It's been awhile since I gave a general update on the Jones kids, and now seems an opportune time to send out another one. . .
1F has been making steady progress ('steadier' at some times than others, but overall, the trends are all positive). She's been back in school for the past couple years, getting good grades, and slowly getting her head ramped back up into 'Academic Mode'. This semester, she's taking two classes, so she might actually finish her degree before she's 40. Her choices in men have also trended upward, although not quite to the level that Molly and I might have hoped for, just yet. Her last beau was a decent-enough guy, and treated her like a queen; he's also a 40-something divorcee who doesn't have his driver's license just at the moment (and you can read between the lines on that). Mostly, Molly and I would like to see 1F develop a stronger sense of her own self, apart from what any man thinks of her at the moment. She just recently moved into a house of single 20-something women from our community (including her sister), which is probably a good move for her. . .
2F is doing really well. Since she got back from Detroit, she's been working in the campus outreach that our community runs over at Mega-State U, and really enjoying it. She enjoys working with the college kids, and she really enjoys her friendships with the other staff. I know she'd like to get married at some point (there's the small matter of getting a suitable fellow to actually 'court' her, but, you know, all in good time), and Molly and I would like to see her finish her degree (just, you know, for the sake of having that done, and in her pocket). But on the whole, she just seems really happy right now.
3M is still pretty much scuffling. He has the sense that he really could, and should, be doing better than he is, but his own lack of self-confidence keeps him from aiming higher, a lot of the time (some low-grade 'mental health' issues haven't helped in that regard). He's been living with his girlfriend for the past year, which we're not very happy about. But she's a nice enough young woman, and takes good care of him. The longer they're together, though, the more it seems like they're both sorta feeding each other's 'issues'.
4M is newly off to college. Well, not actually 'off' anywhere; he's going to the local community college (on a full-tuition scholarship that will feed him into Mega-State U, if he keeps his grades up), and living in the basement apartment at home (when we bought the house nine years ago, that was one of the nice attractions of the house - a place where our college kids could be at home, but still have 'a place of their own'). The transition is the occasion for some anxiety on his part - he senses that he'll have to knuckle down on his schoolwork more that he ever had to in high school. But that's an entirely appropriate, and salutary, realization for him to arrive at. . .
The hits just seem to keep coming for 5M. He was promoted to the varsity football team in the middle of last season, and ended the season as a starting linebacker. So he was eagerly looking forward to this fall's season. But in one of the first practices back in August, he stepped in a hole, and ended up requiring knee surgery (I mean, come on - it would be one thing if he'd even been hit; but stepping in a hole? sheesh), which means football will have to wait for his senior year. Poor kid. But, he's mainly taking a pretty upbeat approach to it; he took an after-school job (since, what the heck, he doesn't have football practice), and is enjoying having money in his pocket. Still just a great kid. I hope he can maintain that when the world is buffeting him full-strength about the head and shoulders. . .
6F is a high-school freshman (freshwoman?) this year. And that is freaking me out, just a little. She has always been my 'Little Peanut', and getting my head around the notion of her as a high-school student has been quite a stretch. She seems to be doing OK, choosing good friends, and all that, although her tendency to be absent-minded and a little air-headed ends up causing her parents more heartburn than they'd hoped for. She's also developing a first-rate, 'Princess-level' case of teenage snottiness. Lord, have mercy. . .
7M is a sixth-grader this year, which means middle school. Lord, have mercy again. He has actually done some significant growing-up in the last year. He's as emotionally intense as he's ever been, but he's learning to do better at controlling himself when his emotions flare. Right at the moment, he's playing four musical intruments - piano, trumpet, recorder, and he's just lately taken up the guitar. When he's bored, or stressed, he'll just kinda rotate through the cycle, from one instrument to the next, and then start over at the beginning.
And 8M is still the youngest. And still a chatterbox. He's growing by leaps and bounds right at the moment. Like his just-older brother, he's showing some signs of brilliance (Molly and I recently took him to a restaurant, and his meal cost $3.99; out of the blue, he said, "If I had two of these, it would be $7.98"; yeef). We'll see where that ends up.
Not much to report on my own behalf, right at the moment; I just passed 1000 miles on my bicycle for the year, last weekend. And, as of this moment, I'm still employed (and being paid!) by HugeMassive Corp., which is no small thing.
And that's the State of the Joneses, more-or-less up to the minute. It's nice to not have so much of the crazy drama and intensity that we had a few years ago. With eight kids (and, for the time being at least, it's still 'only eight'), just normal everyday life is plenty. . .