Portrait of a (very specific) graduate.

6 Jun

How strange that there was a boxcar with a version of his name on it. He didn’t do it. I swear.


AWARDS! A shrine to all his hard work.


Clown…his very first friend.


His 1966 Gibson LG


This room doubles as a guest room. Just kidding.


Let’s just say that lockers were the best idea ever invented for the bedroom of a boy.


Art is important.


The HUGE spray-painted piece was commissioned just for him.


A dream catcher…


Proof: Right there are two pair of scissors…on his desk.


I will miss this loudness when he leaves for college.


Everyone needs a can of veggies under the bed. Zombie Apocalypse, and all.


Old school recording fun


He uses his pencils ’til the bitter end…


Zune user


How he treats the furniture…


Self-taught piano picker


In the middle of his bedroom floor lies a sad sock with an ink spot.


Clean clothes stuffed in a drawer that can’t close…


I’m betting these are headed to half price books…


The shrine he created on his bedroom door


Shrine, part two


His band, The Solar Compromise on one of their gig posters


His 2012 class at White Sands, NM, a couple of years ago

My elder boy graduates tomorrow. Eighteen years led to this very moment. He says, “It’s no big deal. It’s just high school.” But it is a big deal. It’s here that everything changes.

I’ve been working on a shrine, at least that’s what I’ve called it, in his honor (second photo). Basically this means I’ve moved all the awards he earned this year from our dining room table to the credenza beside our dining room table. I know. Hard work. But every time I add something to this collection of Things That Represent Him, something feels a little off. So finally yesterday I had an epiphany: Those awards? They only tell a fraction of the story. He is so much more. Hence, the rest of the photos.

He’s my scissors stealer, for one. There’s nothing quite like needing to cut apart a piece of paper, probably a permission slip for one of his field trips, and not being able to find a pair of scissors.

His walls are a crazy representation of his love for movies and music. And even though the posters aren’t necessarily from movies he loved (he works at a theatre), he chose to afix them to his walls with PACKING TAPE, leaving a permanent mark on his room.

His shoes are completely worn out. In fact, they’re now more like flip flops than tennis shoes. And he won’t stop wearing them.

He is, as they say, a hot mess.

I know, I know…I’m going to miss him when he leaves for college in the fall. I really do know this. He’s the closest manifestation of me outside of myself, of course, anywhere on this planet. So I get him. (My closet door closely resembled the back of his door when I was his age. Only I used stickers! I am STILL unable to put things, like scissors, back where they belong. And shoes? I wore a pair of ballet flats until the leather was full of holes when I was a teenager. And I’m working on some holes in my Mary Janes as we speak. And I’m 45.)

I’m SO  not ready for him to leave. I’m not finished with him yet. I haven’t taught him how to sort laundry or how to cook. I haven’t modeled keeping a clean house. I haven’t explained finances or STDs well enough.

What’s going to happen when he’s far away from home and he gets sick for the first time? Who will be there for him when someone breaks his heart? Who will wake him up when he fails to hear his alarm? Who will hold his hand when he crosses the street? Okay. I’ll admit it has been a few years since I’ve done that, but I’m sure there’s someone in his future who will bring hand-holding full circle.

I know, deep down, he’ll be fine. Because despite my parental shortcomings, I have taught him one very important thing: how to think for himself.

We may not have always modeled good behavior. I cuss too much. My husband and I  have argued in front of him. He’s eaten sweet cereal and pop tarts for breakfast almost every day of his life, except for the early nutrigrain bars and banana years.

Still he’s survived. Thrived even.

He’s so innocent, idealistic and naive. And I love those qualities in him. It stings a bit to know he’s on the cusp of becoming jaded. But maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll be the exception.

All I want for him is happiness. And everything else good in the world.

He’s an amazing human being. So go ahead…expect great things from him. I can assure you he is going to rock this world.


14 Responses to “Portrait of a (very specific) graduate.”

  1. debbie york June 6, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    There’s a million and one things I’d love to say to you, but for the moment…I can’t seem to see the keyboard for the tears.

    • junkology June 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      Oh, Debbie…you have such a tender heart! xo

  2. Susan Broyles June 6, 2012 at 10:11 am #


    • junkology June 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      Thanks for reading, Susan!

  3. Betsy June 6, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Kristi, I’ve got tears in my eyes as I type this! What a beautiful, honest, raw, loving tribute to your son! I know he will appreciate it (even if he’s a typical teen and rolls his eyes at a mother’s praise. Deep down, he’s beaming just like you! Blessings to him and you!

    • junkology June 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Thanks so much, Betsy, for all your kind words! We’re kind of proud of who he has become. xo

  4. Dana Wright June 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Well said, Sis! Sniff, sniff. Whatever he decides to “be”, he will be a good one! You have prepared him well.

    • junkology June 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

      Love you! Thanks for stopping by!!

  5. Sarah June 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    What a wonderful post. I absolutely love that you captured the true life he leads in the photographs – so creative! And your sweet words just complete this precious tribute to your son. He has such a bright future ahead of him! Congratulations!

    ~Sarah from Barn Chic Antiques

    • junkology June 7, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Thank you, Sarah! We’re very excited for him as he begins this next stage of his life!

  6. Lisa Johnson June 7, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Your post is a little close to home for me and made me a little teary eyed. My eldest is graduating hs too this Friday. It went so fast. Can’t believe she will be off to college in the Fall and I won’t be able to see her every day. Judging on your pictures, I think our graduates have a lot in common. Hang in there, Mom!

    • junkology June 7, 2012 at 10:53 am #

      Congratulations to your daughter, Lisa! From what I can tell, nationwide, the class of 2012 is full of remarkable young adults. Who knows? Maybe one day our grads will cross paths! Enjoy your daughter’s big day. xo

  7. Lisa Love Harris June 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Oh, my goodness–you should have warned we’d need tissues for this post, girl!! It’s so hard to let them go into the big world, but you’ve got to know he’s got you in his heart and you’ve given him the strong wings, courage and confidence he’ll need to make it out there…not to mention the sense of humor it’ll take to make it over the “bumps.”
    Congratulations, Cameron! (and to his sweet mom too!) xxoos

    • junkology June 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      Thanks, Lisa! He’s got an exciting year ahead of him…and we’re excited for him! xo

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