Thursday, April 17, 2014

Little bit of adventure, little bit of prudence

Seriously! I went to school there.
Did I ever tell you about the prank our college class played while studying in Austria for the semester?  Prank is too mellow of a word, it was actually this stunt that ended up being a really bad idea.  Several kids decided they would ‘borrow’ (steal) a horse from a local field and put it in our main classroom overnight.    When students/staff walked into class the next day, they got the surprise of their life.  Sound funny?  It pretty much was.  But, it was also a really bad idea.  The classroom was on the second level of this monastery.  Horses can apparently walk up stairs just fine, but down is not a possibility.  The horse had to be tranquilized and walked through the halls and out a window.  It was pretty cruel to the horse and the owner of the animal was furious.  As administration tried to figure out who did it (sorry Mr. Seidel), several good friends got ‘caught’ breaking some rules and were threatened with expulsion.  The whole thing kind of ended up being a cluster.  And, I’m pretty sure the culprits were never found out.  Wanna hear something?  I was invited to take part in the prank.  I went so far as to begin walking with the students to find out more and join them in the shenanigans with my friend Kellie.  BUT, something stopped me.  I turned to Kellie and said, ‘There is no way if we participate we are going to get away with it, and it doesn’t feel right’.  We turned around and went to bed instead.  Best.Decision.Ever. I know I would not have been able to handle the pressure. I would have turned myself in and it would have had drastic implications to my illustrious academic career.  I am so glad I exercised prudence and caution in that moment.
Photo By Robert Pernett
That's us! At the Grand Canyon
Did I ever tell you about the time I drove to the Grand Canyon in the back of a pickup truck with five other people...in a weekend?  In college, we were pretty known for spontaneous trips.  My good buddy Jay and I joked with our parents that we needed something to top our crazy trip to Niagra Falls.  My dad said (in Jest) “next thing we know you guys will be driving to the Grand Canyon”!  Well, we thought that was an awesome idea.  Gathering a few people and being led by the adventurous Paul Coakley, we all hopped in his pick up truck and drove across country one weekend to see the Grand Canyon.  We drove through the night.  We ran out of gas, had our brakes go out, had several flat tires (including one so shredded it's amazing we didn't crash), and ate donuts that tasted strangely like the gasoline we dumped on them.  It was an incredible trip.  We made to the Canyon in the morning and spent 12 wonderful hours exploring.  We found a little chapel that miraculously happened to have a priest to say a private Mass for us.  We laughed and felt so alive.  I cannot tell you how awesome the high of driving back to campus was, in the middle of the night, speakers blasting our theme song, ‘Ride on Josephine’ (the name of Paul’s truck).  It was a CRAZY A$$ thing to do, looking back on it now, but I am SO glad we did it.  The memories we created that weekend were some of the most exciting and fun memories I have from college.  I am so glad I, along with five other people, threw caution to the wind and lived in the moment.

Why am I telling you this?  It’s because of an experience we had a few nights ago.  I took the boys and met Aaron after work at one of our local malls to see the Easter Bunny and eat some dinner.  There were those silly little rides that cost $1 and make children happy.  Normally, we are too cheap to put in the coins and our boys just play in them, but this time, my frugal husband splurged big time and actually brought the rides to life.  It was FASCINATING watching my children.
As they become older, their personalities are beginning to show.  

Joey throwing himself a party on one of the rides
Joey is our character.  He is up for adventure.  He is a goofball- he makes people smile and loves to know he is doing so.  He is also reckless.  He’s the one who climbs on things when he shouldn't.  he other day, I came into the kitchen and found he had crawled out of his highchair, on to the tray and over to the kitchen table.  He was sitting, cross-legged throwing things off.  That’s my Joey.  Caution to the wind, and you could tell with these rides.  He was touching all the buttons, getting up from his seat, not at all concerned in the slightest that these rides were moving.  Even the helicopter, rising six feet into the air didn't faze him for a moment.  He’s crazy and he is careless and it makes me both proud and nervous.

Lil’ Aaron, he is different.  He is always up for a good time, but he is deeply aware of his surroundings.  He checks things out first..assesses the situation.  He is by no means a scared little kid, but he uses caution. I am so proud of him, because I can tell when he is challenging himself to do things he is afraid of.  And he never quite says he is scared, or nervous.  His back goes stiff, his eyes start darting and become really wide. 

Note the body language and facial expressions
While Joey ran to the helicopter and couldn't wait to ride it, Lil’ Aaron was suggesting other rides, begrudgingly heading over only when it was obvious he couldn't get out of it.  As the helicopter rose up, he stood straight as a statue, not moving and not smiling.  He didn't hate it, he didn't refuse to ride it, but you could tell he understood danger was involved.  When the ride was over he couldn't wait to get off, but he waited until it ‘touched down’ and stopped completely.  Meanwhile, Joseph was off of his seat before the ride stopped, ready to move on to the next adventure.

And I love them both for it.

Today, while driving to MOPS, I overheard lil’ Aaron say to Joseph, ‘Josey’ (that’s what I call him), ‘I love you SO MUCH’.  And my heart pretty much stopped.

I am SO glad these two have the gift of each other.  I hope as they grow up, Joey pushes lil’ Aaron to do some prudently reckless stuff. I hope they get into just enough trouble to have memories of adventures that will last them a lifetime. I hope Joey gets that twinkle in his eye from time to time, and lil’ Aaron allows himself to let down his guard with his best friend.  But I also pray that Lil’ Aaron leads his brother with good choices.  I pray he keeps Joey out of trouble when he is not properly processing risk.  I pray Aaron is able to caution Joey when they are taking risks that shouldn't be taken, and protects him when he wants to go too far.

I have said many, many times that having the two (three) boys so close in age is REALLY difficult.  So difficult, that at times, I feel like the last three years have been nothing but a whirlwind.  But then I see them, and I watch their personalities emerge… and I know the gift we have given them by giving them each other.  And I pray, so very hard, that they will always ALWAYS look out for one another and be strength for one another when needed. 

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Oh, and John Paul too. But we don’t know what his personality will look like yet!


  1. Ummm, yeah. I heart this post for multiple reasons!

  2. I haven't thought about the horse incident in a LOOOOOONG time! I can't believe there is a picture of it!!! Austria was such a great time in my life. Thanks for the memories!

  3. Oh Mary! The horse! That was a terrible prank gone wrong. You hung out with a real rough crowd at FUS ;-)

    We were just telling or kids about that prank recently, so funny!