Jonathan is my 24-year-old step son. He goes by Jon. In fact, I think Tom, Jensen, Cooper and I are the only ones left calling him Jonathan, even though I do think Jon suits him.
If this blog were being written by 16-25-year-old girls, it would probably contain words like hot, cute, gorgeous, and "totally sexy." Not that they're wrong, but I'll stick with calling him very nice-looking. But it's not just his looks that make him so remarkable. He's smart, funny, hard-working, considerate, polite, and respectful. And while he's confident--even sometimes charmingly cocky--he's not conceited, and is always trying to better himself.
Jonathan, Fall 2008He's also extremely talented and gifted. He taught himself to play guitar, bass, piano and drums. And I completely LOVE his singing voice. He teaches himself tunes from artists he likes, but he also writes his own stuff... and it's good. Oh... and he loves his family, and is fiercely loyal to and reverent of his father.
Jonathan graduated high school in '03. He did a couple of semesters at a local college while working at a Pizza Pan restaurant down the road, in which his uncle had ownership. That job turned into an opportunity; so Jon left school to be a grown-up. Uncle Eddie set Jonathan and his buddy/partner up in Columbus, Ohio (about 2 hours from here), where they owned and operated two Pizza Pan stores. They took existing pizza shops and turned them into Pizza Pans, starting almost from scratch. Jonathan thrived there, and learned a lot over the next couple of years, but Akron--for which Jon has great loyalty and respect--was always beckoning. So the Pizza Pans were sold, and Jonathan returned to Akron last fall and moved in with his (step)cousin.
Right away he got a job as an independent consultant at Charles Schwab, doing software quality assurance. He did well there, but, as the trend goes, he was laid off shortly after Christmas due to cut-backs. In no time he had a job at a restaurant, which within several weeks turned into a manager gig. But... as the trend goes... the restaurant closed this week, and Jonathan was out of a job again. For two days. Schwab timely called him back, and he starts in July at his old job, but with considerably greater pay this time around. We're so impressed by him. My only complaint--and he would predict this--is that he smokes. He says he's quitting after he gets engaged. Yikes.
In the meantime, he's also been producing a CD for a local band at a studio. It was a great fit for him, and the CD came out quite well. With that done, he decided to start his own record label, which has yet to be named (he wants to pay tribute to Akron, but Rubber City Records was already taken). He and Avan have started a band, and plan to record on the label, as well as Avan's first solo project. She is also a gifted singer, with a unique, clear and beautiful tone. She accompanies herself on piano, and we love to listen.
This provides a nice transition into Avan's story. She and Jonathan have always been close, but since his return home they have been virtually inseparable. They hang out together, eat out together, travel together, and now make music together. It is so heartwarming to have them here and see the way they interact--teasing, laughing, showing affection. Our home is never as complete as when they are there with us.
Brother and Sister, January 2009
Again, if this were being written by 16-25... or so... year-old men, I might have to edit the adjectives used to describe Avan. Tom and I prefer beautiful, confident, stylish, engaging, and completely adorable.
Avan graduated high school in 2006 and is now 21. She had been completing a cosmetology vocational program during her junior and senior years; so upon graduation she had her cosmetology certificate. She worked for two years at a few different salons in the area, then decided to go back to school. She loves Akron U, and has done well at her courses there, but is still uncertain about what she wants to do in the future. She still has cosmetology to fall back on, but is currently a cocktail waitress at a local Sheraton because the money is better, and she's paying for her own education. Now that school's out for the summer, she's also cleaning houses with a maid service a few times a week for extra cash.
She leaves tomorrow on a two-week long vacation to Vegas with her BFF Jessie. They've been planning this trip for quite a while now, and whenever we mention it she giggles. They're both very excited.
To know Avan is to love her. Everyone who meets her is struck by her beauty, poise and grace. But she's really just a cool chick. She wears what she wants, says what she wants, does what she wants, and while she's sensitive and caring, is confident enough in herself to follow her own path. She's curious about life and love, and is always looking for something to be passionate about. She's smart and funny, and we love having her around. She's got a great--and gorgeous--head on her shoulders, and we couldn't be more proud of her. (But again with the smoking! She says she's quitting after Vegas. I hope so....)
Senior Picture, 2006Jonathan doesn't have a steady girlfriend at the moment. Why? We're not really sure. He dates a lot, but we suspect he sets his standards very high and just hasn't found someone who fills all the criteria yet. We're OK with that--there's no hurry. But I'm not sure he is. I think he'd like to find "the one," but he's not miserable about it. In fact, I suspect he enjoys the search.
Avan is in a relationship right now, with a friend of Jonathan's from Columbus. She quite likes him, I think, and although I'm sure she isn't thrilled with the distance, I think it sort of suits her lifestyle at the moment. She's incredibly busy, between the two jobs and still doing hair on the side. Even with all of that and her daily errands (although she still lives at home, she's very independent), she is always conscious to fit in time for her brother, her friends, and the rest of her family. But they manage to see each other most weekends, and communicate regularly by cell.
Those of you who know Jonathan and Avan consider yourselves fortunate, I'm sure. Leave your comments and let them feel the love! For those of you who don't... I wish I were an eloquent enough writer to paint the full, beautiful pictures it would take to make you feel as if you did. But I guess that would defy the human element, wouldn't it? I guess you'll just have to take my word for it until that glorious day when perchance you will meet....