The End of Part One

In our house growing up, turning 40 was A Moment.

It was a different time. Back when life expectancy was 60-65, 40 was the beginning of the downhill slide to death. Also, my maternal grandfather died very young and one of my mom’s brothers was convinced he wouldn’t make it to 40 (he did).

I remember my mom being apprehensive about turning 40. She was also incredibly anti-vanity. So if she did obsess about it, she didn’t verbalize a lot of her thoughts on Turning 40. And honestly, I can’t imagine my dad engaged in a long conversation about my mom’s anxiety turning 40.

So intellectually, I felt that turning 40 was supposed to be a big deal. Like, what does it mean to be 40? Previous generations treated 40 like it was “over the hill”, which is weird, because it implied everything after 40 should be easy. You’re going downhill. What is hard about pedaling downhill? Nothing.

But it definitely feels too early to start coasting. Like, I don’t think I’ve done enough to start coasting. But it also feels strange to lean into “forty is the new 30” sentiment. Because honestly, no one knows shit at 30. You think you do, but you don’t. Which makes it even funnier… oh, you thought you knew shui? You’re 30… you literally know nothing. You might as well be Jon Snow with all the shit you don’t know.

So instead of leaning into any of these sentiments: I’m going hard in the paint for 40 being the end of part 1 (and beginning of part 2). It’s nice because it’s open ended; I could have parts 2-5? Or whatever. Also doesn’t have that fatality of being “over the hill”. And I don’t have to kick my own ass after saying “forty is the new thirty” sounding like I’m trying to convince myself (and others) that I am not really depressed by being 40.


Nico turned 10 this year.

It’s so weird. I worry so much about him. I worry about him at 30- I worry that he’ll be depressed and aimless. I worry that nothing will bring him joy or happiness. I worry that he won’t like to do any job or basically have any thing that gets him out of bed every day.

I wonder if I’ll look back on moments during his childhood for proof. Like, “I knew this was going to happen! I worried so much about it! If only we had done __________ differently!”

Something I’m starting to realize as he gets older is that he is his own person. And that soon he’ll be making choices that will have a lot more impact than doing some things differently now.

He is his own person.

That’s weird, right? To think of him as a person separate and distinct from me. Just ten years ago, we were literally bound by flesh. We shared oxygen and blood.

Now he is his own person.

There are so many choices I won’t be able to make for him in the future. Maybe that is good. I mean, how awful would it be to make decisions under the burden of another person’s 40 years of fears, anxiety, and cynicism?

Because he is his own person.

So I’m trying to appreciate and enjoy him for the person he is becoming. It’s cool to see him changing- he is starting to care about how he looks, which is funny. He’s not too old to have idols (or be open about his admiration). He is fairly certain Javy Baez (Cubs’ SS) is the greatest athlete to ever play any sport- but recognizes that there are phenomenal athletes on other teams.

He’s starting to recognize how his actions impact the world around him. A couple of weeks ago, he put a can of soda on the counter so it’s bottom was partially hanging off (a nod to me always re-positioning things further back so he doesn’t knock them off). He looked me dead in the eye and said, “I’m giving mom anxiety right now.”

He is mastering the fine line between sass/humor and disrespect.  Earlier this week, he asked me to homeschool him.  It was a conversation during homework and Dave continued to be incredulous that Nico didn’t just memorize his times tables, because that is literally the easiest thing in the world to do.  I told him, “Absolutely not!  You don’t even know your times tables.  And you’re in fifth grade! I learned mine in 3rd!”  And he laughed, saying, “Easy nerd! I don’t care!” Which is such a funny thing to say.

We spent the week leading up to his birthday on vacation; seeing Cubs v. Brewers with his oldest cousin, aunts and uncles, we camped in Michigan, and went to the Wisconsin Dells for the first time. It was a good time.

Birthday Weekend

Nico’s 6th Birthday Weekend turned out to be pretty fun.  Mike and Gay got in town on Friday morning.  Dave scooped them up and headed to Nico’s last day of camp celebration (read: “talent” show).  His little group ended up doing a little dance, which was fun.  I got it on video- but frankly it was kind of lame.  Nico was in the back corner, so you can’t see him very well.

Saturday was the Ginsa festival.  I had to shoot an event at CrossFit and headed to a birthday party for Jen (good southside friend).  Dave and Nico participated in a judo demonstration-which was pretty sweet.

There was a part of the demonstration where the two boys (there was another one aside from Nico) who each did some throws with their dads.  It was adorable.  They took turns being thrown by their dads. 
And throwing them:
Sunday was Nico’s actual birthday and when we opened most of the presents.  Dave and I ended up getting Nico a big lego set that he has been wanting for a long time (the mega Police Station)- which was a big hit.  We also ended up buying him a bunch of weapons (a bow and arrow, a catapault, and a slingshot).  I’m not sure really, how that happened.  
The birthday boy wanted pigs in a blanket, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate chip cookies for dinner.  No cake for this kid. Which is fitting, I guess- since last year he was obsessed with pineapple upside down cake and this year it is chocolate chip cookies.  Just goes to show how much kids change.  
I can’t believe its been six years.  Like I can, but I can’t.  Every day, Dave and I are blown away by something he says or something he does.  He’s using the word “obviously” a lot lately- which makes me laugh.  He’s growing up fast- he rarely has fits anymore- which is great.  But he’s also starting to understand the world around him a lot more- which is fun.  But it makes me a little sad.  
My boss’s son just graduated from high school this summer- and he has definitely been feeling this. It’s made me think about how parenthood is really just a long goodbye.  Building to the day when you take your kid off to college.  And how they really feel like they are leaving you.  But it’s hard- because you know that it’s time.  And the fact that you are at a place to be able to do that says that you’ve done your job as a parent.  And you know how much they are going to love it.  They just really need you to let them go.  My boss didn’t feel like he was ready.  
I don’t feel like I can ever be ready for that.    
But then there was the trip to the Lego store.  Now, this started a couple of months ago with an email that Nico sent to Dave’s mom saying, “When are you coming up?  Mike (Dave’s dad) and I are going to the Lego store.”  Which is actually a funny thing to say in an email with no greeting.  
At the lego store, Nico ended up with the Mobile Police Command Unit- a big trailer and truck rig that is awesome.  With the station- Nico is well equipped for a while.  I mean, since we aren’t doing what I want to do (which is put Kragl on all of it- but that is apparently not how we play with legos in this establishment).  
Worn out after the LegoStore.   He isn’t too big to snuggle on mom.  

It was a great weekend.  It is always fun to have family in town- and I feel like we are lucky to be at a place where we can offer a place for family to stay.  And that we aren’t working so much we can’t see them.  Its nice that Nico likes his grandparents so much.

Birthday Ski Trip

This weekend, we headed up to Wilmont (in Wisconsin) for skiing  (for Dave’s birthday).  It was a great place to go, because overall, it was pretty mild.  Also, we didnt have to board the dogs anywhere, so that is a bonus.

Nico was pretty much a gem all day.  He listened to his instructors and tried hard.  After he realized that he didnt need to hit the deck all the time, he actually ended up being a not bad little skier.  

We let Nico do a kids’ ski class, which put him on the right track to try the tow rope and the bunny hill.  He hit that hill a bunch of times, by the end, pretty much having the hang of skiing, which was cool. After, we hung out in the lodge with the ipad and let Dave ski some more.  He reported that the lines weren’t that terrible for the 6-7 lifts that were running.  There were some steeper parts, but largely, it was a very comfortable experience for people who hadn’t skied in 10 years.  
We had Cracker Barrel for dinner on the way home.  Even though it was his birthday, Dave humored me and let us have CB, which was okay.  Even though I didn’t eat what I normally would (because I am doing this gym Whole30 challenge.  Funny, when they told me about peer pressure in high school, I just assumed that there would be more booze, sex, and drugs involved.  And less “healthy eating”. )

Nico Turns 5

It’s so weird that Nico is 5. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: it’s disorienting, because it’s hard to remember a time before him. But it’s weird, because it seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital.

We had a pretty fun weekend. Dave’s parents came up- so you know Nico was happy.   Nico requested that “do something special” for his birthday morning. I had big ideas about making a net of balloons and streamers in his doorway so that when he opened his door, all the balloons would fall in. But he still comes in our room sometimes, so I opted out of that. Ultimately, I hid his presents in the house, so he had to start the day off by finding them. This was a pretty big hit. 
I accidentally went a little overboard in the present department. Yikes! Even crazier, Nico requested a pineapple upside down cake for his birthday. When he and Dave went to Louisville a couple of months ago, he had about 3/4 of one and declared it to be really good. So I obliged (it was his birthday after all). It turned out really good and well, it’s long gone. 
Overall it was a very fun weekend.  Nico’s birthday dinner was at Laschatt (our favorite German food restaurant)!! We hit the park several times and Grandma took Nico shoe shopping. Only a few weeks till he’s off to Kindergarten. I can’t believe it. 

Happy Birthday to Dave

So, this weekend was pretty fun.  Dave is in the last week of his big project- so we were trying to stay low key and close to home.  We snuck out to the Y for a workout and a swim on Saturday.  On the way back, we dropped by what is getting to be a favorite place for lunch (East of Edens).  They have a low-carb platter that is basically just a pile of gyro meat and a grilled sausage.  You can’t really beat that.

When we got back to the house, I put Nico down for a nap and began a new knitting project (a hat for me).  

 After nap, Nico and I commenced with the sword fighting.  Now that he’s a bit older, he’s really getting to be fun.

Sunday, was Dave’s birthday.  But he had to work, boooooo!! Dave is pushing hard on this project… Nico has even said a couple of times that he can’t wait for Dave to be done with the book.  
Nico sent the first email from his own email account (I signed him up for a gmail account for a couple of years ago).  We also ordered a pair of bean boots from LL Bean, but they hadn’t arrived yet.  Dave’s hurricane boots finally bit the dust- so we got him a pair.  
After Nico and I ran errands, we headed back to the house for a quick nap.  
Birthday dinner was ribs, german mashed potatoes, and kale chips.  
Our grocery has these gourmet brownies, that were delicious.  In fact, so much so that when I finished Nico’s last night, there was a bit of a fit this morning.  
Other than that, we’re just trying to find a post-holiday routine.  The cars are driving me crazy.  With the first big cold snap, the 4Runner ended up needing a new radiator.  It turns out, the Kia’s battery is a bit grouchy in the cold weather… we’ve had a couple of days where it wouldn’t start.  For some reason, we didnt have any jumper cables, which was weird because John C. Bishop’s oldest daughter should have jumper cables.  So, we bought some and I jumped the Kia.  It was the first time I have ever jumped the car.  So there is that.  Can’t wait till the weather gets better so that I can get back to to riding to and fro to work.  

The Most Special of All Special Days

A really funny thing that Nico is doing lately is when he pretends to take notes on important things.  Last week or so, I was talking with him about how important my birthday is.  And all the things I want.  He’s looking at me, maintaining eye contact, and pulls up his hand and holds it like he is holding a little note pad.  He looks down and pretends to write on the notepad, and nods.  Like he is actually taking notes.  It’s pretty much amazing.  I wish I had him on video doing it.  Seriously, you would pee your pants laughing at it.

One of my co-workers is somewhat uncomfortable with the whole birthday celebration thing, which wouldn’t be a big deal. In fact, I was sure I would forget her birthday and well, no harm, no foul, right? Until I found out that her birthday is 1 day before mine. Wha-what? I can’t forget that!! Everyone knows that Oct 16 is the best birthday!! So, I wanted to do something for her, but not really for her. So I figured we could have a birthday joint birthday celebration. But since she didn’t want to do anything for her birthday, it basically would just be us having cake with friends. But then, I feel a bit awkward asking people to come to a birthday celebration for me. Like, “Hey, can you take five minutes out of your life to acknowledge my birth? Thanks Dude.” So rather than being awkward, I thought I would play it the other way. I sent this to my co-workers last week:

Good Morning Everyone!!

It is October 2, 2013 and we are just two short weeks away from the most glorious of all glorious days: my birthday. Yes, just 33 years and 50 weeks ago, the planet Earth was blessed with my birth. There have been no other children born before or since who are as radiant and wondrous as myself. The qualities of my character which deserve to be exalted include my shining personality, my quick wit and sharp intellect, and above all, my noble humility. I humbly request that all of you lesser persons join me for dessert delicacies and beverages on the afternoon of Wednesday October 16, 2013. It is my recommendation that you people bring your lunches to the conference room at noon on that marvelous day. I will bestow upon you tasty edibles in the form of cakes or sweets that will surely be pleasing to your plebian palates.

No gifts are required, although continued thoughts of goodwill and pleasant salutations are welcome.

Please direct any correspondence with concerns in my general direction and I may or may not be inclined to provide further information.

Good day!

HRM Jessi Bishop-Royse

Luckily most everyone “got it”.  Aren’t I funny?

Birthdays and serial killers…

So we had a pretty fun weekend around here.  My fear of being suspected as a bad mother came true on Friday.  I made the mistake of asking one of Nico’s teachers Sue how Nico had been.  And she let me have it.  Apparently Mr. Nicholas Michael Royse felt the need to grab Nia (the little asian girl in his class) by the hair and yanked/pushed her to the ground. WHA-WHAT?  Excuse me?  Shut the front door!  Absolutely mortified.  I told him how sad I was with him as we were leaving school, so I think he kinda got it. I also canceled our smoothie/slushe date in favor of going home and doing chores.  I think he got it because he was very quiet in the car ride home. 

Saturday morning, Dave headed down to practice.  I took Nico to his friend/classmate’s (A) birthday party at Lofty Pursuits.  Lofty Pursuits is a place where you can get old fashioned soda drinks and rootbeer floats and ice cream.  Apparently the place was just written up in the New York Times.  Its got lots of cool toys like hula hoops and disc golf dics.  They have a little room where they apparently hold paties.  Apparently some kids have been sick from his school, so there was only one other kid (in addition to Nico), but was a lot of fun.  We had “chick nuggets” and ice cream and cake.  At one point, we had all three running around the table chasing each other. 
Of course, at one point, Nico and A were “discussing” who should get to play with some bean bags.  By discussing, I mean, they were having a little tug of war over them.  Granted, Nico had them first.  But that isnt the point.  The point is that when Avery tried to get them, he pulled her close and it looked, to the casual observer that he was trying to kiss her. In reality, he was trying to bite her.  On the face.  Like Hannibal Lecter.  My kid is becoming a serial killer.  I am clearly failing at my one mission in life, which was to make sure that Nico didnt become a serial killer.
Of course, one of the things I love about Avery is that she is taller then he is… and tough.  So when Ezekial tried to take her baby dolls from her play dolls with her at Dexter’s birthday party, she fought back.  She didnt just give up and go crying to her mom.  So… my hope is that when Nico tries to bully her, that she puts the muscle on him. 

Nico fell asleep about 5 minutes after we got in the car- so rather than driving him home and waking him up to walk himself inside, just drove down to Wakulla for our car-wash fundraiser.  We had a really good turn out in terms of players- most of them were there.  I dont know how much money we made- it was likely tough because it was spitting rain for most of the afternoon. 
I got a nap on Saturday afternoon, which was nice.  I woke up and worked on some job market stuff before going to bed. 
Sunday Nico and I got up and let Dave sleep in.  We had some breakfast and then settled in to watch the Womens World Cup Quarterfinal Game between the US and Brazil.  What is unfortunate about this clip is that they dont show the build-up to the ball from Rapinoe to Wambach.  Some tough smart defending on the right side of our goal are led to two touches in transition in the midfield and a ball to Rapinoe who hit the cross to Wambach.  It  wasa great game to watch.  Nico watched a lot of it.  He also spent a lot of time demanding that we read his newly found truck book.  It was lost for over a month, and I think I have read it to him 5 or 6 times since sunday. 
After Nico’s nap on Sunday, I headed to campus to do some work.  I got some work done on applications and even managed to send one off (which is unfortunate because then I got some additional feedback from Ike after it was already sent 😦  But that is okay, it was to a school that Dave wasnt interested in me going to anyways (Washington and Lee in Lexington.)  What he doesnt know is that I have an interview at ASA with Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  HA!!  Joke’s on him!!  Although I haven’t been to Decorah or Lexington, I am fairly certain that Decorah makes Lexington look like a booming metropolis on the edge of DC 🙂 (note, its about 3.5 hours away from DC… on the outskirts of Charlottesville…
The interviews at ASA process is kinda weird.  It doenst really mean anything.  Its kind of like speed dating… usually 15-20 minute interviews with individuals who are attending ASAs from departments who are hiring.  Then when applications are reviewed, sometimes the committee might remember interviews that happened at ASA.  Sometimes they lead to phone interviews, but mostly, I have heard its good practice.  In addition to the Luther interview, I have one with Carelton College, which is in Minnesota. 
When I think about the Post Doc that I want to do at UT Austin, it makes me want to write a (kinda joking, but not really) #1 fan letter to UT Austin and post it on my profile on  facebook.  But I “liked” the UT Austin Population Center Page, which means I think they can see my profile and that would just be embarassing.  Like maybe I got it and I show up for the post-doc and everyone thinks I am a psycho because I wrote a #1 fan letter to UT Austin.  Then I have to spend two years of my life in hiding because I am so embarassed about the letter and no one wants to work with me.  So friends and family, if you see me write a fan letter about Austin and post it as a note in facebook, remind me to take it down, because no one likes the crazy girl. 
Of course, some like Ike are probably like, “Wha- what?  I see you’re applying for teaching at small schools and Post-Docs at schools that are way out of your depth.  So which is it? Do you want to go research or teaching?”  To which I reply, “I want a job where I can have summers off.”  Just kidding.  My answer: I dont know.  I, like IE, just want choice.  I want to be able to choose how and where the next chapter of my life plays out.  Just choice.  That is all I want. 🙂
When I was at campus, Dave took Nico to eat Chinese food… which is to say the Chinese Buffet on the Parkway, where Nico had “chick” nuggets and watermellon.  Nothing says Chinese food like chicken nuggets and water mellon.  🙂