Edgartown: new experiences

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I’ve had a huge “growth experience” this week. When it comes to parenting our kids, Jamie and I have always had pretty clear lines. I’m the dance mom. He handles the testosterone manly stuff with Riley. It gets things done. Saturday, however, was a new experience for me. A week earlier, Riley announced that he wanted to join the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a program similar to Junior ROTC. Can you say “Hello — Dad’s territory”? Well, in what was the first proud-mama moment of the experience, Riley took it upon himself to contact the commander about the program, finding out that he would need to be at Mass Maritime on this past Saturday to learn about the program, join, drill, and so forth, as there is a Dec. 1 deadline to join. As Jamie was already scheduled for Saturday, Mom became the default parent for the event.

To be sure, I’m involved in Riley’s activities, and I take him to things and I attend events, but sign my son up for some military-related something or other? Not exactly my comfort zone. But letting down my boy child? Not an option. So off we went on the early boat. As soon as we walked in, I felt like a fish out of water, and Riley just started swimming! We met with the other cadets for a while; Riley joined in on their morning assembly immediately. We watched the required video, and talked with the leading cadet, who, at 18, was a very impressive young man. The commander stressed how difficult and challenging the program would be, especially traveling from the Island. We took part in several activities throughout the morning. Then, while Riley went to eat lunch and drill with the squadron to see if it was really for him, I ran errands for an hour. When I returned to talk more with the commander, I found my son in full uniform, with two other uniforms neatly folded ready to go home with us. I also found the application form and a certain someone’s hand out looking for the check to pay for his membership. It was close to 5 pm before we left, with Riley proudly traveling home in his uniform. I have never seen my son so comfortable, so happy, and so proud in my life. I have never seen him so attentive, nor have I heard him say “Sir” and “Ma’am” so much in my life. I was beyond proud of my boy, and beyond grateful that I was the parent available to take him through that first day’s experience. Why did I refer to it as a growing experience for me at the beginning of this paragraph? Because I realized yesterday that in order to let our children grow up, sometimes we are the ones who have to do the growing, so we are strong enough to let them take their own paths.

Congratulations go out to Coach Donald Herman and his MVRHS football team, who went out in style on Saturday by winning the big game against Nantucket. The Vineyard Haven SSA terminal was crazy upon their arrival, with all the lights, sirens, and screaming fans. I’m sure it was a bittersweet moment for Coach Herman, as this was truly his last game. Congratulations to all, and thank you to a great coach and quality role model for a huge number of students over the years.

I received news from my friend Alison Rich Stearns via Facebook the other day. Misty Meadows Horse Farm will now be the home of the Martha’s Vineyard Community Horse Center! They will be having an open house this Friday, Nov. 27, from 10 am until 1 pm to introduce the program and the youth programs that will begin sometime in January 2016. They will have training and dressage demonstrations, as well as pony rides and grooming activities. For more information, email them at info@mvhorsecenter.com or visit mvhorsecenter.com. As a recovering horse addict who started my horse craziness at Misty Meadows, I’m anxious to go have a look.

The Island Wide Youth Collaborative, the Youth Task Force, and the Island schools have announced that Lynn Lyons, LICSW, will be holding a three-hour parenting intensive on two dates:, “Worried About Your Worrier?” at the high school on Dec. 1st and 2nd from 5:30 until 9 pm. The Dec. 1 program is designed for parents of children in Pre-K to grade 6, while the Dec. 2 program is for students in grades 7 through 12. Dinner will be served, and registration is required. Call 508-692-7900, ext. 400, or email jchang@mvcommunityservices.com.

The Edgartown 8th grade is still running our Apple Watch raffle. Look for students around town over the Thanksgiving weekend, or email me at ggardnermv@gmail.com and I will direct an eighth grader your way to sell tickets. We will also be selling them at our annual Craft Fair at the Edgartown School on Dec. 12, so please come to that as well! Eat some chowder or chili. Or maybe you’d like to purchase some baked goods for the holidays. We will have many wonderful food and raffle items so that you can help send us to Washington, D.C.! Not to mention the fact that the gym will be filled with so many of our wonderful local artisans and their fabulous wares. What a wonderful way to shop local!

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. Rejoice in your family and friends, and eat yourselves silly!