Tonight, the house is quiet. The kids have a day off from school tomorrow, and have gone home with friends from school for sleepovers.
Angell and I took advantage by having an early Valentine’s Day date at Outback Steakhouse, where we had a gift card leftover from Christmas. Sexy, eh?
But now that the shrimp and burgers have been eaten and we are back home, the vibe is off. There’s a wobble in our night. Thing’s ain’t right. No kids means:
- No music
- No fighting
- No late night showers
- No being evicted from the TV room
- No wanting us to look at art projects
- No needing help with homework
- No bedtime prayers
- No hugs
- No kisses
It’s good to have a quiet night alone in an empty house. When the house is full of noise and activity and heavy utility consumption, there’s no time to reflect and be grateful for the women they’re becoming.
Our oldest, Hadley, is out of the house nearly full-time. She’s away at college, and I couldn’t be prouder of how she’s doing.
She’s doing a much better job than I did at that age at managing her time and studies. She’s balancing school, lacrosse and a social life and making good grades in the process. She’s got a great work ethic, and she’s super mature and serious about her responsibilities.
Speaking of sports, Hadley is the only person in our family that I can think of who’s played sports at the collegiate level. Her second season opens this weekend with an away game down in Tennessee. We’ll get to see her play next weekend at her home opener, and I can’t wait.
If all that weren’t enough, Hadley is a genuinely good person. She’s awesome. She loves people, and is fair-minded just like her mother. She’s a deep and soulful person who loves deeply. I love this kid.
Our middle daughter, Daisy, amazes me with her quick mind, bottomless talent and big heart.
Daisy’s smarter than I thought about being at that age. One measure of this is how well she takes standardized tests. Another is how quick she is. She’s much faster than I am at thinking on her feet. Her brain processes at a super-quick pace that is hard for me to keep up with. I wish I had that timing.
Like Hadley, Daisy has a great work ethic. Her standards for herself are very high, and she gets physically ill when she can’t or doesn’t perform up to them. That kind of pressure can have its downside, but suffice it to say that Angell and I have never had to get on her for not working hard enough.
Like all my kids, Daisy’s a much better person than I was at her age. Though she is very much a typical hormonal teenager, she’s loves God, she’s involved with two youth groups, she’s sensitive and she cares deeply for her friends, and because she’s VERY empathic, she feels their hurts deeply. She’s got a big, beautiful heart.
She’s maybe the most like me, and we have many shared tics and interests.
Daisy’s got an offbeat sense of humor. She loves puns, irony and papaw jokes. I never go more than a day or two without her tracking me down to show me some funny Vine or Snap that has her crying from laughing so much.
She loves good movies. A Wes Anderson freak, like me, she’s undertaken an art project for school that involves painting the poster art for every Anderson movie. Over Christmas, she and Hadley and I watched The Godfather together. Hadley fell asleep a few minutes in, but Daisy was locked in, asking me questions throughout the movie. It was cool. She picked up on so many references that have been echoed in the entertainment of her generation.
She also loves good music. She grew up listening to my stuff in the car, but she’s evolved into her own person, and though she still likes the stuff she grew up on, she’s got her own bands that she’s discovered on her own, obsessing over their biographies and lyrics just as I did when I discovered Dylan or Townes Van Zandt. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.
Avery, our youngest, is our big-hearted, sweet girl. I’m in love with this kid so much, and love to hang out with her.
She’s such a sweetheart. She has a big circle of friends, and though she’s very funny, she’s also very sweet and sensitive to their needs and quirks. She’s very generous and fair, and doesn’t impose her will.
Avery’s may be the most selfless of the kids. She freely shares with others, and she always has. She puts herself out for others, and is very good at reading people and knowing what they need. She’s got a sweet, sweet heart.
All that sweetness is salted with a wicked sense of humor. She may have the best comic timing of us. Daisy’s quick, but Avery always has the right funny comment that comes without the slightest hint of missing the beat. She’s always made us laugh.
Like her sisters, Avery is a hard worker. She hates doing anything poorly, and puts too much pressure on herself to succeed. Angell and I actually have to take the pressure off this one. She’s worse than Daisy about pushing herself.
Now that Avery’s playing field hockey, it’s cool seeing her work ethic being applied to athletics. I just built her a field hockey goal box in the back yard, and she gets out there every chance she gets to hit the ball.
One of my great joys is going to Avery’s field hockey games and seeing her play. It’s our thing, and I can’t wait for the season to start. Maybe we’ll end up with two college athletes in the family. Who knows?
Yeah, I’m grateful for the quiet night at home with Angell. And though I miss the noise and chaos of having the kids around, it’s good to be apart and be reminded of just how much I love this bunch of mine and just how full my heart is with love for my family.