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A Saturday off, but not from links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Today marks the second off-day for the Washington State football team so far this preseason. But, as usual, there are stories for the reading. Read on, and such.

Cougars loose, energetic under the lights

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's how you know everyone is in a good mood at a football practice: when it ends with offensive and defense linemen catching punts. Washington State practiced for roughly an hour on Friday night in Martin Stadium, its final open practice of the season.

Day 12 includes an overtime refresher for WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Part of training camp under coach Mike Leach? A reminder of the rules. Tuesday, that meant an on-field run-down of college football overtime procedures, then a simulation of an overtime period. There were other highlights, too, so read on.

A look at WSU’s running backs, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We begin our WSU position previews this morning with a look at WSU's running backs. Want to know who's starting? Join the club. You won't find that after the jump, but you'll find plenty of other words to read.

Notes from a WSU scrimmage

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Big plays dominated Washington State's scrimmage. Big plays that involved a few different receivers and both of the Cougars' competitors for the starting quarterback job. Read on for more.

Cougs a little frustrated on Day 8

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State's offense struggled a bit toward the end of today's practice. Then they heard about it. Then heard about it again. Read on.

Day 7 brings energy to Coug camp

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — You could hear Darryl Monroe leading Washington State's defense in chant from just about anywhere on campus Wednesday. It was that kind of day for the Cougars during team session, and it was that kind of day for the defense, too. Read on.

Routine sets in as Day 6 approaches

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — After five practices, the routine of camp is starting to set in a bit. For me, anyway. Wake up, eat, go to practice, watch practice, write about practice, write about other things, play Xbox, yell at the television, go to sleep. Oh, and links. Read on.

Another day, another WSU practice

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another scorcher on the Palouse this afternoon, with Washington State going through its fourth practice of camp — and its final practice before putting on full pads. We were there, as usual, and have some notes and observations after the jump.

Sale, links and Day 4

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Just think: a few more weeks, and you'll be waking up on a Sunday morning like this to watch NFL games on CBS. For now, our WSU links are going to have to do. Read on.

Day 2 in the books at WSU camp

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another day, another practice in the books on Rogers Field, though this one was a bit warmer than Thursday's camp opener. It was also a big day for one of WSU's incoming freshmen. Read on.

WSU finishes Day 1 of practice

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It was a very business-like day at Rogers Field, with the Cougars getting back into practice mode after a summer of workouts some described as the hardest of their lives. We have some notes for you after the jump.

The Last of the Firsts

I picked up my youngest daughter from camp yesterday. This year, she wasn't a camper. She was a counselor-in-training.  She spent almost two weeks away, learning to think and act like a counselor. It's a big transition with a lot of responsibility. Growing up is sometimes hard to do.

As we gathered up her things and drove home, I was reminded of the first time she went away to camp. I wrote a column about that, too. It was first published on July 4, 2005…

I just want all these firsts to last forever

Cheryl-anne Millsap
The Spokesman-Review
July 4, 2005
 

My youngest child, the little one, went away to camp for the first time this summer. It was a big milestone. There were a few tears and there was a lot of separation anxiety. For me, anyway. As far as I can tell, my daughter is doing just fine.

I don’t know why I’ve had such a hard time adjusting to her absence – the longest we’ve ever been apart – it’s not like I haven’t already sent three other children off to camp for the first time. I’ve been here before. I know she will have a wonderful experience. And I’ll survive. And we’ll both look forward to the next time.

But, you see, I can’t forget that this is my last child and that means every first is also the last.

One of the sweetest, least complicated, rewards of parenting is the pleasure of being the one who opens the door to a wide, wonderful world for a child.

Just as I did for my other children, I held my youngest child and dipped her toes in the ocean and showed her the mountains for the first time. I read the first poem and sang the first song she ever heard. I fed her ice cream, and peaches and chocolate for the first time.

She is almost 10 years old. We’ve passed first words, first steps, first birthday and first grade, forever. She’s gotten her first bicycle, and her first stitches.

I know it sounds melodramatic. I know there are still so many firsts to look forward to. She’ll move on to middle school and then high school. Then, all too soon, there will be a first date, first kiss, and the first broken heart. She’ll take that first drive, and before we know it, move away for that first day of college. She’ll get her first job, her first house or apartment and, perhaps, her first child.

She has a lifetime of firsts ahead of her, but more and more, what she will do and learn and experience won’t involve me.

Now, she is striding confidently out into the world, and I’m the one taking baby steps. I won’t be able to keep up.

She will be home in a few days. And when I pick her up I suspect we’ll both be a little more independent, a little more grown-up.

My daughter went away to camp and I cried. But it wasn’t just the thought of a long week without her that brought tears to my eyes. It was the reminder that the little girl who dropped my hand – the hand she had been clinging to – and ran off to play with her new friends, is my last child, and my last chance to get it right.

She is my last chance to see life for the first time.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com