Ethan’s Visit

I need a challenge. Sure, I have stuff in the works that could qualify as challenging, but it is so time-based and deadline-oriented. Eric said something tonight that fits: I need a challenge to drive me. High school was a challenge in itself. After school, I had the Army. After the Army, I had college.

Okay, so I was a little out of order for the majority of our population, but I still got it done.

Now I am without a mission. Okay, I have missions, but I mean that I am without a constant, driving beast barking at my heels behind me. Motivation that frightening can be as daunting as it is exhilarating. That beast that hounds me, that drives me onward, is a creature of my own creation.

I have said before that I am my own hardest critic. This is true for many people and it is not unusual to see an artist, a dancer, or a musician berate themselves for work they deem unworthy. Their support channels might gasp and wonder at their sanity, but the artist, the dancer, and the musician often set higher personal standards. They know when these goals have been reached.

I am not an artist, nor a dancer, nor a musician, but I can admit that I have dabbled in all three (and more).

So this creature of mine barks and snaps at my heels. It places my mission or goal on a stick and string and it dangles them in front of me as I run to escape it. It is a figurative choice: achieve your goals at your standards or turn and face Failure.

Ugh, but I feel like I lack a mission, despite the deadlines and milestones I have in front of me.

Stepping aside from this melancholy woe-is-me junk, I actually had an amazing week. When Heather and Edgar went back to El Paso last weekend, they opted to leave Ethan, their oldest child, here with my mom, Eric, Matt, and me. We had nothing special planned, but we did get to do a lot of fun things.

I took him to Taekwondo with Matt and me on Tuesday. Considering the week for the dojo was short – due to the Fourth of July – Ethan did not get to experience the Little Gryphons class, which is primarily for children ages five and under. He was allowed into the all-ages class with us, however, and was able to focus for about half an hour.

This is a normal length of time for his age, so I am extremely proud of him.

The Fourth of July was a small affair in our back yard. Opting not to go to Balloon Fiesta Park to watch the city’s fireworks display, Eric bought some sparklers, smokers, and your basic ground poppers to give Ethan a little bit of spirit for the holiday. Timid at first, Ethan finally warmed up to the sparklers and poppers.

As my mom and Eric are members of the zoo here in Albuquerque, it was only fitting that we made a trip to see some of Ethan’s favorite animals. We got to feed the lorikeets with nectar from little cups. Mom’s first cup was lost to an overly aggressive lorikeet, but Ethan hung tightly to his and got to see a handful of the birds up close.

We also got to see the “big alligator”, Ethan’s only request. We let him play for a bit in the giant jungle gym set for children, but it was a really hot day. Once his face started getting red, I threw some water on him and we found a nice place inside to cool him off.

Traveling back to El Paso was uneventful. We stopped once for lunch and gas, but Ethan generally slept for most of it. I think he was happy to be back with his parents and sisters, but it is hard to tell with a four-year-old.

Saturday night involved a nice drive from El Paso to Ruidoso to have a chuck wagon dinner and a show at the Flying J. It was a sobering experience, driving through some of those mountains. A close proximity to the recent Little Bear fire, the damage was notable in the mood of the businesses in the town.

“Little Bear donations here” signs littered the shop fronts along with a few locations looking for volunteers to help with the clean up. My father drove into Ruidoso from a different direction and said it was mere miles from decimation and that the damage was visible in more ways than signs and sadness.

The show itself was as I remembered. I had never been to the Flying J, but I had been to other chuck wagon shows before. My favorite will always be the Bar D in Durango, Colorado, but that is probably because it was my first one – and it might have been on my 21st birthday, and I might have had a little to drink.

Ethan, Harmony, and Haven enjoyed the gun show on Main Street, the food, and they tolerated the performance well enough. I think Harmony got the most out of the musical performance as she contributed to the sounds with a plastic spoon and five tin cups. Heather will post some pictures eventually, I am sure. With the work she put into the kids’ matching outfit, she had better.

Goals for this week: finish filling out paperwork and securing letters of recommendation. I also need to make sure to write the appropriate letters for myself, organize my certificates and awards, and make sure the rest of my ducks are in a row. Part of that will include helping Matt switch his name wherever it is necessary – websites, accounts, and whatnot.

Happy reading, ladies and gentlemen.


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