Our family relocated to New England almost three years ago. I moved here first, spending almost three months solo while Sue sold the house, the kids finished school, and I dove into a new job while looking for a place to live. We knew that moving the kids at this point was risky, but that better schools and an overall better environment was worth the trade-off. The other major driver was that my company was going under fast and, as the primary breadwinner in the house, needed to secure a job with a company that actually had a future. Taking a couple of young adults that had spent their entire formative life in one area and dropping them in a new town 500 miles to the north was going to be tough on them.

The move has been very good overall. We’ve adjusted to the extreme weather changes, the school system, and the fact that three years later, we are still the “new” family in town. At least we thought we had until this week.

Our daughter is having her Junior Prom this weekend. She is incredibly resilient when it comes to finding friends and developing bonds with those friends. She has been the primary support for a few of those new friends since she didn’t have any of the history that comes along with the majority of these kids growing up in the same small town (3 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school). Most have gone to school together for 11 years now, she joined them 9 years into that journey. As with many American towns, there is a portion of high school kids that drink and a portion that smoke weed. There are also a portion of kids that do neither – mostly because they have decided not to (not because there isn’t ample opportunity). Our kids are both in the “do neither” camp.

So with the prom comes the inevitable after prom parties. There will certainly be both booze and weed at a bunch of those, and likely a few serious automobile accidents. To help “protect” our daughter, we told her a month ago that she could hold her after prom party at our house. We would clear out the beer from the fridge and the booze from the basement bar. The kids have access to the in-ground hot tub, the TV, food, and a place to crash. Keys would be collected and they could have a great time. All in all, about 25 kids were expected to show – that is until late this week.

It seems that being the “new” family in town meant that parents didn’t know us, so were stepping in and rescinding their kids’ previous acceptance and redirecting them to different parties where they knew the kids. At least one of those parties will have booze – the kids have been told to “smuggle” it in – but that is apparently not a concern to some of these parents. You see, the parents have known each other for 11 or more years, so can overlook the transgressions of the kids because of this history. So even though the party here will be safe and the kids will have fun, the parents have determined that their kids won’t really be at risk elsewhere because of the history with the host parents – good, bad, or indifferent. At some level, it would make sense if we had the same history, but at another level, it sucks for my kid being in the house that simply doesn’t have the history here. The real rub is that the former “friend” of our daughter is really nothing but a bully, manipulating the situation so she is in control. The parents of others are completely blind to the bullying that is going on.

So we’re dealing with our child facing the reality of having a very disappointed prom evening – and leaving a bad set of memories for her only high school prom. The one thing that she has going for her is that in less than two years, she will be in college, at a campus where the playing field is level once again. While our daughter is the ultimate survivor, I wish I could wave a magic wand and make this high school crap just go away.

On a final note, my wife said yesterday that this was the first time she regretted moving north. While there would have been other issues had we stayed in Virginia, this simply wouldn’t have been one of them. We were established with a large group of friends – parents of our children’s childhood friends. Here, we’re still the new family in town, even after three years.

It’s two days after Christmas, and the family is all in Georgia visiting my mother in law. We’re in Northwest Georgia, basically we are about 10 miles south of the Tennessee border. We arrived via an 18-hour drive from New England. I believe that this is the single longest drive I’ve ever taken in a single, non-stop trip. Certainly, I have driven further over a multiple-day drive, but 18 hours in one day is very draining. The worse part was that I slept for only a few hours the night before leaving, then almost none in the car. I don’t sleep well (or at all) in cars or on planes. You’d think that I could find a way to get comfortable, but it doesn’t happen. So, we arrived exhausted, ready to collapse. We did, and after a solid night’s sleep, were refreshed and ready to start visiting.

It’s been cold here, as should be expected in late December in the mountains of Georgia — no snow, just a heavy frost on the car windows each morning. Sue got to see all three of her brothers this weekend, including David who lives in Florida and whom she hasn’t seen in many years. Late yesterday, my nephew showed up with his kids – peers of my own kids. They were instantly having fun. Today, after most got a good night’s sleep, they should have the opportunity to burn off some much needed energy. They haven’t see this family in several years, although the eldest (Alex) and my daughter have started chatting quite a bit via Facebook. It was an instant bond when they saw each other – and the hug was quite genuine!

We had quite a meal last night – 9 adults (ranging from 45 to 87) and 6 children, ranging from (3) 17-year olds to 12. I was glad to neither be the eldest nor the youngest! I had never eaten beef wellington before – it was very well prepared, but didn’t end up sitting with me well. I think the combination of very heavy foods and lack of salad-like substances, that my body is rejecting my holiday-eating patterns. We have eaten very well over the past year, so changing that pattern for more than a few meals in a row evoke havoc!

So far, the vacation has been a good bit of work, but all worth while getting in some visiting that has been long overdue, and never knowing when it will be the last time, is being embraced. At least my dog is getting spoiled with all of the attention!

It is really hard to believe that our son is starting to visit colleges. As a high school senior, the time is now. This weekend, he is visiting two colleges in Vermont, and stopping by a third to get a good view of the campus of a much larger university (my wife’s grad school). Jake and his two closest friends have come a long way since they started in kindergarten together. There is so much for him to do, and so much for us to do. We need to look at finances, logistics, and to help guide him into making the best decision he can.

The summer has seemingly come to an end. School started for the kids this week, and Sue and I went to our first College Info meeting for Senior parents. Lots of great information was presented by two of the school counselors, and we got to meet the new high school principal. Jake’s main counselor is very familiar with Sue, but I finally got to put a face to the name I’ve heard for over a year. She is just as nice as I have heard.

The information was presented in a very organized way, making the overwhelming info into a sensible format. That said, I am really glad that Sue is the organized one that will be helping Jake get the paperwork completed. I’ll input the financial information, but Sue will get the rest done with Jake’s input.

Kaite is home and resting, with her leg elevated and iced, doing exercises every TV commercial (she is NOT allowed to fast forward through the TIVO’d ads!). For the next 48 hours, that is the prescribed treatment.

She had a plica band which was causing the majority of the pain. A plica is a band of dense scar-like tissue that occurs normally in many people. It is left over tissue from when the knee was developing prior to birth. We always knew she had a little something special! This was removed since it’s location was preventing her knee cap from doing it’s thing. Since the plica band had acted up, the IT band (a group of fibers that run up the outside of the thigh) had positioned itself so that it was pushing her knee cap out of position. This was surgically released to allow the knee cap to re-align itself correctly. Which should allow her ankle, knee and hip joints to re-align eventually. She was great and really held it together throughout. I am so proud of her — and she did far better than I ever would have done (I’m such a baby about such things).

She has pain meds for as long as needed, has crutches for as long as needed, but has already put weight on the leg. She will have physical therapy tomorrow (Friday) morning and will keep up with that for another 6 weeks or so to re-build the muscles again. The bandage comes off either tomorrow or Saturday and then she can hop in the shower – she seems opposed to the yellow of the Betadine as an accessory color!

There are no stitches. It is an amazing thing.