Monday, August 14, 2017

Big Changes at the Zeiler Household

It is official!  Gab is now an adult!  Gab recently received her certification to teach, and, this week she will officially enter the work force and move out of our humble abode.  Take control, baby!  The girl that wanted to teach and believes that everyone should have a chance to learn music is about to embark on making her “why” into a reality.  On one hand, Debbie and I are excited and happy for this HUGE milestone, and on the other hand, we are sad as this means Gab is truly leaving our little bubble, to venture forth on her own.  Do not get me wrong: This is all good and the proper way of things.

I remember when I first officially joined the work force; I worked locally and was able to live in my parent’s house.  For a brief time, the five of us were living under the same roof, even though we were clearly at different points in our lives (one brother in college and the other in High School).  It was great…OK, it was not ideal.  Truth was, I had changed A LOT in college and came back a different person, had trouble adjusting to moving back home and found myself unable to fit back into the role.  The nice thing, however, about that first couple of months, aside from hanging with my brothers, was that I had money in my pocket that I had earned, to spend how I wanted to spend it.  Being into music, that was where I spent my money.  After a couple of years, I motivated to move out with a friend.  That was exciting!  Now I was able to stretch my wings and learn to live by my rules.  I did not mind stumbling, making those mistakes and learning from them – that is what life is about, and, sometimes, where the best lessons come from.  I still went back to my parent’s house (frequently, at first) for meals, advise and holidays.  But, in growing up, this was a big move in the right direction, because for the first time in my life (I learned), I was responsible for myself.

Recently, I had this dream, where I went to a school to visit Gab.  It was not the University of Hartford, but a school where she was teaching.  I walked through the school looking for her, up one corridor and down another.  Finally, I rounded a corner and there she was!  She asked if I wanted something to drink, I said yes and headed to where I must have passed a cafeteria, because Gab said, “Not that way, that’s the cafeteria, we can get something to drink in the teacher’s lounge.”  Teacher’s lounge?!?  As a kid, I remember the teacher’s lounge as that forbidden place that no student was ever allowed into.  We walked into a room with a few teachers hanging out.  Ring! That was not the school bell, but my alarm that went off at that point and I woke up.  OMG!  A few days later, I received the call from Gab that she got the job she is taking!  You got this, Gab!
Our baby is no longer taking baby steps.  Our baby is perched upon the dividing point in life of having been cared for, looked after and education provided.  The baby steps taken up to this point have been in preparation for the adult steps ahead.  As author Andy Andrews says, “Remember, the goal is not to raise great kids; it's to raise kids who become great adults.”  The adult steps ahead lead to a wonderful future, a chance to provide the opportunity to help others learn, appreciate and enjoy music.  The adult steps ahead lead to a bright future.  While Debbie and I are sad that this point in our lives came SO fast, we are extremely proud parents and excited to watch (and be a part of) Gab’s next journey.  Go Gab!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Our Baby is Growing Up! (Bec’s New Bed)

This is a picture of my very happy daughter.  You see, for 18.5 years, Rebecca has slept in the same bed.  “I can’t believe I am still in my first bed…I’m 20 years old!” she said excitedly as we awaited the delivery of her adult bed.  Yes, Bec has been in the same bed from the day she graduated from the crib.  Now this was not a racing car nor a character bed, but a lofted bed with drawers, storage underneath and white railings so that she would not fall out of bed.  At age 20, it is time to recognize that our baby is no longer a baby and has, in fact, grown into a young adult.

Many years ago, I remember having the conversation with my brothers about how in our minds we had finally become adults, yet when we stepped back into our parent’s house, or moved back in from college, they treated us like kids.  As a child, I was upset that I was not recognized as an adult.  Now, as an adult, at times, I still treat my children…as children.  I understand my parents now, because there is a tendency to treat our children as we always had.  Sometimes it is a conscientious thought process to remind myself that they are grown up.

Because Bec is a young adults, we have to remind ourselves (though it is hard at times) that she is allowed to make her own decisions, which we are happy to be sounding boards for her (same for Gab).  This year, Bec made the decision to move off campus with her friends.  I remember how excited I was when I moved off-campus my senior year with two friends.  We moved in to the third floor over an abandoned store with no one on the second floor.  We had access to the roof to hang out.  It was as you would expect a college room to be, it was a great place to hang out and party in.  Compared to my youngest brother’s off-campus housing, we had a quality place.  His place had a front and back, where the back was condemned and falling over, the paint was peeling off the front the size of bed sheets and the drop ceiling in the kitchen had long ago lost its tiles. 

I think that as a parent, we always will want to protect our offspring.  However, just as we learn that every opportunity is a chance to learn and grow, sometimes failure is a part of that personal development process.  We have given Gab and Bec the tools with which to make thoughtful decisions and we will always be there be help, support, cheer on and provide that shoulder or a hug when needed.  Bec has a reason to be happy – it might be just a new bed, but here’s to the symbol of moving into adulthood and all of the wonderful things ahead!