Graduation Week Thoughts

In two days, my baby will graduate from high school. It’s an emotional time for both of us, but let’s focus on me. My husband has told me to celebrate rather than grieve. I’m trying…I’m trying! I wouldn’t really say I am grieving. I really am excited to see where Addie’s career leads her, and I am incredibly proud of all she has accomplished and of the young woman she has become. I am thrilled with the education she received at Tell City Schools. She excelled in academics, but was also taught respect, discipline, and boundaries, which will be just as important as the academics as she begins life as an adult. She and her classmates might not have always agreed with the rules, but they will soon learn that they are better prepared for college and the workforce because they were expected to dress appropriately, put away their phones, and treat others with respect. Their class also entered Tell City Junior Senior High School when it was a failing school, but are leaving a Four-Star, A-Rated school; they helped our school achieve that rating. They have all shown great leadership and determination, and we should all celebrate their successes.

As a mother, I am also a little sad. You see, this isn’t just an ending for Addie, but it is also an ending for me. I have had kids in public school for 21 years. Her graduating marks the end of an era in my life. Just as when her sisters graduated, I find myself asking if I did everything I could. Did I teach her all I needed to teach? Did I take her enough places? Did I say the right things? There are no do-overs in parenting. We get one shot at it, and then we send them into the world. My one shot is just about over. Yes, I know we never stop being parents, but we become different kinds of parents as we release control. Our graduates will now phase us out. They will take all the lessons they’ve learned from us, as well as from their coaches, teachers, family members, and friends, and they will make their own choices. Sometimes they will fail, and they will come back for reassurance. Sometimes they’ll see great success and happiness, and we can take comfort knowing we did something right. This graduation is also a bit more sad because Addie is the last. When her sisters graduated, I knew I still had her at home. I have also taught at her school for the last two years, and spent a few years with her at the elementary school. Simply put, I am going to miss Addie’s daily presence. I enjoy seeing her at school. I love those moments when she pops up to my classroom during the day, even if it is just to ask for money or a signature.

And then there’s tennis. She is my only child who played golf and was in band, but all three girls have played tennis. Every spring for the past 16 years has been spent at the tennis courts. Next spring will be odd. Thankfully I have plenty of students I can go watch, but it won’t be the same. Though sometimes we are so busy I feel that I’m sinking in quicksand, it’s difficult to imagine not being so busy. I am grateful that Gary and I have our own interests. Many parents spend all their time on their kids’ sports and activities, and they really are lost when it’s over. Although I’ve always been there for the girls’ activities, I’ve also taken time for my own. I won’t have to work runs around matches or contests. I am going to get back into coaching cheerleaders, which I haven’t done for many years. Who knows what else I’ll get myself into.

Fun Facts This Week:

  • Gary and I actually have three graduates this spring: Addison from high school, Bethany from college, and Gary’s son Bryce from nursing school.
  • Bryce already had a degree from Indiana University, but after several years in the field of geographic information, he returned to college to obtain a nursing degree. Having been a non-traditional student myself, I know the diligence it takes to return to college. Kudos to Bryce for sticking it out! His wife will also graduate with a nursing degree next spring.
  • I graduated from Tell City 30 years ago. Damn. 30 years.
  • In four years, Addie will graduate from Murray State University, and our oldest granddaughter, Molly, will graduate from high school. Those years will fly by!
  • I didn’t sob during the senior walk today. I kind of sniffled, and wiped a few tears, but I didn’t sob. Addie did.
  • Addie receive four academic scholarships. Every single dime matters.

Once graduation is over, Gary, Addie, and I will delve into the summer musical, Mary Poppins. Addie is assisting the director, and will be on stage for a couple of numbers. Gary has a leading role as George Banks. I am a statue. Okay, I dance (wearing a UNITARD), and will also be a chimney sweep (which is going to be an incredibly fun scene). We seriously have an amazing cast, and are all so excited to do this together. Gary, Bethany, and I were all in The Wizard of Oz 12 years ago, and it was a wonderful summer. I feel blessed that I get to spend so much time with Addie before she leaves for college. She’ll be ready to get away from me by then!

Addison Cathleen Peter, you are a rock star. I hope you enjoy this graduation season with your friends. Life will never quite be the same, but it will be exciting. You will be pursuing an amazing career, making new friends, and making new memories. You’ve done everything you needed to the past four years, and taken advantage of every opportunity. You’ve shown great leadership, compassion, and determination. You’ve never followed the crowd, and been true to yourself no matter the consequences. You have taught us so much. As you enter college, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, share your ideas, or stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Take the lessons you’ve learned along the way and make the world a little brighter. We will always be here for you, and will continue to be your biggest cheerleaders. Congratulations!

Left: This week’s Honors Program

Right: 8th Grade Honors Program

addiehonors Addison Principal Award

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The Race Report

Before the Race

Before the Race – Look how happy we are!

This past Sunday, Gary and I ran the Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Crown Point, Indiana. We had chosen this particular race because we wanted to run something other than the Derby Mini, which we had run the past four years. The Biggest Loser Half was in the Region, and since I’m from that area, we thought it would make a nice weekend getaway before all of the end-of-school-year-my-baby-is-graduating festivities. We left for Indy Friday after work, checked into our hotel, and had a healthy meal of roasted chicken, veggies, and potatoes. While this might seem inconsequential to most, in our world it was a rather big deal. We are more of a burger and fries couple.

On Saturday, we checked out the house I lived in in Hobart, went to the cemetery (What’s more romantic than that?), shopped (we bought 13 pounds of candy at a candy factory), and went to the expo to get our race gear. The expo was somewhat disappointing, but it wasn’t a large race, so we shouldn’t have expected much. Dinner that evening was at Teibel’s, which is somewhat of an iconic Northwest Indiana restaurant.

Sunday morning arrived; the sun shone brightly into our room. I had very low expectations for the race. My plan was to run the first four miles, and then walk 2/10 of each mile thereafter. My IT bands begin to tighten up after four or five miles. I wanted to complete the race, and knew that a fast time just wasn’t possible. This was my seventh half marathon, and my third since having knee surgery in 2013. I hadn’t trained too hard for this race, but felt that I was ready. I was not. Not even close. Living in Southern Indiana, I am used to hills. I have plenty of hills to train on, but had avoided them because Northwest Indiana is flat. Why would I train on hills to run a flat race? I have never been more wrong in my life.

The first several miles of the race, I listened to the soundtrack of the stage version of Mary Poppins. I’m pretty cool like that. Actually, my family will be involved in the production this summer, so I thought I’d begin to learn the music. People don’t really expect to hear Step in Time in the middle of a race. I tried to not sing out loud, but sometimes it just sneaks out. There were several small, manageable hills in the first few miles, and I kept thinking that surely it would flatten out. Where did those hills even come from? This was the north.

And then it got worse. Miles eight through thirteen were just brutal. I don’t typically cuss (okay, I do), but the expletives were flying. I even texted my running friends on one of my walk breaks just so I could complain to someone. Here is a good picture of how I was feeling in the second half of the race:

joycehillcrown

Not quite as happy as the prerace photo. My plan had been tossed aside. I walked whenever my legs began to scream, which was at the beginning of many hills. I certainly wasn’t alone as many chose to walk up the hills. I was getting passed by lots of runners, but I really didn’t care. At one point a guy in a Spiderman shirt passed me, and I thought It’s okay – It’s Spiderman! I can’t expect to be as fast as Spiderman! 

At several points during the race, I asked myself why I thought running half marathons was fun. I was miserable. My legs were absolutely killing me; my calves were tied in knots. I just wanted this hell to be over. It was also pretty hot out compared to what we had been running in. I got water at almost every stop, but still felt so dry. And then I’d spot yet another freakin’ hill. Are you kidding me?? Can I just crawl now? And did I mention that hills really put a strain on IT bands? Mile 11: Someone was stabbing a knife into the side of my knee. And twisting it. Damn, it hurt. I stopped and rubbed that area hoping for enough relief to keep going. I walked most of that mile. I then alternated walking and running until I finally reached the finish. I don’t think my legs have ever hurt so much at the finish of a race. I would never run a hilly half again.

I actually lived!

I actually lived!

Gary and I then had a five-hour drive home. As we discussed our ‘adventure’, he also complained about the hills. After cooling off and getting our heart rates back to within a reasonable range, we were actually pretty proud of ourselves. That was undoubtedly the hardest half we have ever done, and although our times were not impressive (2:23 for me), we didn’t stop, nor did I puke. The next morning I had to teach a 5:15 Tabata class, and hadn’t planned to participate. When we started, I went ahead and worked out with the class, figuring I could stop at any point. I ended up completing the class and…running! I actually went out and ran about a mile and a half just to see if I could.

Do you know what else I did the day after the race from hell? I registered for the St. Jude Half Marathon! More info on that will follow in the coming months (because our team is fundraising and I’m sure you’ll want to donate). I would compare running a half marathon (or a marathon for some) to childbirth. It is so very painful as we are going through it. Breathing is labored, body parts we weren’t even aware of suddenly scream with pain, and we cuss like we’ve never cussed before. And then when it’s over, we realize how badass we are, and begin to forget the hell we endured. It wasn’t that bad. When can we do it again?