Evan graduates HS

The last one to leave the nest.  He has made it through & forcibly I might add.  This young man has pushed every single button I could possibly have along the way to graduation.  Evan finished his  SR year with classes online.   It was absolutely one of the most exhausting things this teenager has put me through.  Many disagreements, many days of us butting heads, sleepless nights, hurt feelings, and shear threats with the help of his MOTHER and her friends, he graduated.  I am forever; thankful for the friends I have whom treat my children like one of their own.  Evan was even sent to GA with my friend, Teresa whom is a Professor to escape what was going on here and she assisted in forcing him to do homework.

He received his diploma however; he did not walk across the stage.  He could have walked but, he had to ask permission.  He told me that he didn’t want me to ask, so I didn’t.  I wanted him to walk across the stage.  He deserved to be there, he needed his moment to shine & hold his head up high.  Truth is, I wanted my moment as a Mother too.  Now that it has come and gone, I honestly get it.  I get why he didn’t want to be there and I’m content with it.   Evan has always been a passionate, sensitive and caring person.  Truth is he was hurt & he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of him having to ask for permission.  I can’t quite put it into words but, if you knew my son, you would understand.  When Evan is hurt, he retreats and he shuts down & becomes self destructive.  Evan is definitely his mothers son.  He is so much fun yet he is stubborn and head strong and likes a good fight.

7-20-02bdaypartyEvan        20131204_111355        IMG_0203 

How can I even begin to describe Evan?  He’s a challenge in every single way.  He is unique and spectacular.  I am fine with Evan not being like everyone else and not following the path laid down before him, it’s who he is.  He needs to make a new path no one has ever traveled.  He is a daredevil who believes he is invincible.  He would absolutely try anything once.  He is the life of the party and you can’t help but smile when he is around.  He loves EVERYONE until they do something to him or someone he loves.  He is loyal.  Evan will cuddle a baby, play with little kids, bond with anyone less fortunate than he, lead anyone with limitations for he knows we are all equal, hang with people his own age, visit those older & help the elderly cross the Street.  He is a young man who does not recognize AGE.  Evan is gifted with that ability.  Evan loves being in the water and on the beach.  He is naturally good at everything & I mean everything.  I love to hear him sing but, my joy is watching him dance.  He is loud in everything he does (he gets that from me too).  He has the heart and courage of a lion.  Who knew my second child would be the light the world needed, the light I needed?

When Evan was little, he was into everything.  He was always on the go and always wanted to do everything.  He would actually go until he just fell asleep in all sorts of positions.  This kid talked in his sleep and he also sleep walked.  I believe he never had an OFF button.  As a child he was obsessed with power rangers, being outside and just having fun.  He played many sports over the years.  Tennis, basketball, swim, baseball, football, wrestling and was even the mascot.  He loved going to camp and being around animals.  If he could bring them all home he would have.  He had an interest in plays at the Youth Civic Theater at the Library and continued doing this throughout HS and participated in HS plays.  I truly believe this is where he belongs.  Evan is naturally athletic and most things come with ease to him.  There is something about him being on stage that just has me in awe.  He has this charm about him and it just sets him apart from others.

IMG_2212547604006342012 9-17 Evan #65 special wave to mom

At the end of the day, I have to step back and let him find his way.  That’s what I do … I step back and let Evan be Evan.  He is the baby, he is the last one I get to experience things with.  I won’t see another child graduate, he completed the circle.  My son has received his diploma and I am so very proud of him for staying the course!  Son you are my second born, while you weren’t the first to make me a mother, you made me a better one.

Evan and I have a wonderful relationship & I am blessed because of it.  I have much advice to give; but, no one has that kind of time.   Instead I leave you with this.  You are special, you aren’t suppose to be like everyone else & I encourage you to be you!  Continue with your amazing qualities while growing.  In growing remember age is just a number & things are just that, things.  Eventually, you have to find something to focus on, put all your heart and soul into and use everything you were taught to use to make it work.  Dedication and determination while being a good human being is all you need son.  Take care of your body you only have one.

 

“Forever Young” by Greg Dwyer

Its ambiguous as to whether he’s a figment of the boys imagination, or the boys a figment of his, but in truth they’re the same person at different ages.” – Greg Dwyer

I know the video is long but, I made this for his graduation.  Enjoy if you have time.  It’s 18 years of many wonderful events, and memories with Evan.  I can honestly say that it is wonderful to watch it and remember the bonds of his youth.  It is also tough to see the change in people, including those who are no longer with us today.  The only guarantee in life is change.

Eian graduates HS

I have been mentally preparing myself for this moment since my son became a teenager.  I have listened to others along the way say how difficult emotionally it was for them to realize their child was graduating.  That they would leave the home and go out into the world and do their own thing.  Over the years, I made sure I was there every step of the way, for each and every milestone.  Going into class with you and watching you learn and make friends and see how the Teachers loved you, is something irreplaceable.  You were very popular in school and always always had the girls chasing after you.  Some of the best memories I have are from your youngest years in school.  The bonds and friendships that you made with classmates, Teachers and other parents.  I truly felt that when this day came, I would not be able to contain myself or my tears.  I mean you are my first born child.  Eian, you taught me everything about being a mother.  Eian was actually an easy child, it was a smooth process until his teen years anyways.  It’s kind of funny too because Eian is the child that I almost died giving birth to.  Who would have thought?

Eian has always been my story teller.  The one who liked to pull pranks and scare people.  Trust me over the years he has pulled c2         some pranks that have not made me happy.  The kid has almost caused me to have a stroke many a times with these pranks.  As a child he always wanted another friend with him & he was always pretty private.  He has a giving heart but, he chooses not to let others know about it.  He has a taste for the finer things in life and yet he is simple.  He is a soft and genuine young man.  He is rational & gentle yet has the strength of a warrior.  He was not built for giving up on anything.  He has a dumb look that always makes me chuckle and he doesn’t even realize he is doing it.  His snicker is well just that a snicker, not a laugh and it’s cute.  He is quiet yet social.  He wanted to play and be a part of every sport possible.  You can’t play everything.  He played basketball, soccer, was a fantastic swimmer!!  He was a strong football & baseball player for both Frankfort & Clinton Prairie.  He is naturally skilled athletically.  Rest assured – I was his biggest fan!!!!  We had the rowdiest section in the stands – my friends and his friends made it LOUD & Eian never disappointed the crowd.

swim  2012 9-14 Eian #5 CP vs Delphi up close

One thing you may not know about Eian is his faithfulness.  Eian keeps his feelings to himself and sometimes he just likes to stir the pot for fun.  However; question his faith in God and you will see just how loyal in it he is.  He remembers me reading the bible to him and I am pleased to share our love of Lord together.

 

He has a very sick sense of humor and thinks it’s hilarious to talk about poop and farting.He likes to wear hats, go fishing, drink beer and play games on XBox, Playstation and or whatever it is he plays now.  Eian is naturally good at everything he does.  I remember the first time we went ice skating.  I could barely keep my balance & he and his brother both were skating backwards before I made it 1/4 of the way around the rink.  He was a fantastic swimmer in school and yet he doesn’t really like being in the water.  He loves listening to music and is a country boy at heart.  He didn’t always want to do his homework nor attend classes but, he managed to figure it out.  He also always says to me, “mom why didn’t you let me play hockey, I would have been great at hockey”?

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As a child he was obsessed with fire fighting and the Military.  When he was little he wore a fire uniform & road around on a fire truck power wheel, his Grandpa Bill even installed a pole in his garage that you could access from the loft just so they could slide down the pole.  He loved airplanes and talked about the air force non stopped.  When our family friend Tim Simpson joined the Army Eian began talking about the Army.  Our Bradford family friends whom we were very close with, moved from state to state due to different duty stations & I think that finalized his thoughts of where he wanted to be in the Military.  He goes to bootcamp soon after graduation to become a soldier.  He has been very patriotic and I have no doubt he will excel in whatever he chooses to do.2014 Open House Front Army Invitation

One of his favorite movies if the 5th Quarter.

Who would have thought my first born would be so perfect.  I got to experience motherhood for the first time with you.  You were my first in it all.  Eian and I have a special bond that can never be broken.  I have many words of advice but, no one has time for all that.  So, I’ll leave you with just a few.  Set your goals high, don’t allow anyone including yourself tell you there is anything you can’t do.  The only limitations you have are yourself.  Dedication and determination while being a good human being is all you need son.  Take care of your body you only have one.

Here is his graduation video.  If you have time to watch, enjoy.  It gives you an overview of his 18 years with myself and all his friends and family along the way.

 

 

SHMILY

Mom traveled from Ohio.  We celebrated on Saturday having a cook out.  All of her grand children were there.  With that said, the following day … Sunday I did not see my oldest son.  Instead, I received only a text stating Happy Mother’s Day.  Very much disappointed in the system for this huge error.  I was told that his father already had plans for the two of them to have dinner together out of town.  I had received a message from the Department of Corrections as most of you know Eian is on house arrest for underage drinking.  So, could anyone please explain to me why DOC would even leave me a message stating it was okay that he be out of town when he is on house arrest?  Not to mention, is there any one or any thing more important on Mother’s Day than that of a child being with his Mother?  Pish Posh to the system and to his father for once again being a selfish man.  Not that it matters who it was with, he wasn’t with me which is shameful!

Evan however; made Mother’s Day comical as always.  I had called him to wake him, he was still asleep at 10:30am.  He said he had a few things to do and needed to be up early….really.  He calls me at noon, mom where are you?  I am at my friends, why?  Well, I thought when you called me you were upstairs, so I went upstairs and you were not here, so I just needed to know.  I said, I am actually heading home is there something you need.  Yes, mom I am hungry.  Okay, great cause a double cheeseburger sounds good to me.  I pull up outside of the home.  Evan is dressed and standing patiently on the side walk.  Putting the car in park, I look over at his huge smile.  He raises his arm in the air  & says to me …. STRETCH IT, it’s Mothers Day, I am chauffeuring you around.  I laugh, and he walks over, opening the door & giving me a HUGE hug & kiss saying, Happy Mother’s Day.  He says, so where shall we eat?  I am not into fighting the crowds and since we had a wonderful cookout yesterday, I’m good with … and before I finish he says, just sit back I shall surprise you.  We pull into the drive thru at Milky Way and get tacos.  After that he said he would weed eat the yard later and just let me relax.  He was off to shoot some hoops.  I went home, did a load of laundry and relaxed until he called wanting a ride to play football.  He plays football for fun with men.  He told me after the game today that there was a new guy from Indy and he was like 6’3″ and 260 lbs, big guy and he tackled him.  He always just cracks me up.  Then we stopped at one of his best friends home.  He went inside and woke her up to give her a hug and tell her Happy Mother’s Day.  She said she was in tears.  Her son, Chris called me wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day later and said I would have came to visit or got you something but, I am kind of grounded and it made me giggle.  These boys have been friends since they were 5 years old.

Going through some of my things, I located a list of 10 reasons why Eian loves his mom.  Mothers Day collage

The list makes me smile just re-reading it.  It is all 100% accurate and my favorite part is that he wrote in cursive.  You will notice that he mentions where I work & that I always call him from work.  As he grew, he enjoyed going to work with me.  One time he was really ill.  I could not bare to leave him at home without me.  I brought a sleeping bag, pillow & placed him on the counter top behind me & allowed him to sleep right there in dispatch with me.  These were the good ole days.  Dispatch was under staffed & they would rather me bring my ill child then to call into work.  You were the best little sick kid a momma could ask for.  I also located this typed note Eian wrote me a few years later for Mothers Day.  You were at my job, and you cut out several hearts from our scrap paper :: notice the COPY, SERVE AS COMMANDED on the hearts.

You typed the letter and told me that there was nothing more than hearts in the hand made enveloped & that I needed to not mind the words on the hearts.  My heart swells with pride as I remember always being there for you, always loving you, always enjoying your little moments, always putting your needs ahead of my own.

I also located a hand made card from Evan.  The funny part about this card is that both Eian & Evan were very much intrigued when they found out that my name was not Keona Michelle Stidham.  When they found out that I use to be Keona Michelle Shelley, they just found it funny.  So, they began calling me Keona Shelley sometimes.  If we were in a place where lots of moms were, that was their favorite time to yell Keona Shelley.  They knew if they yelled mom … everyone would look.  So, in this card Evan wrote the card to his mom, Keona Shelley … his spelling of course is much more humerus.  And after Matt & I divorced, I had discussed with them taking my maiden name back.  Evan stated, that is fine mom we will just change our name to Shelley as well.  I chuckled & stated it doesn’t work that way, I chose to keep the name for my children.

My mother wrote me a letter telling me about how she came across a story of a couple who use to use SHMILY on everything they wrote to one another.  She stated that they would write notes and sign it this way, or write it in the fog of the mirror, write it with the ketchup on top of the meatloaf.Whatever came to mind.  SHMILY stands for See How Much I Love You.  After mom sent us this story, she began using it when she would write to us all.  Matt & I began using it as well.  We shared it with our boys.  I would write them notes in their lunch boxes with SHMILY, it would be on their birthday cards & anything else for that matter.  Matt & I basically made it a tradition to use for our entire family.  I am grateful that my mother shared it with us.  After Matt & I divorced, Eian would still use SHMILY (& still does).  I did not mind that he used it however; I could not bring myself to use it as Matt was no longer a part of my family & this was something we shared as a family, as a whole.  So, I wanted to find my own phrase.  It wasn’t long after that – I started using YBIMHA.  It stands for You Will Be In My Heart Always.  It is a song in the Tarzan movie, it was one of Evans favorites, mostly because of the music, his eyes would get so big & his smile the biggest I had ever seen when he was younger & this song would play.  Even better because Evan & I argued about the song, I said it states You’ll Be In My Heart Always & he said nope it does not say Always ….well, he was right.  So, with me being wrong, I decided to add it as a special touch between he & I.  One that we were able to communicate, two that he was right, 3 that I was willing to admit I was wrong.

So, this is something I plan to carry on as a tradition with my boys FOREVER.  Many people see it on my fb posts & I have had several inquire about the meaning.  A relative, Jenny Kochert & I actually had a genuine conversation about it, the meaning & where it came from.  Our conversation reminded me of my Mother’s letter & she inspired part of this blog.  Hopefully, she has used one of the phrases herself or has created her own, as I think it is spectacular to have in a family.

I have many things I want to pass along to my boys as a Mother.  My love for music, especially the golden country tunes, George Jones, stories about our family growing up.  Most importantly I want to pass on the love that their father & I shared at one time.  We created those boys out of love, they were planned, they were wanted & it was all 100% real.  We were devoted to them.  We were raising them properly in our home, attending First Christian Church as a family & doing things together.  We were involved, we worked together, we were a team.  We showed them what a relationship & love was suppose to be like.  We have many amazing letters, poems, gifts, videos, photos, & memories.  I want to leave my boys with this part of our marriage & life.  I want them to remember that part of their father & I.  Not the part they get now, as it is not always pretty.  While I tried in every way possible to find a way to make us be friends & communicate.  Sadly, it just is not happening.  For reasons unknown to me, although I have my suspicions of the influences.  No matter the reason, this is one way for me to show the boys that I did everything to make it better & for them to REMEMBER the good & the love.

It is very necessary that I point out some inspirational women in my life while growing up.  Without these women I would not be who I am today.  Darnell Marcum, Annie Buser, Brenda Cottrell, Jamie Kochert, Debbie Crowe.  Darnell allowed me to see what a family was & how they were suppose to be, together, surrounded, supported.  Annie whom is now the boys Godmother guided me through HS, she saw me for who I was and somehow always knew when I was down, & would reach out to me.  Brenda raised me like her own daughter, giving me the chance to stay a part of the Shelley family when I could have been put in foster care.  Jamie showed me there was more in life.  More than what you have, that you don’t have to settle, that there is reward when you apply yourself, put forth an effort, and stop having excuses.  She showed me that there is so much in this world to explore, and I want to see it all.  Debbie, showed me how to accept someone & love them as your own child.  She also showed me that we are stronger than we think & that we can manage to over come even the worst.  She showed me the value of being a Mother & through a pain of her own, how NOT to allow a moment to pass without cherishing your gifts & what you have.  Other women/mothers have inspired me in others ways.  Mostly showing me through their own experiences; many things that I do not want to be as a Mother.  Not to be jealous of a relationship my son may endure.  Not to challenge that relationship.  How to support my son even when he is wrong while still being honest with them & letting them know they are.  Not to be a person who says one thing and does another.  When push comes to shove; I may have to show my son(s) that I am their Mother not their friend & if we’re lucky & their seed grows properly as it was planted, we will be blessed enough to be both.  To never lie to my children.

You’ll Be In My Heart ~ Phil Collins

Timothy 1:5: “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”                               This quote allows me to remember while I seem strict & my teen may be angered & believe my punishment is too harsh.  That one day he will be rewarded with the understand knowledge that I provided sound instruction when it was difficult & chose to be his Mother not his friend.  That he will thank me one day for it.

There are few things more satisfying than seeing your children have teenagers of their own ~ Doug Larson

A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be, A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be. ~ Frank Howard Clark