My baby is growing up

I just picked up my oldest son, Andrew, from his last driving class for Driver’s Ed less than an hour ago. He got in the car without any paperwork. I asked about it. He said they would send me an email to notify me when I could pick it up. I just checked my email and there was an email stating that Andrew had successfully graduated from the SafeWay Driving Centers Driver’s Education course I put him in. Wow! Realization is that my oldest baby is growing up.

It is official, he has completed the required minimum driving course to get his driver’s license in the State of Texas. This does not mean that he has met the minimum to actually get his driver’s license in the State of Texas. There are some strict driving laws in the state if you are a minor and trying to get that ever so coveted little card in your pocket. For this I am grateful. He has already completed part of these requirements. He will have a few more months before he will be able to drive alone in the car without an adult in the car with him. He also still has a few more hours of driving time to log before we head to the DPS office to get his license. All in due time.

The fact is, he is growing up. He might have resisted it as long as possible and we might have had to force it this summer to a large degree, but he is whether he wants to or not and whether we want him to or not. I do want him to, but I know all too well that him turning 18 and going off to college is going to be way harder on me than him turning 5 years old and him heading off to kindergarten. Him heading off the high school was much harder than him heading off to kindergarten. I cannot imagine it getting any easier for the next step in life. For him that will be college and a mission for the church, whichever comes first.

I have to say that I am proud of him. While there has been some frustration with him and much resistance on getting a “real” job, this summer I have to say that he is at the very least working. The compromise was that he would complete his Eagle Scout Project. That is part of the frustration and forcing of the issue of growing up. The project is not completed and no real profitable gain job was obtained. At least not to his father’s standard. I am proud for him for what he has done in taking a bold step forward and outside of his comfort zone. He did step outside his comfort zone which to be real honest with you was going against the nagging of his mother’s suggestions. Ultimately, his mother did have some influence.

In the end, he will actually be working three jobs this summer – for gain. Not a huge amount of gain like we would have hoped for, but it is a start.

He started working for Johnnie Murphy at Champions Bushido Karate where he has been taking karate lessons since he was 5 years old. This time he is giving back. He has actually been a certified instructor for Johnnie since he was 12 years old, but Johnnie has not been able to pay him to work for him due to the working age laws in Texas. This year, however, Andrew is 16 and can legally work as many hours and at any hour of the day that Johnnie needs him to work. Andrew can finally share his skills with others in the evenings and gain something in return for the years of hard work. The plan as I hear it from Andrew is to work for Johnnie as long as his academic studies will allow him to. This is actually longer than I thought he would. I know that Andrew misses karate in some ways, but looking at him the past couple of weeks I know that he still has that martial artist engrained deep in who he is. You cannot take that out of who he is. It is very much a part of him. Maybe will see another rank advancement from him before he graduates from high school. Then again, maybe that is just wishful dreaming on my part.

He also started teaching piano lessons to three young boys in our ward. This is where I am keeping score for him actually listening to my nagging and ideas. His father and I were actually trying to convince him to teach both piano and cello lessons but we will take what we can get. He has more skills in these areas than he gives himself credit for. I wish that he would allow himself to take more compliments when his playing ability is concerned. He is sometimes way too hard on himself. At least he is trying this and it is going well. Rumor has it he will pick up another beginner student this September after school starts for another little boy in our ward at church. I am not sure how many children he will be able to take on, but at least he is willing to allow it to continue and willing to teach. He is seeing the truth in the saying “teaching makes you a better player” and is finding that he needs to correct some of his own bad habits that have crept in over the years. I am proud of him for noticing and wanting to teach proper techniques. I am also proud of him for wanting to instill the love of music in young children.

He will start working for the University Bookstore at Lonestar College – University Park on Friday. He had training last Saturday. He got this job through my sister, Jennifer Mowrer. Evidently, he is the only high school student that is taking on the work during Rush time for back-to-school. Unfortunately, it is going up to and during his own back-to-school so his ability to work will be a bit more limited than if he were to work this week, but at least it is an honest real job with a real boss outside of someone he knows. This is what we wanted for him. This is where he will learn the lessons we needed and wanted him to learn. It will only be a temporary job for 2-3 weeks, but it is still a job.

Yesterday, he got the final signature and approval he needed to start his Eagle Scout Project from Kathy Pagano. I am actually feeling a great amount of relief now that he has all the required signatures on the Eagle Scout Workbook forms. Until he had those signatures, he could not proceed with the project and actually start on it. He is doing a non-traditional project. Typically you see the build something project that is very tangible or a collection project that is also very tangible. That is not something that interests Andrew and it just was not something he was interested in doing. It was not the spirit he wanted to go for. He found something that really peaked his interests and he went for it. After several weeks of trying to get a response from the organization representatives that this project would benefit and ultimately getting no response, he finally got a response. He needed something stating that it was okay for him to do a project that benefited the organization. Once he had that, he could proceed with getting other signatures from Council (ie. Kathy Pagano). Now that he has that, he can plan out and organize the rest of the project and get things together for actually getting this project completed. It may not be completed by the time school starts, but at least he will have something to show for this summer. Now to get the last 3 merit badges completed. We might have an Eagle Scout by the end of the year.

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