Christmas 1995

Allow children to be happy in their own way,
for what better way will they ever find?

– Samuel Johnson

Each of the Hages has found some strange ways to be happy so 1995 has been the year of letting go what I think happiness should look like.

Rebecca, 22, has decided, after $30,000 and three years of Aerospace Engineering she no longer wants to be an Aerospace Engineer! She is going to complete the degree but is finding her work doing the Computer Aided Drawings for a NASA payload very much to her liking so is pursuing CAD as a career.

Those who bemoan their adult children’s perpetual presence in the home do not have a Jonathan, 21. Though playing piccolo and flute in a Denver orchestra, working and carrying a full college load he still finds it enjoyable to do most of the food planning, buying and cooking for the rest of us. His pursuit of happiness meshes with mine nicely.

Matthew, 19, graduated in May. We didn’t send announcements because none of us knew whether he was going to have enough credits until the day before commencement! He spent his senior year working two jobs to earn enough to go to Europe and Russia for four months. His priorities are clear. He is now at home, helping as needed, snowcat driving at Copper Mountain, and another delight to have around the home fires.

The district soccer championships were won due to Ruben, 19, and his teammate’s efforts. Watching him run is poetry in motion! He will graduate this spring knowing he enters the adult playing field as a champion. He has decided to put off getting married until he completes coursework at a police academy as washing dishes doesn’t seem to generate enough income to support two people.

Job Corps has been an answer to prayer for James, 18, who graduates this spring with a high school diploma no one thought he would ever get and job skills which will keep him employed. Cheating at cards is the closest he comes anymore to illegal activity. He is so “stoked” by his moral and academic successes he is ready to make the leap to college!

Robert, 18, has chosen a harder road. The legal powers that be decided he needed some down time to think. We are calling it “confinement therapy”. His alcoholic birth mom left Robert with a harsh legacy of fetal alcohol syndrome. In January he will get another opportunity to exercise good judgement.

Rachel, 17, and Rebecca left in May for a month’s exploration of Peru (skipping Rachel’s graduation). Their motto, “If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much room”. The girl who hates Denver because it is “too dangerous” climbed Huaynu Pichu, ate food she didn’t recognize, partied all night in Lima, fished for piranha on the Amazon and slept in an open hut on stilts! She is now at Adams State College in Alamosa.

A lot of kids move out after high school, Rachel and Matt, however, found merely leaving home was not enough. They immediately left the continent! Do you suppose they were trying to tell us something?

Jesse, 16, has chosen to move out of our house and in with his birth mother’s cousin, who lives about four blocks away. Though the events which brought us to this were traumatic it has turned out to be a win-win situation for all of us.

Each of the kids has had to weather the adolescent storms in their own way. Amber, 14, is a thunder cloud followed by sunshine, a hurricane amidst balmy breezes, spending long hours in her room. Her judgement of when to come out is excellent! She continues to do well at school, will be confirmed in the spring and contributes to my master’s degree by giving me lots of hugs and rubbing my back during my hours at the computer.

Corey, 14, went home to his family in April. Unfortunately it didn’t work out and his caseworker has placed him in a group home in Illinois because it was less expensive than returning him to us. Hopes and prayers didn’t make a difference. He will be OK. I’m not.

Public Service Company and Paul, continue in a close, rewarding relationship. The benefits of the streamlined management is that he has fewer bosses and more freedom, the downside is that there are fewer people to do the same amount of work. Yet, as a true member of Optimists, he remains optimistic and is generous with his good humor.

On June 8, 1996, watch the cosmos for fire works declaring I have graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. It has been a long haul, particularly as the more social workers I am around the less I like them and the more I appreciate those out in social work land who truly have integrity. Everyone is hereby put on notice that it is their responsibility to notify me the instant I begin to look, act or talk like a “social worker”.

1995 has been the year I have had to let go of the children I thought I was raising. In their place are wonderful people approaching adulthood with a style and personality, dreams and relationships purely of their own making. Their reality has shown me just how limited my dreams were. I am falling in love all over again!

And so Christ comes. If he had lived his mother’s dream he would have settled down and married a good Jewish girl. As it was, during his life and death he broke all the rules. He fell unconditionally in love with the reality of who we are and by his outrageous acts of charity changed the course of history.
Blessings & Peace Now & Throughout the Year,
Paul & Deborah