Kvelling is a Yiddish term that essentially means “feeling pride”. But there is something more and less that makes it significant. It is more from the heart and less from the ego. Coming from the Jewish tradition, I love how Yiddish can be so expressive and nuanced. I am kvelling about my three sons!
You probably think that I am referring to our recent Halleck Vineyard 2013 Three Sons Cuvee, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir. I am not.
I want to kvell about my boys, Connor, Adam and Quinn Halleck.
Pride is a loaded term that I am cautious about: I rarely use it and I make great effort not to feel it. Why, you ask?
The answer is that I find little to be proud about. For the most part, I have been awarded gifts of time, place, background, intelligence, and health that I had little to do with; but all contribute greatly to feeling “well pleased”. A more appropriate and fulfilling response is simply gratitude. Gratitude feels great; pride has a bit of sullying mixed-in that leaves me uneasy.
Yet with my sons, I take full permission to feel the utmost pride! Though, again, much of their current blissful balance and accomplishment is entirely out of my control. I am taking liberties;)
My sons are all in Sonoma County right now. This is wondrous and I know will be short-lived. It means that Connor, my oldest at 22, has graduated from NYU Tisch School of Film and Television a semester early. And with honors.
We are all planning our trip to NYC to enjoy his commencements. This includes his brothers, my parents, Shelly and Lee, Jennifer, and me. Friends and Wine Club members will also join us for the week of celebration. Everyone is healthy and excited to see our first son walk down the aisle wearing a different color tassel to signify his status as an honor student. I am so proud of him. And grateful, too. He saved his family an extra semester of tuition ;-)
Connor is staying with me and Jennifer, borrowing our cars, and self employed with projects that he and his brother, Quinn, conjure up. Last summer, they worked on a film being produced in Sebastopol with James Franco that will soon continue. They are producing videos for local businesses, creating a YouTube channel for The Barlow.
Connor is interning at a feature-film visual effects company with its roots in Industrial Light and Magic. Surprisingly, it is just down the road in Santa Rosa. He goes in daily, learning the software to make him employable. All the interns that he met when he began now have jobs. Connor is projecting his potential income as an animator to cover his student loans. What a mensch!
Adam, at 20, is clear-headed and stable, living an enviable life as a young adult. He is enjoying the benefits of a wonderful loving relationship with Audrey, his sweetheart of two years. She is delightful and one of the family, joining us on vacations and for holidays. They share a sweet three-bedroom home in Santa Rosa that Audrey’s father bought for them to live in. They pay no rent, but manage the rentals of the other two bedrooms to their friends. The house is modern, well furnished, clean, comfortable, in a nice neighborhood with lots of space. Nothing like how I was living at 20.
Though skateboarding is his primary passion, Adam continues at school, shifting his focus from graphic design to viticulture. We continue to benefit from his design skills, but he has decided that the family business is simply too good an opportunity to let slip. Since Jennifer and I anticipated needing another employee later this year, we are feathering Adam in. He attends our weekly business meetings, completes orders, goes on restaurant tastings with me, and cooks or pours at our Halleck Vineyard parties. He is a consummate professional with people.
As Halleck Vineyard is only part time, he also busses tables at one of the top restaurants in town, K&L Bistro. He is posturing for a wait-staff position. It is a pleasure to see him quietly through the window when I am downtown in the evenings. Last week I headed to his house to enjoy “Game of Thrones” on their TV with he and his household. It is an odd feeling being hosted by my son in his domain, but I love it.
Adam and I go to dinner together. Or I have the sons at my house. Our relationship is maturing, as are the topics we discuss. He is working on his moves and I am grateful to be consulted. He is a responsible young man and most independent.
Finally we come to Quinn. Quinn is graduating from high school with close to a 4.0 GPA. Given that he held the lead roles in two huge high school plays this year, is always producing short videos for contest submissions or work, and is an ideal candidate for “senioritis”, this amazes me.
Quinn has been level-headed, despite two rounds of "hell-week" when he went to school first thing in the morning and did not return until midnight in final preparation for his theatrical performances.
He was stellar as Ernest in “The Importance of Being Ernest”, and Fagan, in “Oliver”. For “Ernest”, he delivered over 240 lines with the wit and charm intended by Oscar Wilde, and in an English accent. We laughed until we cried. And our friends from San Francisco expressed that the acting and production rivaled any at ACT (American Conservatory Theater, in SF).
Quinn’s interpretation of Fagan was uniquely his, blending the flambouyance of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the guilelessness of Topol as Tevya in “Fiddler on the Roof”. No one believed he was a high school student with his long grey beard, amazing gypsy costume and alto vocals. He crooned such familiar songs as, “Pick a Pocket or Two” and “Reviewing the Situation”. When the show was over, he held court on stage with the 50 cast members and 30 support personnel that contributed to the performance. He led the cast in expressing their gratitude and commanded the audience not as Fagan, but Quinn.
To top it off, Quinn will receive almost a full scholarship to Chapman University, Dodge Film School in Orange, CA. Chapman is considered one of the top film schools in the world, and eclipses all with its facilities. We have yet to hear his housing allowance, but he is guaranteed four years of support based on merit. Jennifer took Connor and Quinn to SoCal for Spring Break. With his admission fees paid, he picked up his first Chapman University T-shirt. His entire family could not be more proud.
We are kvelling.
You done good, Mom & Dad!
You really are a remarkable writer. Beautiful prose. More importantly, what a family! You have lots to be proud of. Not that amazing that they all are so accomplished and, more importantly, exceptional human beings. The fruit does not fall far from the tree.
Love to you,