Archive | May 2012

It Takes a Community


Tadd, his parents, and his host parents at his college graduation party

It’s high school graduation party season. And it doesn’t just involve ham sandwiches, potato salad and cake. Guiding our teens toward good choices, again, but this time one that will, hopefully, be a choice that cements them in one place for four years and boosts them beyond for a lifetime. These are big decisions. Then, we’ve got to get them through it. They do experience difficulties along the way.

Tadd called home early in his first semester. He was taking a required English course, his least favorite subject, and had a writing assignment. He was to select his topic from a list provided by his professor. He was asking my opinion, keeping in mind he was required to use three different sources for this paper.

As he was reading the subjects to me over the phone, mentioning some vague topics that the professor probably offered for students who actually liked the class, I was getting concerned. There were a few I thought may be okay to try…and then he read, “the future of electricity.”

I interrupted him from reading further, “That one, Tadd, that one!”


“Because your Grandpa Kvanli used to be an electrical lineman before he retired. You can call and interview him and he will know a whole lot more on that subject than either you or me,” I explained.

“Oh,” he responded, “cool.”

And then I didn’t hear anything about it for several months. On another phone call I finally asked if he wrote his paper on the future of electricity, and he responded, “Yeah. Grandpa helped a lot with that. I got an ‘A.'”

My role as his mother was shifting. I was no longer required to be his daily, hands on helper in his life. For one thing, he was growing, maturing and seeking to achieve things that weren’t within my capabilities. And, I realized I couldn’t always help, but I could direct him to people who could.

During this first semester, Tadd also signed up to have a host family from a church in the area. This family would have him over on Sundays for a hearty, home cooked meal. They would attend his saxophone concerts and join him for ice cream, a McKeown family tradition, afterwards. And, most importantly, they were there, in the same city and state he was in, when needed.

One day Tadd called his dad with a car problem. My husband responded, “Call your other dad.” Marty was unable to help him ten hours away, his host “dad” could be there in a few minutes.

We all worked together to get Tadd through college.

In this graduation season, as we slap the backs of those grads and say, “Well done!” we must also clasp the hands of those that walked the journey with us and thank them for a job “well done!”

Thanks to all those who helped (you know who you are!) and thanks, Mark and Marian. You made the journey a little easier.

This entry was posted on May 31, 2012. 5 Comments

Some Miracles Need a Mom

When our fourth son was two years old, we were told he’d probably never speak and most likely have to be institutionalized. Today he is a college graduate. How can this be?

In the 2nd chapter of John, Mary approaches Jesus at the wedding in Cana. She tells him, “They have no more wine.” His answer? “Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” Jesus had no intention of performing a miracle at that wedding. Whether Mary gave her son a ‘mother’ look all children dread or she had unrecorded words with him, we don’t know. Jewish women are stereotypically notorious for emotional outbursts. Perhaps she had one at that moment. Something like, “You are in your 30’s now! Don’t you think it’s time for your ministry to begin? You come to the house, bring your 12 friends, expect me to cook and clean for them, and you can’t do this one thing for me?”

Mothers. They are so emotionally tied to their children. Always pushing for the best.

It can be to our children’s advantage. Mary ultimately changed Jesus’ mind. (Think on that for a moment!) Her son, the Son of God, fulfilled her request by turning water into wine. And it was the best.

When our son was diagnosed with autism, the dreams we had for him flickered. We discovered during our parenting journey many skills, one of which was stronger faith. We worked in faith, endured with hope.

We worked in faith we would be able to discover why, as a toddler, he screamed so easily at seemingly inconsequential circumstances. We did.

We endured in hope he would eventually sleep through the night. He did.

We worked in faith he would be able to learn in a regular classroom. He did.

We endured in hope he would progress sufficiently to function in society. He surpassed all our hopeful expectations!

Mary went to Jesus expecting a miracle, we as parents can do the same. Sometimes we need faith and endurance to live in our circumstances, but when our circumstances seem overwhelming, is it a miracle when we allow the Light to guide us out of those dark circumstances? Go to your Lord, expect a miracle. Push for the best. Work in faith, endure with hope.

This entry was posted on May 10, 2012. 7 Comments