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December 30, 2010

Hectic 2010 Remains So…

Joan Marie Aquilino

Do I wind up 2010 or predict 2011, how about a little of each? This has been one whirlwind of a year for my daughters and me.


Rachele welcomed her husband back from Iraq at the beginning of 2010. He left within months of their marriage and returned just shy of their first anniversary. No sitting still and basking in the light of a new marriage or feeling sorry for herself. Not my Rachele.


She returned to Frederick Community College while he was gone to obtain a second Associate of Arts degree, and then immediately enrolled in the Mount Saint Mary’s University’s Criminal Justice program.


Working and school full time, plus a new marriage all in a 24-hour day. What a full plate she has and I’ve never seen her more exhausted or excited. For one that deals with dyslexia and spent many years not knowing what was wrong, she’d gone from struggling to just stay above the water line to now getting honors in college.


Once you have faith in yourself and being around those who support you, it’s amazing how much can be conquered and accomplished. I’m so very proud of her. Rachele has shown me how to conquer both fears and imposed limitations, turning what others say can’t be done into goals and accomplishments.


She is the perfect example of faking it until you make it, a family motto we all strive for on a daily basis at times.


Coleen, my oldest, gave me the best gift ever for my birthday this year. She told me she would be home for my birthday December 18 and would be staying through Christmas day; I had not expected to see her until August 2011, nearly 13 months. Taking her back to the airport at 4 A.M. on a very cold, unpredictable winter morning, December 26, was a difficult drive to say the least. Her not wanting to go back made it even more difficult.


Parents will be able to relate to this one: it’s difficult enough supporting something our children want to do and we aren’t sure of – now try encouraging something they don’t want to do and you want them to do even less. Now, do that and keep a smile and positive thoughts and words rolling off your tongue as if you mean every word you’re saying.


One of my more difficult tasks, and I hated every single solitary moment of it, was giving those warning ‘Mom evil looks’ to anyone who might even consider giving me a moment of support, or a word of encouragement. I needed no sympathy because all my energy was going into keeping a false front up for Coleen.


It’s not like there was a choice, she had to return to complete her obligation; but the biggest part is she was meeting her best friend, since kindergarten in Delhi, and they were going on a two-week tour together. Coleen has been living and breathing this trip for nearly a year now. She wasn’t going to let Laura down, no way. All of her emotion was coming from very little sleep in a 48-hour time frame.


And, oh, it gets better. She left Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport on time (which we were fearful of because of the threat of snow), and arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare on time. That is where things went array.


She was stranded in Chicago, (not because of the snow here but because of dense fog in Delhi, India) until midnight, 15 hours after arriving. While this was going on for Coleen, her girlfriend was in New York waiting for her connecting flight to India. These two lifelong friends were planning a trip of a lifetime together for the next two weeks, touring India.


Well, we know how things went for those in New York awaiting flights on Sunday and Monday of this week. Poor Laura was caught up in that mess and God only knows when she’ll get out. Last I heard she was scheduled to leave for India at midnight on the 27th, more than 36 hours after her initial start time. With luck she’ll arrive approximately. 14 hours later and only one of their adventures will have been missed. Their trip to the Taj Mahal will have to wait for another time but there is a Camel safari ahead of them still.


Continuing with their other adventures and ending up at Coleen’s apartment in Chennai, India for a shower, dinner and then a return trip to the U.S. for Laura. Coleen will remain behind for the next eight months fulfilling her teaching commitment and – I’m sure – taking advantage of many side trips during weekends, breaks and the month or so after school ends in June prior to her return to Frederick. Join me in following her adventures on Coleen's Blog.


I’m about to start my own adventure, having been offered the position as Del. Kelly Schulz’s legislative aide. I won’t bore you now, but I’m sure this new position will give way to much fodder during the next three months that I’ll want to share with you.


I’m hoping to take my ‘Just Joan’ show in a new direction, giving those of us in Frederick a better, more upfront look at the happenings in Annapolis. Many of us are up close and personal with our local government, and I hope to do the same with our state government. The more we know, the more power we have in affecting change in government.


Before I go I did say I’d do a little predicting for 2011 didn’t I? Okay, here it is, tomorrow will be Friday, and Saturday will be a new year. I expect to see many of you Thursday, January 6 at the first annual Kelly Schulz’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner from 6:30 to 9:30 P.M. at The Morningside Inn, 7477 McKaig Road, Frederick MD 21701. Call 301-788-9532 for reservation and cost.


. . . . .’til next time . . .


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