I've come to the end of a busy week, focused on providing support for my #2 young adult son (Ben) to finish an intensive 3-week (May Session) course. He never quite hit his stride, and by the third week, when things were already winding to a close (an oral final exam, short papers due, labs due), he was a fair ways behind. So we launched into Mom-Homework-Helper mode - in some ways, my primary identity back when he was in high school, but little needed through the three years he has been in college. Mostly, I made sure he was fed, got him to (finally!) make a dental appointment, and printed out the articles he needed to read (his printer is out of ink). And I hosted him while he studied into the night, driving him home to his off-campus rooming house in the early hours. (He was able to study without as many distractions at our place.)
A complicating factor in the week was that Ben's dental exam resulted in two long stints at the dentist over the following two days getting a number of fillings. Also, we needed to drive out to a far suburb to get a camp physical that we could afford (because my health insurance wouldn't pay for a physical if it was a "physical with form," according to his clinic - thus costing us over $200 - she suggested a MinuteClinic instead where these were $30).
One early evening this week, when I brought Ben home to have dinner and study, I noticed something strange out of the dining room window - too big for a cat - loping along the sidewalk on the other side of the street. I called Ben to watch with me as the animal (half cat, half monkey) strolled unhurriedly to the telephone pole at the corner and started hitching himself up, arms reaching up, then pulling up his body, the way people shimmy up a pole. At the top, though, he got stuck for a while, and also wary as we came out to watch him and take some pictures. Note - we live within the city limits of Minneapolis, but close to some parkland that hosts deer, fox, and other wildlife.
(Click on the picture to see him in more detail.)
This marathon study week was all to get Ben through in time to drive him to Wisconsin where he will be a camp counselor at Camp Woodbrooke, a small, very simple, woodsy Quaker residential summer camp for kids. Did I mention that Ben is studying to be a kindergarten teacher?
I took Friday off to shop and pack for his two months at camp, and washed a large number of his clothes. The night before we drove to Wisconsin, Ben stayed up all night (fortunately at his place) doing the on-line labs, and then finished one of the his summary papers on the drive down. Somehow, he does manage to come through. I'm proud of him -and exasperated - and extremely tired (and sore from driving the little borrowed gas-sipping Saturn with the stiff steering wheel and clutch).
What's more to come will be some reflections I did on the drive back through "unglaciated" (that is, hilly and woodsy) Wisconsin. I love road trips, especially through beautiful country.
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