V for Very Soon


18 units of luck

Urgency Day 121

500 Things Item 376: An 18” Omen

  • History: Acquired by luck
  • Value: Free but significant
  • Parting Pain: Yes
  • Un-possessing: Bound for college

In 1998, when Sam was in kindergarten, I learned the ASL sign for sweetheart.

Hold up your two fists in front of yourself and make the thumbs-up with each; then, quickly bend each thumb twice returning to the thumbs-up position: Sweetheart.

Sam and I would discretely sign this to each other when he was standing in the line at Neil Armstrong Elementary School, waiting to go into Mrs. Kuhn’s A.M. kindergarten class. Sweetheart. Way better than a kiss from your mom but still containing the same protections and reassurances. Sam could send the sign without blowing his Pokémon-cool reputation, and I could return the sign without blowing his Pokémon-cool reputation.


That kindergarten class is this year’s graduating class. A few weekends ago, the Naperville North Class of 2011 held an all-night celebration, an in-school, locked-down party that lasted from 10 P.M. until dawn. They played and danced and ate and ate and “drank” and laughed and cried and ate. They shrieked over each other’s kindergarten pictures which were lining the halls. They let their carefully tended cool down and guilelessly celebrated their Impending Liberation.

The annual Alice Cooper fundraiser played: “School’s out for summer! School’s out for-ever!!”

Or, until August 25th. For Sam. Friends, we have a Decision.

But first… a quick word about luck. I wrote about luck a few weeks back, about how I carefully try to hoard my luck, waiting for important opportunities to summon it. At that party, that all-night senior-class grad party, I let my luck-guard down. As part of the parent-volunteer check-in process, they had us fill out raffle tickets. As you can imagine, it was very hectic with hundreds of wonderfully game parents checking coats and receiving assignments. Most of my energy was focused on the idea that I had to stay up until 1:00 in the morning.  One, ante meridiem. Panic was my state of mind, not vigilance.

I filled out the silly little raffle ticket. I won the silly little raffle prize.

I don’t mean to sound churlish here, but who would trade an 18” 3 hook shelf for say, the Mega-Millions lottery? Sure, it’s a cute enough shelf. But I cannot believe I reset my luck-clock for an 18” 3 hook shelf.

I’m trying to get rid of stuff, people!

And it was proved that my luck had been reset when we weren’t given the 72 million dollar winning lottery ticket on the valedictory college-search tour over the weekend.

“Oh, and where were we touring?” you ask. Connecticut and New York. “And where will we be attending college?” you ask.

Okay, it’s time. Our new sign, the sign that now makes Sam feel happy and proud and reassured is a V. V for Victory; V for Peace:

V for Vassar.

Sam is a Brewer. Go Brewers!

So as I knew it would, the theoretical countdown, the Urgency Counter, is now very real: Today is Urgency Day 121. Sam will arrive on the Poughkeepsie, New York campus (and a gobsmackingly beautiful campus, by the way) on August 25th, 121 days from now. V for very soon.

Back at the big grad party, I caught Sam’s eye in a crowd of happy faces. Before he turned to walk away in a line of friends, he winked at me and made the sign, the old sign: Sweetheart.

very soon very soon very soon


6 Responses to “V for Very Soon”

  1. Sydney Says:

    Happy tears. V for very, very happy.

    • sthibeault Says:

      Very many happy tears. Very many rueful tears. I love you for your steadfast devotion, my darling friend. Truly, it would have been sweet.

  2. Sydney Says:


  3. melanie Says:

    “V” for VERY sweet stuff. I had a tear-filled eye too. That Sam was the one who made the sign to you this time… so sweet. No better gift.

  4. Jan Says:

    Vassar – that is VERY exciting. I just had to search your website for where your sweet boy will be next year. Our dear friend went there and he loved it!

    YEAH mama!

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