Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!

Graduation Ruminations


                I hardly know how to talk about this without dragging out overused clichés and maudlin meanderings of the mind.  “What’s a mother to do?!”  My baby is graduating from college tomorrow. Never mind that “my baby” is actually a happily married man with an adorable baby of his own and a home and a good job.  He’s only 23 and I still want to know how the years passed so quickly!

                 The first time I felt like this was when Matthew, our oldest son, graduated from high school. I was stunned at the speed with which his school days had passed. That was a big part of the reason we decided to home-school Monica and David.  If the time was going to pass that quickly I wanted to be in on more of the fun! 

                   And what fun we had!  Delight-directed education. We turned meal planning and grocery shopping into math lessons. Reading books aloud every time we were in the car…  playing Scrabble and calling it “spelling”…and of course, we did a fair amount of “real” school work. 

                    One of my favourite home school memories happened exactly ten years ago. One morning a Modesto city employee came to the door and asked us to move our cars because they were going to be trimming the trees on our street.  Thirteen-year-old David asked if he could go out and watch them, but I said “No, we need to get started with school.”

“How about if I watch them and write a report about it?”  (The kid was so sly!)

                   David went out and introduced himself to the tree trimmers and asked if he could interview them and take a few pictures.  The men were very accommodating.  David got their address and told them, “I’ll send you a copy of my report after my mom grades it.”

He did send a copy of his report to the Modesto Urban Forestry Department, and about two weeks later we got a call from the City Manager’s office.  The report had been forwarded to them and they asked if David could come down to City Hall and speak with someone in that department.  We were so excited!  Apparently someone wanted to publish David’s paper!

Sitting down with the City Manager’s Assistant, she told us what she had in mind.  They were looking for a young person to write a series of articles for “City Pride, Citywide” an insert that went into the Modesto utility bills every month.  The articles were to be about all kinds of city issues from a “child’s” point of view.   Would David be interested? Would he!!!!

 That interview grew into an amazing opportunity for David.  For the next three years he wrote an article every month.  He wrote about a hamster that was rescued from a storm drain, and how storm drains work. He interviewed our friend Chuck Bergquist, a firefighter. He went on a police ride-along, visited a waste-to-energy plant, the water treatment facility and wrote about all kinds of parks and recreation issues. And much more.  It was home-schooling at its best!

And tomorrow he graduates.  “My baby” has grown up.

                   Even though John and I have technically been “empty nesters” for a few months now, this feels like some kind of rite of passage into that place.  The last little bird is off in full flight.

                     Matthew, with his brilliant mind, and no love for school is a successful journeyman electrician. Monica graduated from Liberty University with honors, and has a great job and a bright future. And tomorrow my baby will walk across the stage and get his diploma from CSUS

Mission accomplished!   ( Now bring on the grandkids! )


Author: paladinipotpie

Welcome! My name is Andrena Paladini and this is a blog about family and love and faith and fun. I call it Paladini Potpie because a potpie is like an adventure in a crust. You never know what might come up, but it’s always going to be good! Think of the best potpie you’ve ever eaten…hot flaky crust holding a rich savory sauce and all kinds of pieces of meat and vegetables…and who knows what? As a family, we’ve chosen to live within the parameters of God’s love and protection. This is the crust of our Paladini Potpie. The crust never changes. Within this crust, the savory sauce of family love binds it all together. That is also fairly constant. But beyond the crust and the sauce we can add just about anything! Good ideas come our way and we’ve adopted and adapted them to add to what John calls our treasure box of memories. These stories and ideas from John’s treasure box of memories are the ingredients I’m putting into our Paladini Potpie. (Okay, so this ridiculous mixing of metaphors about treasure boxes and potpies is exactly what I’m talking about. Silly and ungrammatically correct. But both illustrations work… so we’ll mix them together and it’ll be just fine!) John and I have been married for 30 years. Our children have wonderfully doubled in number since David married Amanda, Monica married Dan, and Matthew married Sarah. And the newest little treats that have been added to our potpie are six adorable grandchildren - Ethan, Angelina, Nathan, Audrey, Maleia and Caleb! I hope you’ll subscribe to my Paladini Potpie blog, and keep up with all the fun new ingredients I add. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our stories and ideas, and find something you’ll want to put into your own potpie! Bon appétit!

11 thoughts on “Graduation Ruminations

  1. I loved homeschooling. It really did give me excellent opportunities in life. It seems so surreal to be graduating college and it feels like somehow I haven’t gone far enough and I am cheating by walking the stage. The saying, “the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know” is totally true. Master’s here I come. And btw you have grandkids already!

  2. You have made me cry for 3 days in a row. Litterally cry. sitting at my desk on my lunch break with a sandwich in had and tears running down my face.

    I love you, mama bird!

  3. I remember seeing that article with my $48/mo City of Modesto trash and water bill – and the many other articles that followed. It’s been a joy, Andrena, to watch your children grow, closely at first, and over the years from afar. May the Lord continue to bless your ‘quiver’!

  4. I going to school for four years to be an electrician doesn’t count.

  5. This is is sweet.

  6. That article sure brings back memories! This is a great time to say how proud we are of David and all that he’s accomplished. The same is true for Matthew and Monica. The same is true for you and John! You’re now card carrying members of the IMF. (Insert Mission Impossible theme music here.)

  7. I guess going to school for four years to become an electrician doesn’t count.

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