Mail

Unbelievable!

Unbelievable!

Need proof that time does actually fly by? This was an envelope we received in the mail the other day.

Yep, my older son will graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May!

Very official

Very official-looking

When we dropped him off in late August of 2010, four years seemed like an eternity. It’s almost surreal that our older son will reach this important milestone in a matter of months.

One more semester. Only 12 more hours (four classes) left until he has his marketing degree. What a wonderful achievement for him!

The Mister and I would like to make one little change to the wording on that envelope, though:

“That day you’ve been waiting for . . . off your parents’ payroll!”

Hope that’s not just wishful thinking!

Fill ’Er Up 2!

That ceiling light is bad news for photography.

That ceiling light is bad news for photography.

My heart was filled to overflowing this weekend. It started by Skyping with my younger son Thursday night . . .

I live for that smile!

I live for that smile!

. . . and ended with some overdue, virtual face-to-face time with my older son last night.

My UTSA senior always prefers texting us, but every now and then it’s important to actually see that he’s doing fine instead of just reading about it.

Getting to look at those beautiful blue eyes, handsome face, and cute smile? Definitely a bonus!

A Little Traveling Music, Please

Still can’t resist my older son’s beautiful blue eyes!

Still can’t resist my older son’s beautiful blue eyes!

The Mister and I pulled on our traveling pants (big pockets for lots of snacks) Saturday and yesterday and put about 560 miles on the Honda Odyssey.

Our goal? To take our sons out to lunch at their individual colleges.

Result? Mission accomplished!

Our older son was first on our list. Saturday we drove the 190 miles to San Antonio, picked him up, and went to see “We’re the Millers,” which was surprisingly good despite the awful, woeful, disgusting abundance of foul language, even by Jennifer Aniston (you’re better than that, Jen!). Then we enjoyed lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and chilled for a bit at his nice apartment.

Love that Sirius XM!

No commercials rock

Finally, the Mister and I hugged our senior collegian goodbye (we probably won’t see him until Thanksgiving) and made the three-hour trip back home. We lightened the load by attempting to harmonize to songs played on Sirius XM’s the Bridge station. Usually putting that capital L to our foreheads, though, is the Mister’s inability to remember most of the lyrics despite his fine singing voice coupled with my out-of-tune pipes despite knowing most of the words.

Our finest moment? Our rendition of Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” Even Simon Cowell might have been impressed! And, yes, we were 1 for what seemed like 236 songs. At least we weren’t shut out!

RJ and the kid

RJ and the kid

Yesterday we pretty much repeated the procedure, but without the movie. Fortunately, Huntsville is only 88 miles from our house; it takes about 90 minutes to get there. We picked up our younger son and his roommate, RJ, at their dorm and made the scene at Chili’s, which was their choice.

Yum!

Yum!

Naturally, the kid needed a molten dessert pick-me-up. It doesn’t take much to raise his spirits, thank goodness. After a stop at Walmart and a small disc golf course to play a few holes, we returned to Sam Houston Village. There we deposited the boys, gave our freshman a hug (we’ll see him a few times this month thanks to disc golf and SHSU football games), and then it was back to our horrible harmonizing.

Whew! Glad we don’t have to labor on Labor Day!!

A New Chapter Begins

Items ready to be loaded into the Highlander

Items ready to be loaded into the Highlander

At about 10 a.m. today, something unusual happened to me.

I officially became an empty nester.

This is an easy move.

Lots of room remains.

We moved my younger son into his dorm at Sam Houston State Saturday. This morning his older brother and I loaded up the Toyota Highlander, and then he left to drive to UTSA.

Hard to believe he’s a college senior!

Hard to believe he’s a college senior!

UTSA begins classes Wednesday, so there was no need for my #1 boy to rush back. He’s living in the same apartment, so he easily can move himself in. This is the first year we haven’t helped him transport his stuff; I’ll admit that I won’t miss the three-hour trek to and then from San Antonio.

But, of course, I will miss my clever, handsome, blue-eyed boy! We’ve had a great summer together, and it’s always hard seeing him return to college.

Drive safely!

Drive safely!

As I watched him drive away, one thought popped into my head:

There goes half of my blogging material!

The State of the Summer

Parking permits are ready to be used.

Parking permits are ready to be used.

Now that we’re into August, it’s time to sum up how our summer is going in one word:

Yikes!

In exactly 20 days, we will move my younger son into his dorm at Sam Houston State. The next day, his older brother will drive to UTSA to start his senior year.

Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

A few school supplies for the kid

A few school supplies for the kid

I’ve slowly but surely been gathering things the kid will need in his dorm. Every time I add an item to his list, I have to smile when I remember how my freshman roommate Jan brought a popcorn popper, and I toted my beloved suitcase record player to our tiny dorm room at the University of Illinois. Methinks my son will get by with his dig’s microwave (and small fridge) and iTunes on his iPhone 4S. Easy peasy!

Notice a couple great test grades?

Notice a couple great test grades?

My #2 son is almost finished with his summer school Finite Math class at our local junior college. He’ll have his fourth test Thursday, go to class next Monday to review, and then take the final the following day. Here’s hoping he starts college with an A average!

His older brother continues to use his spreadsheet skills at our box-distribution company. He’s definitely helping the hand that feeds while earning money for college. Love those win-win situations!

Thanks for noticing!

Thanks for noticing!

Before the boys leave the nest, we’ll celebrate my (gulp!) 60th birthday on the 15th. We have special family time planned for the big day. My three guys are my favorite party animals!

We only have three weeks left before our summer ends. I’m sure that the time spent in class, at work, and in doctors’ offices and dentists’ chairs will be forgotten amid the swirl of TopGolf, disc golf, and playing videogames with friends. The boys will go on to new adventures, learning, fun, and, ultimately, graduation.

Meanwhile, the Mister and I will look at each other on August 27 in our quiet house and wonder where life will take us. It might be time to finally grow up!

Today’s the Day!

It’s all about #1!

It’s all about #1! (iPhone 5)

Raspberry lemonade and Sour Patch Kids in my shopping cart can mean only one thing:

My older son will be home this afternoon! He takes his last final of his spring semester this morning, and then San Antonio and UTSA will be in his rear-view mirror.

We can’t wait to see him again!

Bittersweet Reality, Take Two

Almost done!

Almost done!

Last Thursday my younger son registered for his first semester of college classes as he pursues a management degree.

This morning it was his older brother’s turn. For his penultimate semester at the University of Texas at San Antonio. A mere 28 credit hours left until he earns his marketing degree and Electronic Music certificate (like a minor).

It’s an odd-looking schedule, but it’s the one that works.

It’s an odd-looking schedule, but it’s the one that works.

And then #1 will be done! And I once again will be wondering why time flies by so fast when it comes to your precious kids growing and maturing.

Well, unless he moves back in with us!

Bittersweet Reality

Looks like a good schedule.

Looks like a good schedule.

When my older son was a high school senior, he had to wait until he graduated and then attended summer orientation at UTSA to officially enroll.

But Sam Houston State is unusual in that incoming freshmen can register for classes early, as long as they’ve met with an advisor.

So my younger son was able to lock in his SHSU schedule for the fall yesterday afternoon. It definitely alleviates the pressure of scrambling for classes this summer.

But it also brings the empty-nest reality front and center for me. As always, I’m thrilled for my son that he continues to move forward with his life. Still, I can’t help but wish for time to stop rushing by so fast!