Wishes for my kid’s fall semester

betty ming liu Relationships 7 Comments

So today, I’m here shamelessly campaigning for my kid’s video from her summer camp experience. She was in Tanzania doing community service, helping to build a school in the village of Njoro.

In July, when Gabi caught a flight out of JFK International for her life-changing trip, she left as a somewhat spoiled 17-year-old kid who had all the comforts of suburbia. Seventeen days later when I went to pick her up, she was a much more thoughtful person. She loved being around the little children and seeing how other folks lived. At last, she also said she really appreciated her high school! My baby seems more self-aware now too.

But she is still a spoiled kid from suburbia with a messy room who drags her feet when I ask her to help with the dishes. Let’s not even bother to ask her to help vacuum the house; what a waste of my energy and breath.

One way I know that Gabi had an incredible time — she just made a video about her vacation as part of a competition hosted by the summer camp company,  Rustic Pathways. The camper who takes first place gets Final Cut Pro editing software. There are other also giveways for the runners up  (a Kindle, etc. etc.).

But my daughter says she’s not doing this for the prizes.

Then, why?

“Because I want to win,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said.

Well, this passes for a really interesting conversation in my house. Maybe you’ll help me keep the good vibes going…

Can you take an excursion to YouTube now and watch her video, “Tanzania: the Faces of East Africa?” And if you like it, could you hit the “like” button underneath the video?

Gabi took all the pictures in the video herself — I’m very proud of her photography. I would normally embed the video here (what’s below is just a pic) for your viewing pleasure. But today, I need you to click on the link so that you can get to that all-important “like” button. Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/wQoarR-8y7Q

As a parent, it’s thrilling for me to see motivation of any sort and I’d like to encourage the passion. She has just started her senior year of school. My hope is that she has a lot of fun discovering more people and things that she cares about, and that she has a lot of fun.

And…what about you? If you have a kid in school or are in school yourself, would love to hear about your back-to-the-classroom memories for Fall 2012 — and your wishes for the season.

Thanks again for sharing on every level.  xo



Comments 7

  1. Hi Betty!

    What a great video. 10K thumbs up, although I could only give one.

    So…I also made a video this summer. In response to USA Swimming’s rendition of Call Me Maybe, our swim team did their own version. You have to watch it on a laptop though. YouTube thinks I am stealing rights from Carly Rae Jepsen.


    We had a summer filled with swim meets as Kai made Jr Olympics in 50 back and 200 IM. Then the summer seemed super short and the girls went back to school on 8/23. We had it very good from K-3 with Kai and now 4th grade is totally academic. They have a week long assignment to write an essay. Huge reality check. It’s been a tough lesson for Kai to learn.

    Happy back to school!

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    Jackie, thanks for the like. And thanks for sharing your link — so this is what your do with your kids at the pool. What fun! Btw, I remember Gabi’s transition to fourth grade very well. You’re right, this is when they start to hit the books for real. Good luck and glad you had great summer. :)

  3. You couldn’t have posted this at a better time!
    My son just started middle school and it is quite a ride for all of us. I am so proud of him and excited that he gets to attend the school of his dreams and that he is working hard to adjust to the transition and has made some cool friends. I think I have to adjust as much as he does because it is a whole different world. He’s attended public school all of his elementary years and is now in a private school. Almost everything is different, but in a good way.

    His school has an international focus, so he meets students who have lived or travelled all over the world. He was issued an iPad and a Macbook to use for class and homework for the next 2 years. For the first time ever, he raves about the school lunch and tells me he goes back for seconds of tofu, pasta, pizza or sandwiches. He said the food is ”high class” and is his favorite part of the day next to the art classes, which he waited for all summer to see what they were like. The art studio was why he wanted to attend the school in the first day. He was excited that the school had a cake and ice cream on the first day. Me, with my inferiority complex tendencies that surface wrestle in my mind with whether or not he will feel comfortable around students exposed to so much culture and wealth or affluence. He just sees kids. He feels he belongs there as much as anyone. (He is pushing me for the iPhone 5, since most of his classmates already have iPhones).
    I don’t want him to feel any different, so the challenge will be to not pass on my ideas or struggles with self-worth to him. I want these years in middle school to be a time where he discovers and explores and continues to do his best. I want him to find himself but not lose any of himself in the process.

    Betty, he’s been a real trooper. Waking up early and losing a little extra sleep so that we can get there on time. (We commute by bus and train from Brooklyn into Manhattan). He was so excited the day of orientation, we were an hour early! Today was tough for us. I have been taking him and picking him up the past few days. This morning, I rode the bus with him and walked him to the train station for him to take the train by himself to school. It was the first time he’d ever been on a train alone. He was teary-eyed when he hugged me goodbye at the turnstile. The lump in my throat was too hard to ignore, so I followed him down the stairs to the platform without him knowing. I saw him sitting on a bench, crying, waiting for the train. My heart sank. I rushed over to him and he leaned against me and sobbed. He shook his head, ”I don’t want to go.” I fought back my tears-or tried to as best as I could. I held his hand until the train came and we said our final good-byes. I reminded him I would be thinking about him and that God and angels were watching him and could be where I couldn’t be. He told me he would look at the directions I wrote for him on index cards, which were in his backpack. He boarded the train, took a seat and put his head down as the doors closed. He picked his head up just as the train pulled out and looked at me. His eyes were red and glassy behind his eyeglasses.

    I felt weak, almost faint. When the train was gone, I burst into tears. I walked ot of the train station almost hysterical and calmed down to walk to the bus stop. I calmed down a little, but cried the whole ride back to our neighborhood. I was squeezed in on the crowded bus, but barely knew what was happening around me. I kept telling myself to get a grip, but it didn’t work. I walked home crying and looking at the cell phone to see if he called. He finally did around 7:50 a.m. to tell me he made it to school and was sitting in the middle school lounge area. He sounded so different. I thought intsead of making him independent, I had robbed his independence. He told me he cried the whole ride on the train, but found his way to the building as soon as he got out. He said it was scary, but he was okay. I should have reassured him then, but I was crying into the phone like a baby and apologizing. He excused himself to go wash his face. When he called me back, he said he would be okay and that he was with his friends.

    I want my son to be courageous and manage these adjustments as best as he can. I want him to grow up, but not rush. I want him to discover and find who he is without losing his personality and values at the same time. I want him to find his way-to school, that is, without getting lost. And be alert and stay safe. That is my hope, wish, prayer for this season.

  4. Post

    Charlotte, thank you so much.

    And Laura, a compliment from a filmmaker like you is exciting. Thank you! Btw, I love Gabi’s music too. She found it on the GarageBand program that came with her Mac.

    Now for Skye….oh, it’s so scary to let kids take NYC mass transit on their own! But you did it, Mommy! Give yourself some credit — you had the good instinct to follow him down the turnstile, to make sure he was all right. And when he wasn’t, he could cry on your shoulder.

    This really is a rite of passage. I remember my parents showing me how to take the subway myself. And then, when Gabi was old enough to take the train down from the ‘burbs into the city on her own, I showed her a few times, followed behind her a few times, and then let her do it on her own.

    I join you in your wishes for your son. He has a really exciting year ahead. And with you there by his side, I’m sure it will be a 2012-2013 year of great joy.

  5. Pingback: Giving thanks: you helped my kid’s video to win! | betty ming liu

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