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Back to school—back to sanity September 20, 2010

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.

Hi! Yeah, I know, I’ve been a bit lax with my blogging. And I can guess what you’re thinking, “Adoption complete. End of story?” Hardly! But I’ve been needing a break—mostly to focus on life’s other demands. It’s been crazy!

First of all, work is very consuming. That’s not unexpected. The start to a new school year at RIT always translates into an accelerated pace. I love witnessing the energy return to campus, but that comes with its share of demands. The first few weeks in September always feel like a sprint.

And the race resumes when I get home. Now that Austin is officially my son, there’s still a lot to resolve. Of course, there’s his legal identity. Work remains on getting the world to address him as ‘Austin Stella’ now, and the wheels of bureaucracy can grind very slowly.

Also, for the first time in my life, I really feel the responsibility to ‘get my affairs in order.’ I never want Austin to ever again have to worry about his security and stability, even if—God forbid—I can’t be here to manage that.

Let me remind you that Austin is a teenager—so he can be boundlessly aggravating! For example, I recently learned it’s unreasonable to not willing shell out upwards of $100 for a new pair of sneakers. Seriously?! I mean, I’m bringing lunch to work most days hoping to sustain our comfortable yet modest existence, not with the expectation of supplying my son with designer footwear. I know, I’m such a jerk!

I love Austin, but honestly, and it scares me to concede this, I don’t always like him much. I’ve been angry and disappointed, and I sometimes worry those feeling won’t go away—but they do. And eventually he and I find our way through it, and somehow our bond grows stronger because of it.

But with that said, summer could not have ended soon enough. A lot of the frustration I’d been feeling resulted from Austin’s consistent inactivity in those final few weeks. He needed to resume a routine—and I definitely needed him to resume a routine. School would inevitably become our salvation.

Austin attended three different high schools last year, including a mere four months at Eastridge, so I’ve been anxious to ensure that he enjoy a traditional and fulfilling senior year. Just this past weekend, he joined his class for a trip to Cedar Point in Ohio. It was a great time, and he enjoyed meeting some new friends.

And I’ve been experiencing some traditional aspects of high school as well. Last week, I attended my first open house, and I can’t even begin to express how much I enjoyed it. I was truly impressed with his teachers, most who practically lit up when I introduced myself as Austin Stella’s dad.

“Oh, he’s such a great kid!” I still struggle with how to measure my response each time I hear that.

“Kentucky!” Mr. Tisa exclaimed to me. Austin’s new history teacher assured me that my son is already among his more engaging class participants—and I suspect becoming one of his favorites. “He’s taught me how to say ‘Looeyville’ (Louisville)—I mean, ‘Luhvull.’” Yeah, if I only had a dollar for every time I heard Austin administer that lesson I could actually buy him those $100 sneakers.

It’s definitely feeling good to be back in a routine. I’m getting excited to see what it might have in store for my family in the year ahead.



1. Maureen - September 21, 2010


This sounds like a perfectly normal ‘father-son’ relationship to me! 🙂

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