Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nine Years Later, It's Official

If you spend any time with me you know that my favorite thing in the world is being a Mama. I was blessed with four children; two boys and two girls.  I gravitate toward children (this came in handy as an early childhood educator) and I adore babies (which is why I love my current job at Charlie Barnes, a baby store.) Encouraging other Moms is something I strive to do because even if you love kids, there is no real manual and it's a hard job. 

Apparently I take being a Mom seriously. I was the only tennis mom who created a sweatshirt to be worn at every match back when my daughter was in high school. I had buttons made with their pictures to wear to basketball games and soccer matches when my boys played sports. Obnoxious? Yep. Bragger? Usually. Proud? Always! Do I love them even when they make choices I don't agree with? I try. Jesus is helping me practice grace.

I became a Pirate Mom back in 2005 when my first of four children left our nest for Whitworth College. It’s not a college anymore, it became a University in 2009. I have a rather large collection of Whitworth “gear” that proves I have been a Pirate Mom nonstop for the past nine years; I have the “Mom” hat, the now-vintage “college” sweatshirt, mugs & travel mugs, at least three t-shirts, a blanket, bumper sticker, and several hoodie sweatshirts.

This week I was given the official University Mom title; at least for one evening! Let me digress... The admissions office sent an email wondering if my hubby and I could participate in a prospective student and parent evening in Tacoma. As is usually the case, my man was traveling. I hesitated saying yes and going by myself, but I felt like this might be my last opportunity to go to an event while having a current student and I was honored to be asked.

"If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." Romans 12:8

I assumed I was one of several parents and several alumni who would be around to answer questions after a formal presentation. Nope. My friend was the alumni, and I was the official Pirate Mom! We presented up front along with a professor, a darling undergrad, the University President and the Admissions director. Thankfully due to my former job as a teacher and other opportunities I’ve had speaking to an audience, I was just a little nervous. My role was to relay some of the things I’ve learned watching my four children head off to the same expensive beautiful university. (Yes, all four of our children chose the same school, although the youngest left after her freshman year and is contemplating returning if we can figure out a way to pay she's re-admitted.) I tried to share tips and information that would have been helpful to me back in the day when my firstborn was heading off. I might have shocked the administrators just a tad bit with my honesty. 

Although the tuition continues to rise and our paychecks don't, I still have quite an affection for this special private university. I have watched my children leave as teens and become young men and women ready to live out their faith and make a difference in the world for God. They've been nurtured and challenged. They've made amazing life-long friends and due to memories made over nine years, our family feels like Spokane and the campus is a second home for us. 

An email arrived in my inbox; it’s time to order my third one's cap and gown and think about commencement.  I searched for his name under Theology Majors and found it, so it's official.

What’s with the eye twitch I've had for two days? The kind that drives you crazy and makes you wonder if other people can see it. Is it stress? Or am I truly becoming a real pirate and I’ll need to start wearing an eye patch?...

I wonder how many other families have had four kids attend (and three earn diplomas plus one master’s degree?) Surely we’re in the minority. Don’t you agree that I earned the title “Whitworth Mom” fair and square? Perhaps I could travel around doing my “talk” for a part-time job... 

In His Grip, Jane

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