Honoring Notable Progress

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Notes from Jen

Our firstborn, Ryker, experienced a right of passage: He lost his first tooth.

For months he had been talking about his friends at school losing teeth and asking questions about the process. He had his annual doctor’s visit in March and even asked his pediatrician when he would lose a tooth. Hearing the deep desire in Ryker’s voice brought back my memories of desperately wanting to join the gap smile club at school when I was his age and how it felt like forever before it finally happened.

Ryker proudly showed us his bottom wiggly tooth on a Thursday night. He knew this one wiggly tooth meant he was maturing and was about to join the gap smile club at school. Hazel apparently had already lost a lot of teeth, and Ulysses lost two teeth and has two more wiggly teeth ready to come out. Ryker talked about how the Tooth Fairy visited his friends and left a gift under their pillows. And he was deeply concerned about how the Tooth Fairy would be able to get into our house—“Does she have magic like Santa Claus?”

Not only was it a fun conversation around the magic of the Tooth Fairy and Ryker becoming a big guy, but it was a good opportunity to talk to Ryker about oral hygiene and how he really needed to take care of the adult teeth that were on their way. I explained that humans only get two sets of teeth, not like sharks who continue to get new teeth if one falls out. My daughter, Aviva, listened and watched her older brother wiggle his tooth with cheerful interest and a hint of envy.

Within a couple of days, Ryker had made significant progress on that tooth. With a wide smile, he showed Pappa and Grammie the wiggly tooth and explained that he had an adult tooth coming through. When we went out for dinner, he kept smiling at the waiter and proudly wiggled his tooth with his tongue. At the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, he stopped climbing the slide and flashed a smile at another kid, explaining that he had a wiggly tooth. In anticipation of achieving this universal milestone, Ryker was sharing his joy and progress with the world around him. It was so innocent and pure.

Down one tooth, Ryker, age 6, is flashing his new smile.

Down one tooth, Ryker, age 6, is flashing his new smile.

I have to compliment Ryker’s determination and wiggling abilities, because by Sunday morning it was really loose. Later that afternoon, he was jumping on the trampoline with Aviva when quickly the kids came racing into the house. Aviva was yelling, “It’s gone! It’s gone!” Ryker smiled and indeed, the tooth was gone. “Where is it?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders, turned around, and ran back outside. We never found the tooth, but of course the Tooth Fairy still came in the middle of the night and left Ryker a dollar for his tooth.

While it took less than a week from the wiggly tooth discovery to its exit, I am certain it felt like eternity to Ryker. Everytime he flashed a smile and wiggled his tooth with his tongue, Ryker made more progress toward his goal of joining the gap smile club.

In a world where we all want things immediately, the power of progress can help fuel us long term. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed, swamped or just burnt out. The daily routine of waking up, getting ready, getting the kids out the door, getting into work, doing the assignments, picking kids up, making it to their activities on time, making dinner, getting kids down for bed, and getting ready to do it all again the next day can be tiresome and feel monotonous. The hardest part for me is the to-do list that I couldn’t get done and the worry that adding more was inevitable.

Because I stew over whether I got enough check marks next to each item on my to-do list, I lose track of my family’s progress and blessings. Therefore, I am sharing a different kind of list to memorialize and celebrate how our hard work has made progress in meaningful work.

Schroer Family Progress and Blessings

  • With the publishing of this issue, Tumbleweeds enters its 30th year and has extended its frequency to six times per year. 
  • Ryker and Aviva attend a fantastic charter school and both kids were accepted into its aftercare program, which saved us when our au pair returned to Argentina. 
  • My mom, Terry, successfully passed the first phase of training her service dog, Violet. 
  • Justin’s mom, Ronnie, completed her training to become a volunteer at Presbyterian Hospital.
  • After the passing of Justin’s father, his family came together to establish the Schroer Foundation and awarded several high school senior athletes scholarships this year in Phil Schroer’s name. (Phil was an athletic director and basketball coach in Las Vegas and Rio Rancho.)
  • Justin has completed many home projects and maintenance needs. 
  • My agency was awarded a strong budgetary increase, and we passed an important bill during the 2024 legislative session.
  • We have a plan for child care for the summer. Woot!
  • Ryker is reading. Woot! Woot!
  • My standard poodle’s show coat is so close to being grown out properly. So much work!
Together, we picked up her new dog, Violet, in Utah and started her journey training her service dog.

Together, we picked up her new dog, Violet, in Utah and started her journey training her service dog.

If you love to read, I recommend The Progress Principle. While it is a leadership book, I found the principle helps me in my personal life and supports my personal motivation at work. As explained by its authors, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, seemingly mundane workday events can make or break employees’ inner work lives. But it’s forward momentum in meaningful work-progress that creates the best inner work lives.

Whether it is my personal to-do list or my work to-do list, celebrating small wins boosts my emotions and fuels my motivation. We all have meaningful work as it takes all of us for the world to go around, but we often forget to pause and embrace the progress we are making. The small wins matter!

The Schroer Foundation presented multiple student athletic scholarships this spring, including one to West Mesa High School cheerleader, Alexa Ordonez. From left to right, Justin Schroer, Ryker Schroer, Jen Schroer, Aviva Schroer, Alexa’s mom, Alexa Ordonez, Alexa’s dad, Ronnie Schroer, Shonn Schroer, and Michelle Schroer.

The Schroer Foundation presented multiple student athletic scholarships this spring, including one to West Mesa High School cheerleader, Alexa Ordonez. From left to right, Justin Schroer, Ryker Schroer, Jen Schroer, Aviva Schroer, Alexa’s mom, Alexa Ordonez, Alexa’s dad, Ronnie Schroer, Shonn Schroer, and Michelle Schroer.

So, I encourage you to pull a Ryker and show off your symbolic loose tooth that you’ve made progress on. Or, pull a Jen and make a list of the small wins you’ve made over the Past six months. Not only will this lift your spirits, it will likely make you more productive, creative, and fulfilled along the way.

We hope these articles continue to support your family as you make progress in your family’s life. One article outlines incredible New Mexico family road trips along Route 66 for you to consider, It Really Is About the Journey. Keeping our kiddos’ health in mind while they are out of school this summer is critical and an article about digital technology and children’s health is included as a helpful reminder of the pros and cons of digital technology Raising Children in the Era of Digital Technology. Be inspired by the incredible work of adaptive sports as its team builds wonderful experiences for youth and adults who have physical disabilities in our community, Expanding Possibilities Through Youth Adaptive Sports.

Justin and I hope you enjoy this Tumbleweeds issue as you make progress planning your summer.

To your continued progress,

Jen

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