Reilly's summer is rapidly coming to an end. He's visiting a friend in New England for a few days, then back for a couple more days of work, some packing, and we're on I-95 for the trip back to Long Island and NYIT . He's had a great summer, structured by him to suit his taste. I guess that's a good thing, even if our agendas didn't always match up exactly. If I asked him to grade his summer break, I think he would give it an A+. My grade would be a little lower, maybe a B-, but it has exceeded my expectations in some ways.
I look back at the manifesto I wrote in the spring, and the tasks I set for us, and I'm a little discouraged at what wasn't accomplished. On the other hand, my worst fears weren't realized and Reilly stepped up to the plate in some surprising ways.
Here is our report card:
The job: A solid A. It seems to have gone quite well. Reilly worked the front desk at our neighborhood pool, checking people in, answering the phone, making announcements. He loved it and the manager said he did a good job. Just as I was suggesting to Reilly that he have the manager write him a letter of recommendation, the manager got fired over some dispute with the board of directors. Actually, two managers were fired and a third quit over the firings. Reilly took the shake-up in stride and got along well with the temporary manager hired to finish the season. For his part, Reilly managed his schedule very responsibly, never missed a day, forgot a shift or was late to work. He got himself up and ready for work mostly on his own, though he didn't always get as much sleep as I thought he needed. He worked some extra shifts when asked. He found the lifeguards entertaining, and seemed to have a pleasant attitude on the job. I gave him a ride to work most days, but he happily walked home on the few days that I was too busy to pick him up. All good.
Hygiene/personal grooming: Always a sticking point, I give him a C-. He did shower willingly on days that he worked, often preferring to sit with his own stench on his days off. His sensory sensitivities still make him reluctant to brush his teeth or shave. And I don't know what his antipathy to deodorant is all about. Maybe his future wife will whip him into shape in the grooming area. I'm going to have to give up.
Sleep: From my point of view, a C. See job section above. When he had to work a 9 a.m. shift, he moved his bedtime back from his usual 3 a.m. to maybe 1 a.m. Some days he was eating breakfast while I was starting to think about dinner. The only thing saving him from a failing grade in this area is that he did get himself up and ready for work when he needed to. His sleep patterns, while far from ideal and personally annoying to me, didn't really cause a problem for either of us.
Citizenship: Maybe a B-. Reilly maintained a generally sunny attitude during his summer. There were a couple of meltdowns when our agendas or expectations clashed. I took exception to his wardrobe choices when he was getting ready to take the train to New Jersey to see a friend, and I enlisted Reilly's sister, Brigid, to help me convince him to change clothes. He screamed at both of us, but eventually gave in and changed. He completed his weekly chore of taking the trash out for garbage day, and toting the cans back in, without much nagging on my part. He didn't actually do his own laundry, but folded it willingly after I took it from the dryer. I got too busy with a new volunteer job to spend much time getting him to do other chores, so I share the responsibility for this grade. But he cooked his own breakfast a few times, making egg and cheese tortillas one day and French toast another day (with some help). He was generally flexible and easy-going on a family vacation, with only minor conflict with older brother, Ben. Kudos to both of them.
Physical Activity: Grading him on this one would suggest there is something to grade him on. Slim to none. Except for walking home from work a couple of times.
Social Life: A-. While he didn't seem to make any new friends this summer, he socialized a fair amount with old friends from high school and current NYIT friends. He successfully traveled on his own (the aforementioned New Jersey and New England trips), or partially on his own (the New York trip to see his girlfriend). He went to an amusement park with a high school buddy, and even rode a roller coaster! He went to the movies frequently, sometimes with buddies, sometimes alone. He was a great traveling companion to me on our family reunion trip.
Extra Credit: Reilly earned an A+ for his reaction to our loss this summer of two beloved, and very elderly, cats. They were littermates, adopted when Reilly was 4 years old. They got sick and died within three days of each other in July. Reilly posted memorial pictures of Cinnamon and Oreo on Facebook and grieved their passing entirely appropriately, better than his Dad (who had no childhood pets and takes these things exceptionally hard).
Reilly goes back to NYIT for his second year on September 3, and will help with new-student orientation. He's excited about the new year, and has been talking about the two for-credit classes he's taking: Public Speaking and Criminal Justice. I'm excited for him, and looking forward to my empty nest again.
Wish us both luck for smooth transition!