Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. ~J.D. Salinger
I can’t believe how long it’s been since I released a blog post. The end of January. Yikes! I’ve thought about it, then got sidetracked or ran out of time. Where have I been? Bombarded with work, that’s where. Marketing has kept me a pretty busy lady. But the bigger question is, what’s Kyle been up to?
Let me give a monthly recap.
I really don’t remember what went on in February. At least nothing so monumental that it warrants a call out. We didn’t have much of a winter. When snow did fall, I asked Kyle to go snowboarding, but my invitation was quickly declined. He had other plans. (Probably nothing) He stated that he still likes snowboarding but wasn’t interested when asked.
Originally, I wanted to take Kyle and a few of his friends to Seven Springs. However, the way the snow landed, or lack there of, I wasn’t given much notice to plan a trip to the slopes. Personally, I want to see if Kyle remembers how to snowboard. I also want him to feel comfortable again on the mountain without fear of him hurting himself. I guess there’s always next year. Maybe I’ll plan a trip out west. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden any real mountains and Kyle’s never had the chance. Making a mental note.
Again, another month without the steady presence of Kyle. I do miss my little man. This is in such contrast to when Kyle was a youngster. He was around all the time. I could count on him to answer my calls, my text messages and even Facetime me, talk and hang out. He never passed up an opportunity to do something fun together. Actually, it didn’t need to be fun, he was game to do anything as long as I was there doing it with him. (Yes that included cleaning)
It just goes to show, appreciate what you have when you have it. I guess fifteen is the rejection age. Although, this has been going on for about a year and a half since he was thirteen – fourteen. Now I want to know when will it end and I get my buddy back? Of course, I wouldn’t want to hang around a family that yells and argues all the time either. I know he gets enough of that at home.
Holidays are always a great excuse to see friends and family. Kyle can’t escape hanging with his aunt for Easter.
A Saturday in either March or April
I got a call that Kyle wanted picked up. Great! Did I mind it was last minute and I had to change my plans to accommodate him? Never. I was excited to see my guy.
As recent history dictated, Kyle was quite on the ride. When I asked him questions, he either shrugged his shoulders or gave his typical answers, “Good”, “No”, “Fine” or “I don’t know.” Good talk buddy!
As we were driving to my parents house to visit, I got a great idea. Knowing Kyle would be turning sixteen in July, I thought I’d surprise him with a little driving lesson. For a change, we weren’t in a hurry and it was a lovely day. Why not?
I pulled into the cemetery near my parent’s without informing Kyle of my plan. I put the car in park and got out and walked around to the passenger side. Kyle began to freak out like he was in trouble. I definitely sported a snicker. I opened the passenger door to find Kyle getting defensive and not willing to leave his seat. I told him my plans and his response? “But I’m not sixteen yet, I’m not allowed to drive.” Kyle was always like that, never willing to break the rules, no matter. My reply? “Do you think you should wake up on your sixteenth birthday and be allowed to get behind the wheel on the highway without a little practice? Besides, I’ve already had you driving since you were little.”
Believe it or not, Kyle argued with me. What kid does that? Most teens would be all too excited to take the wheel, especially with me, who’s not going to freak out if he hits something. I did mention, “This is where I learned to drive, of course I drove a stick on the hill. But it’s a good place, no one’s around and everyone’s already dead.” He gave me an uneasy look. “The most I’ll have to do is owe someone a new headstone, so try and stick to the road.” I was graced with a smirk for my candor.
After a little attitude, I got Kyle to drive. I enforced using his turn signal (good habit) and showed him other basic car features.
He was pretty steady, although, Kyle did give me a fright when he approached a turn, that if not addressed properly would have resulted in us flying down over an embankment. He was going to make the left turn but he was moving a bit too fast (not that he reached 10 miles an hour, but it was still too fast for the situation, especially a first time driver). I grabbed the oh S#@$ handles and used my imaginary break. My actions received me a full blown smile from my young driver. Let it be known I never yelled.
As we began our decent down the grade, after he made the bend without launching us over the side of a cliff (large gully), it resulted in another sharp left turn. This one I wasn’t so worried about. The most Kyle could do was run into the grass. As we approached the turn, it went something like this:
Me: Better go slower.
Kyle: I got it.
Me: Left turn signal and you better slow down. Cut your wheel sharp at the bottom.
Kyle: (He used his turn signal) I know.
Me: Kyle, you’re going to run off the road if you don’t go even slower and tighten your turn.
Kyle: I’m good.
Me: We’re going off the road.
Kyle ran off the road mid turn into the grass. No damage but I did give him a look of listen next time.
Kyle: Oh, I guess we’re off the road.
Me: Umm (I wasn’t mad in the slightest, infact I started to laugh at his funny expression)
Kyle chuckled and did as I instructed to give a little gas as to not dig up the grass. He got back on the road and continued.
We ended up doing a couple loops around the cemetery. The second, he clearly showed more confidence and skill. He did a great job. I even had him pull onto the road and drive into my parents driveway. More to come regarding Kyle driving.
Friday, April 15, 2017 – Sunday, April 16, 2017
Easter weekend. We actually got Kyle on Friday, which was a nice surprise. Me, Dad and Kyle caught up on our Fast & Furious movies, watching the marathon on television. True to Kyle, he turned out all the lights to create the optimum movie watching environment. It was a nice relaxing evening. My sister came in late Friday night with Acorn. The house was alive with activity.
On Saturday, we got up early for the first day of fishing. Me, Dad and Kyle went to Kingston to fish our limit in trout. We caught a few rainbows but mostly brook trout. I was stuck cleaning a majority of the fish. Kyle did lend a delicate hand, but he’s still not a fan of guts and blood and reluctantly assisted. Dad sat there and critiqued my fish gutting abilities. Although, I’ll give Dad credit, he did scale the rainbow.
Fishing was a blast, I saw Kyle smile and enjoy himself on a number of occasions. He even put his phone away to focus.
Funny story. Dad caught this HUGE trout, I mean BIG. I’m surprised it didn’t break his pole. We added the fish to our cooler of ice along with the other catches.
Kyle happened to be standing by the cooler when all of a sudden the monster sized fish, that was on ice for at least fifteen minutes, tried to make its escape. The fish jumped out of the cooler. (Yes the lid was closed and it still was able to project itself out) Kyle jumped. He thought I threw something at the cooler, I was startled, thinking Kyle knocked the cooler over. Dad focused on his fishing and only gave us a curious glance. When Kyle looked down to see the behemoth fish flopping around, the truth dawned on us. We looked at each other in shock and began laughing. Kyle’s hands were full, I believe he was reeling in another trout, so I scooped up the slimy vertebrate and placed it back in the cooler. It was a great fishing day! (Secret: I’m still the worst fisherman in the family. Dad remains at number one and Kyle is a close second. I’m by far last, even after Nicole.)
Later, after we cleaned up and ate, Nicole, me and Kyle went to the movies to continue where we left off the night before with The Fate of the Furious, the most recent movie.
Earlier, I cornered Nicole to suggest we leave early and head to the cemetery for a little more practice in a different vehicle. I said, “Just pull into the cemetery and don’t say anthing.” Nicole giggled and was excited to join in on this milestone.
Once Nicole put the car in park, Kyle smiled knowing what she had in mind. Without insidence Kyle changed seats with his Aunt. I was in the backseat like Driving Miss Daisy. In fact, Kyle seemed exctied to be practicing. He did better than before and Nicole’s SUV is a lot bigger than mine. Great practice.
We had a good time at the movies. Hearing Kyle laugh out loud totally cracked me up. His humor lights up my world even in the middle of a dark movie theater. Those moments are most precious to me. He has a great laugh. It reminds me of his Dad’s. Even the way he rolls his eyes, or grins, I see Ryan.
Would you believe Kyle ordered his usual, the Miss Piggy sandwich? It’s nice to see some things never change. He is definitely a creature of habit. Now I have to get him out of the habit of ignoring us and we’re all set.
Once Sunday rolled around we went to church and came home to grub up. Kyle stayed for most of the day before asking to leave. I took him home.
While heading out to the driveway, I ran past him and darted for the passenger side. Kyle stood there stunned. He said, “I can’t drive all the way home.” Oh, goodness no. I told him I wasn’t suicidal. I wanted him to practice backing out of the driveway. If he can master mom and dad’s driveway and then my Uncle Walter’s, he was good to go in reverse.
While backing out, he snaked the straight path slightly, but overall did a great job. On the one side of the driveway is the front yard, no big deal. However, on the other side, it slopes down into my Uncle’s field. To reassure Kyle in case of a lapse in reverse judgement, I said, “Don’t worry, if you go down over the bank, you won’t be the first, Pappy did it with the Honda once.” That cracked me up and Kyle seemed relieved. He tried to use the turnaround at the bottom of the driveway, but I wouldn’t let him. I wanted him to get a feel for looking both ways, pulling out onto the road and not running into the ditch. He drove us partially off the ridge back to the cemetery where we changed roles.
On our ride home I busted out laughing. Curious, he asked, what? I said, “You back up better than your Aunt Nikki.” He found humor in that very true statement. My sister backs out of the driveway live she’s trying to purposly miss the road, and she’s been practicing since before she was sixteen. I guess she’s pretty consistent too.
Another true to form, Kyle fell asleep in the car. He did that as a young tyke and is taking up the habit again. I don’t mind. I’m still hanging out with him, even if he is unconscience.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
About mid-day, I get a call from mom telling me Kyle called and he had a band concert that evening at school, which is over an hour away. A little inconvenient, but I was excited he called to inform us, knowing I’d be upset if I missed it.
I shut down work early, canceled my evening plans and got ready.
Kyle was first tuba chair! What a pleasant surprise. AND he was wearing a tuxedo! He looked so handsome, I just wanted to squeeze him and never let go. (That would have been when hell froze over, the day Kyle would let me do that, especially in front of all his friends and their parents.)
I enjoyed the evening of music and special honors for the seniors. I came home with a permanent smile on my face. Seeing Kyle simply made me happy.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Mother’s Day, which also marks the weekend of the Annual Planinsek Fishing Derby. The kids are permitted to fish from sixteen years and younger. Kyle has one more year.
He didn’t want to stop up for the bonfire on Friday night but requested we be there for 7:00 am breakfast. I believe we made it by 7:30 am since Kyle had a hard time getting up. He is certainly going through a growth spirt and he needs to learn to go to bed earlier.
He had a nice time fishing and playing dodge ball with the kids. I enjoyed socializing and relaxing.
At the end, they fill picnic tables of toys and stuff for the kids. I wasn’t sure if Kyle wanted me to purchase him tickets or not, so I did. The first couple of times Kyle’s name was called, he took a variety of items, then he began to give away his turns to his cousins, Grant, Olivia, Piper, Owen, Lilia, Hailie, Mattox, Caleia and Kelsey. That was nice seeing Kyle think of them. Not only that, he also walked each child up to the table to help them pick out a prize. Kyle’s a good kid.
Another funny story. Kyle insisted he wasn’t going to be cold, even though it was chilly in the morning and the ridge is always colder. Just in case, I packed an extra hoodie, socks and a change of cloths for Kyle. Next thing I know, I saw Kyle zipping up the extra hoodie, that is until the sun peaked around noon. When it comes to dressing and preparing for the weather, he never listens.
Monday, May 29, 2017
Memorial’s Day. I was asked to chaperon the parade in Vandergrift for Kiski Marching Band. Looking forward to seeing Kyle, everyone was asking me where he was. I honestly had no idea. I texted him and surprisingly he anwered me back. He was sick. I felt bad and offered to bring him ice-cream. He declined. I missed him terrribly.
June 25, 2017 – June 29, 2017
This was Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s Week of Fun trip. Where to? Iceland. Kyle seemed pretty excited, or at least as excited as he gets. Nicole said they had a great time but it was cold.
Another funny story. Kyle is notorious for not being prepared for the weather, specifically the cold, as mentioned above. Before he left I asked him, “Are you good with packing? Did you need me to get you anything? Did you pack a pair of jeans and hoodie?” Kyle’s entire response, “I’m good.” Of course you are…
Nicole said when they got there it was around 40 degrees and the wind made it colder. She said it was at that moment Kyle, who was obviously shivering (although he would never admit to it) informed her that he didn’t bring pants, only shorts. Are you kidding me buddy? You were going to ICELAND. I’m guessing the irony had no effect on him. Nicole took our frozen package shopping and spent a lot of money to keep him comfortable. I guess we’ll forever have a funny story.
When they got back, Nicole told us about the unplanned shopping trip. I looked at Kyle half joking and said, “You suck at packing and being prepared.” Kyle shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t care. I suppose I’m okay with him not sweating the small stuff and I guess shopping for jeans was minor.
Over the course of the weekend, Nicole and Kyle shared stories about their adventures. I’ve always been happy to see Kyle explore the world and enjoy life. He definitely has the Piper travel bug. A good quality to have.
Now my rough timeline brings me up to last week. Kyle, my Mr. Traveler, was at Northwestern University. Yes, the college on the other side of Chicago. Why was he there when he’s going to be junior in high school? He’s smart.
Proudly, Kyle was informed that he was selected to represent Kiski at the National Student Leadership Council. Way to go buddy! Because of his interest in engineering, they outlined a select number of schools with that focus to include: Northwestern, UCLA, California at Berkley, Harvard Medical (biotechnology), Yale, Georgia Tech, Rice, American, Georgetown.
Kyle chose Northwestern. Why? I have no idea. The last I heard he was thinking about Georgetown. I would have chosen Yale or Harvard. Why not?
Kyle got to spend a week on campus touring the facilities and studying his chosen specialty. At the end he was to recieve a certificate of achievement and a letter of recommendation. How cool is that?
I tried calling him to see how it went. Nothing. Crickets. I hope he had a wonderful time. What a great experience.
Well, those are some of the highlights for the first half of the year. I also did some traveling to Salt Lake City, but only for work, nothing too exciting. This week begins Kyle’s week long celebration for his birthday. I hope I get to spend some good quality time with him. He’s a good egg and I love him to pieces.