Next Step

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My children love Berlin. Love, love, love it. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

While we were away indulging out wanderlust we were keeping track of the next steps we wanted to take in our lives but we were not about to let that distract us from having a good time. The news we had been waiting for reached us during our three-day stopover in Berlin. Kylie got several emails about grades, school and the scholarships she has applied for. From there we put things into place while we continued our trip through Europe. All the necessary information was forwarded to the schools the children wanted to go to so things would be in place when we got back home.

The trip became even more exciting now we got the news about the kids going to the schools of their choice. As we traveled we allowed the children to the take the lead more so they could strengthen their navigation skills in a big and times more complication environment. They helped each other, figuring out how to uses maps and find out information in a country where they didn’t speak the language.

“I’m really enjoying this mom,” said Kylie as she tiptoed and looked through the crowd to see more of the stalls set up at Kunstmarkt, a huge flea market in Berlin.

“There is so much history and culture here. I think going to school here would be a lot more interesting than the US.

Mr. Divine laughed at her remark. “That is probably very true. We can check and see if your university offers a study abroad program. Another option is to do your Master’s Degree or make sure your first job is in Europe.”

“Can I do that?” she asked excitingly.

“Yes,” Mr. Divine replied as she held his arm and looked up him in awe.

“It’s time for both you and Shane to dream big and discover the world. Strengthen your language skills and travel.”

The kids looked at each other and nodded. Their excitement visible. They both had their sights set on choosing a new skill they wanted to discover and develop, plus the fire to go after it. I can’t wait to see what language or languages they choose.

 

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Discover Europe

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Artwork and architecture on a building in Milan, Italy.

Mr. Divine has brought us on a trip across the pond and when we drove out of the airport we were all smiles. Yes, the kids and I were beach babies, but we also loved to explore and discover. Right now we are in London with its blend of old and new all hidden in countless nooks and crannies just waiting to be discovered. It called to use us to explore. First, we took a tour on an opened top double-decker bus all around the city. From that, the kids took a note of the places they wanted to revisit.

 

We visited so many spots. Somehow we got in more than ten of the must see places to visit. As we bid London goodbye, Mr. Divine took a note of our sad faces.

“Don’t worry. We’ll be back again soon,” he assured us as we boarded a fast train to Scotland. When we got to Edinburgh we took in the crisp, fresh air, eager for more to discover.  We started on the Royal Mile and just rambled. After several hours we had visited The Writers’ Museum, Queen Mary’s Bath House, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Victoria Terrace and of course the Scotch Whisky Experience. The next day we took a day trip to  Loch Ness that also stopped at Glencoe and the best part is that it allowed us to discover the Highlands. The vistas we saw were truly breathtaking.

The trip didn’t end there, in fact, it had only just begun. We spent the next three weeks roaming through Europe. First, we went to Paris, then to Madrid, across to Barcelona, a stop in Marseille to see the views from the Basilique Notre – Dame de la Garde. In Monaco, we went to Jardin Exotique and Palais du Prince. We continued ongoing from one major city to the next until we had seen most of Western Europe.

We had the most amazing time on that trip and the truly amazing things we saw changed our opinions and impressions of the world. I’m sure there will be other trips like this in the near future and I can hardly wait until we all go to another. Along with the discovery and adventure, we enjoyed the togetherness and uninterrupted family time. It’s an experience we will never forget and are eager to repeat.

Road Trip

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The beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

After the cruise, Mr. Divine decided to take us on a road trip along the West Coast. Restarted in San Francisco, riding around on the tram to check out all the hot spots. The view of the bridge was amazing and we took it in from three spots, Battery Spencer, Presidio Park and Mackenzie Beach. After that, we hit the usual spots, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. It was just the start and we couldn’t wait to see where we went next.

The kids and I spent the rest of the trip in joy overload because we got to see so many different places. We stopped off that Monterey Bay Aquarium and also took the time to do some whale watching. It was truly breathtaking to see those majestic animals in their elements. We visited Santa Barbara, Malibu and Los Angeles along the way and each spot was discovery and adventure amplified to levels unknown. Amazing and magnificent were such bland words to describe what we did.

By the time we got to San Diego, we were exhausted but happy. We checked out all the sights and by the time the final day of our trip rolled around, we were walking around with huge smiles. After all that driving we spent a few days in a lovely hotel just relaxing and being pampered. Kylie and I enjoyed several spa days and the boys went off and had guy time. Mr. Divine and I had some couple time, including a stimulating couples massage. My man truly takes care of me.

As we turned up at the airport I was kind of sad our trip was over. We followed Mr. Divine through the airport taking a spot and got some lunch. As we moved to catch our flight it clicked to me that I wasn’t seeing any flights to take us home.

“Honey, where are we going?”

“On the next part of our adventure my love. Time to discover something new.”

The kids were in awe and so was I. We were on our way somewhere else to continue our vacation and we could hardly wait.

Summer Fun

 

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Tell me we are going on a cruise and my cases are packed.

Oh Goodness me! I now realize how far behind I am about what has been happening so I’m going to try extra hard to get you, my amazing readers, back up to date about what’s going on. We all had an amazing summer even though things were in limbo. The issue that has us unable to fully sit, stand or turnaround, is that we’re waiting to find out about the children’s next step when it comes to school. To take our minds off for that complicated bit of information, Mr. Divine decided we should all go on a trip and indulge in some adventure.

The next thing I knew, we were packing to go on a two-week cruise of the Caribbean. It ended up being one of the most enjoyable parts of the summer vacation. Like I said, only one of them because my lovely husband always has something up his sleeve. Our days were spent going on various tours that allowed us to discover the most amazing locations. We saw so many unique places and discovered so much information about each island we visited, it captivated us.

Every day the kids were up early and ready to scamper off and discover. Sometimes we went out together or they would spend the day with the new friends they met on the boat. No matter what, we always had dinner together every night. I had some serious foodies for children and dinner was our time to try new things. It was filled with pure fun and laughter. Dinner was our time to talk and recap the day. We would plan what we wanted to do for the coming days and to seek out new adventures. Whenever possible, the children had to get in some beach time. They were true water babies and the beach makes them happy.

When that cruise ended we were all a little sad, but it ended with new friends and the potential for more adventure right around the corner. Let the fun begin.

On Notice

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I love to just to be with you. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

My trip to see Mr. Divine extended into the next week and as such, I had a deal with Lorna and each encounter was just as bad as the first one. If she wasn’t shooting me dirty looks she was dropping nasty remarks about how I looked and that I made her boss marry down. That Mr. Divine must have hit his head when he decided to marry me.

I looked at her and said nothing as she continued to try to make me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want her and her horrible attitude in any way connected to my husband or children and I planned to let her fashion her own fire to destroy her own career.

Recording what she was saying and taking it to my husband would have been easy but what was the fun in that. No, Lorna was going to be lead on a twisted dance called don’t mess with the boss’s wife cause she will rip you a new one. When I was done she wouldn’t know which way was up.

First I looked on the Internet to get a list of the recruitment agencies in the area then choose two and got started. One of my talents had always been the ability to mimic voices and after getting my throat warmed up I called my husband’s office.

“Good morning I’m calling from McHema Recruitment to discuss the candidates for the PA position you asked us to advertise for.

There was silence then a slow voice answered. “Job for a PA? Ahhh…I wasn’t aware we were looking for someone. Are you sure you have the right company?”

“Of course I’m sure. This is a follow-up call updating our client with regards to our progress. We have ten candidates we shortlisted and we want to discuss second round interviews.”

“We searched around individuals we had previously head hunted that are looking to switch positions. It was requested we move quickly as there was a time element involved. It there someone I can speak to?”

“Ahh…the boss is not here right now but I’ll give him your message.”

“Thank you very much. I’ll also call you again a little later.”

Lindsay disconnected the call and relaxed back against the lounge chair. Looking up she smiled as Mr. Divine walked towards her with two cocktails in his hands.

He put them down on the side table and sat down on the towel next to me.

“I know that naughty smile. What are you up to?”

“Nothing. Just stressing out you PA because she keeps being rude to me.”

“Lindsay,” he growled. “What did you do?”

“Make her think you were recruiting someone new for her job.”

He shook his head and gave her a rough kiss. “You are so naughty.”

“No, I just learnt to fight dirty. Now it’s to see what happens tomorrow.”

Mr. Divine settled back against her. “We’ll see.”

Results and Choices

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What is next for my amazing children? Photo by JodyHongFilms on Unsplash

With Shane none too eager to go to school here and talking about being near his sister, we have held off getting his school stuff. The tricky thing is that by the time Kylie’s results come back Shane should have started in school already. Despite that, we started to look seriously for a school for Shane and we found two which were just a few miles away from the colleges that Kylie was most interested in.

To set things in motion we decided to take a trip to see the schools we were considering. We did the tours and were very happy with what we discovered. Mr. Divine also did some online research to see if he came across any dirty little secrets that the school administration may be attempting to cover up. Whatever he found it seemed like it was enough that he took two of the schools off the list. Luckily the schools were not on the top of Shane’s list. So we are all good. We also found out their policy for late start of the term and discovered it was not a huge issue so that settled things for us.

Two weeks later we got Kylie’s results and along with her two passes from the year before, she has gotten another seven at grade 1 and 2 to go with them. Her coach was overjoyed and was on the phone back and forth talking to the colleges that shortlisted her. He then informed her she would have to wait another few weeks to hear back from them about her chances of getting a scholarship. Her coach also went on to explain that with her improved swim times he chances were even higher for success.

During the week after Kylie got her results, she sat down with Shane and they each talked about their choices to try to narrow down what schools that truly wanted to attend. When the information came in they were both on tender hooks, eager to find out what was the next step in their lives and we could hardly wait to tell them.

Already Missing Her

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Shane wanted to be near his sister when she went away to college. Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

I’ve been telling you about Kylie for the past few weeks but what about my darling young man Shane? He did amazing in his exams and as a result got into the school of his choice. He is happy with his results, but I don’t see any eagerness in him to start at this new school. He has been going to the pool with Kylie and much to my surprise had been working with her coach to increase his times and overall stamina. Despite all these things I’ve noticed that my son is quieter than usual.

Every day he talked to Mr. Divine and I saw a joy that took over my son whenever he had one of these conversations. He also seemed to tag along wherever his sister went. I noted that her boyfriend didn’t mind Shane being with them but I still worried about him always being around older kids.

One day when Kylie was out and he seemed to be playing on his iPad I walked by. What I noticed wasn’t a game but rather a website. Slowly I walked up to him. “Shane, what are you doing?”

He put down his iPad and gave me a sad smile.

“Research. I’m looking for schools for kids my age near where Kylie may be going to school.”

His words shocked me but I managed to keep it in. “You found anything good?”

“One or two but it all depends on where Kylie ends up going to university.”

“True, but even if you don’t go to school in the same state you can still visit Kylie often.”

“I guess,” he said with a sigh.

“If you want to go to school near Kylie you can but the school has to be more than just near Kylie. It needs to do the things you are interested in.”

Pouting Shane cuddled against my side. “I’m going to miss her when she is gone mom.”

“Anything is possible so don’t worry. We’ll start looking for proper schools for you so by the end of summer we will have a plan. So let me see these schools you are interested in.

Fishing Trip

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Anything is possible for my babies. Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash

From our trip to visit several colleges with Kylie last year, we go information as well as contacts of the persons who ran the sports programs and the chairs of the departments in the programs she was interested in. We had also asked her coach to do an evaluation of her performance in the pool and the potential for improvement. He told us that with her continual improving times she had the potential to gain a position on a college swim team.

It seems that her coach connected with the coaches at several of the universities with the aim to get her a scholarship and that has been going very well. With Kylie’s swim times combined with her grades so far she has been shortlisted. Right now we are waiting to get in her results to up her chances for a scholarship. For the time being, she has provisional acceptance to four colleges and she is excited.

Now the summer is here and Kylie has been having an amazing time. She has been spending time with her young man but since she has so much free time she has decided to intensify her training. More than once my young lady has come home exhausted because of the rigorous training she had to endure. When I asked her if she didn’t want to take it easier, Kylie assured me she has a reason for her new training regime. It seems she had talked to several of the international swimmers who came in to use the pool during their offseason and she took note of their training routine and was determined by the end of the summer she would be on par with them lap and distance wise. She is close to reaching her goal and we’ll know for sure by the end of summer.

Date Prep

 

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We found the perfect outfit. Photo by Artificial Photography on Unsplash

With permission granted, Kylie and her young man have chosen where and when they plan to go on their date. The plan is he would pick her up from our house to go out, then we would pick them up from where they ended up going to watch the movie. My young lady was beyond excited about the upcoming day, and after we had a talk and got a new outfit she became a lot more settled.

We got her a cute peasant top with blues and reds that she planned to wear with jeans or the new pants we got to go with it. When the afternoon came, Kylie came to me and hugged me tightly. “Help me get ready,” she begged, trying to keep her excitement under control.

“You’ll be fine. Go start getting ready and I’ll help you finish.”

She tried not to rush off to start but in truth she did and after about half an hour she came back dressed in the shorts and top we had bought.

When she stepped out of her room and walked down the corridor to me I was blown away. I had to fight not to cry.

“You look so beautiful baby,” I hugged her tight then sat her down.

“You don’t need makeup but we have that really pretty lip gloss that we bought when we went shopping.”

Together we sorted out a hairstyle then did her face with a light dusting of translucent powder and the lip gloss.

“Perfect,” I said sitting back to see how she looked. “All ready?”

She gave me a shy smile. “All ready. Thanks for helping me mom. It may not look it but I’m so nervous.”

“Just be the amazing you that you are,” I whispered to her as there was a knock on the door. It was time for my baby to go on her first date.

Telling Them No

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‘No’ means ‘No’. Photo by Cooper Smith on Unsplash

As Kylie and I kept talking I switched to a delicate topic that needed to be addressed even if I didn’t want to bring it up.

 

“Do you remember the incident that caused us to transfer you to your new school?”

“Yes,” she whispered. It was a topic she wasn’t fond of but she knew what I had to say was important if I brought it up.

“It’s not always guys that you are not involved with that don’t understand or listen when you say no, but also some guys that you like and you go out with on a date sometimes think they have the right to take more than you are willing to offer. If you say no, say it and mean it and make sure anything you don’t like comes to a stop.”

She looked at me with wide eyes and bit her lips. “That is why we insisted you go for a refresher self-defense course. If you say no and someone does not listen. Make them understand ‘No’ means ‘No’. Don’t hesitate. Do what you must and find help at once.”

The conversation and the questions continued for the rest of our outing and by the end of it all, Kylie understood more about sex. The lies people told about it and to get it. The need to understand more about her body and the fact she should always listen to it and take note of its reactions. I explained that she had a lot to learn and I was here, ready and willing to answer any question she had.

I knew Kylie was a thinker but I was aware how easy it was for a smooth-talking boy to turn your head. After all, it happened to me. Time will tell and it is up to her. I just want her to have a better experience than me, so I’ll equip her as best I can for what may come. In this day and age it was the right thing for any responsible parent to do.