Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pictures of Joy!

My life is full of joy, I've got six children,  how could it not be? And this last weekend I learned that some joy can not be dampened, extinguished, or even dimmed a little bit by others in this world that would rather live a miserable existence then share in or celebrate the joy. 

Joy is one of those things you can clearly see in a picture. But I know from experience that the amount of joy does not always shine through.
My oldest, in July, after getting a bow and going bow fishing for the first time ever. He actually said "this is the most accomplished I've ever felt."  You can see the joy on his face... he was thrilled. Dad and I took a little step back at his words, he is after all, starting his final year at West Point. LOL

Joy can be seen in the eyes of a mother looking at her brand new baby girl.

Ok maybe that isn't joy... just exhaustion. LOL

 How about dad looking at his new baby girl?
That's better. The joy of a new baby... gotta love it. :) I wish I'd gotten more of dads smile... hard to tell here, but he's beaming as always. :) See what I was saying about the amount of joy seeping through? That baby girl, she is my youngest, born 20 years after the oldest.

But this last weekend, none of us could hide the joy. It was a big weekend after all, the weekend the oldest got his class rings. 
Ok, here again, this picture is a great example. We are all very joyful, but do you see that Kidd there in the middle??? He is absolutely beaming. As he should be. Jokingly dad asked him how accomplished he felt this day, jokingly the Kidd said back "almost as much as the fish"... ha ha.

His rings, well earned, he worked hard to get this far. He works hard still to make it 8 more months to graduation.
Not that he did this on purpose, I know that is not the case as I actually reminded him of my birthstone after the fact, BUT that ring on the left... a ruby with a diamond inset. My birthstone is a ruby and his diamond. And after realizing that I thought that is perfect, this young man, this one who is training to go to war if necessary, this one that has been the first in so many things will always dwell within my heart. As do all of my children, but he is the first, he is the oldest and he is the one who now walks his own path, in contact with us, but away from us, without us. It is a hard thing for a mom. But on this weekend, there was nothing but joy and pride.

There were other forms of joy as well. It's called a Ring Run, or Ring Poop. After the firsties get their rings they have to go through cadet area to get back to their rooms. This is where they get swarmed, literally, by the plebes who have just been through the shock and awe of beast barracks (basic training for those entering WP), and the first weeks of classes. And these plebes get to let off some steam, but first they have to memorize the poem.

"Oh my Gosh, sir/ma'am! What a beautiful ring! What a crass mass of brass and glass! What a bold mold of rolled gold! What a cool jewel you got from your school! See how it sparkles and shines? It must have cost you a fortune! May I touch it, may I touch it please, sir/ma'am?"

It's hard to hear the poem on the video because as you see several firsties walk in at the same time, each firstie is treated to their very own group of plebes. It's fantastic to see the looks on their faces. These are all young men and women who have committed to train to be soldiers, in one of the most difficult schools in the country. They are all very capable of "serious" sometimes to an extreme. These moments, traditions will sustain them, push them on to the end. I admire all of them tremendously. 
The plebes? They have a lot of fun with this. The firsties have a lot of fun with this. Firsties are able to opt out, I did not see a single one deny the plebes of their steam letting. They remember, I think, just how stressful those first weeks at West Point are.

Our oldest, the Kidd I call him, wanted us to know he appreciates us (not that we ever doubted) but look at the gifts he bestowed on us...
 In a beautiful box for sure. With their class crest, Forever one team.

 My necklace, gorgeous! He has always had good taste in jewelry. I always said he'd make a wife happy someday with this talent of his.

Dads tie tack. Beautiful as well. :) Both were fantastic gifts.

And along with that he took us on tour, giving us a bit of history of West Point, where he has spent that last three years. We were treated to several events, they have each precisely planned and the traditions are such that they have them down pat as well. It was amazing to see how quickly they handed out rings and bling to 1100 cadets.

Yes, this weekend was full of joy, and full of pride and we were surrounded by other families who were soaked in the same. It was contagious.