Life

His Senior Picture

Dude’s senior pictures finally came back …

I’m pleased with them, but I wish he hadn’t been sick when we had them made.

Dude suffers from allergies at this time of year: ragweed just kills him. He had the sniffles and his eyes were itching the week leading up to this picture, hence the redness around his eyes. He looks like this the entire month of September. I could have had them touch it up a bit, but I opted out of that. You can’t tell in the black and whites and that’s what will be published in the yearbook, so we’re good.

Dude was a reluctant participate in this picture. He didn’t want his picture taken at all, let alone take part in one of those fancy-smancy senior portrait packages (you know, where you change clothes and do several poses). I was lucky to get this out of the boy, quite frankly.

I went out and bought this black shirt for him. I even took it to the dry cleaners so they could launder it and spray it with light starch. The tie is Kevin’s. I think it looks quite dashing with the black shirt.

*Side note: I went through last year’s yearbook to see how the other guys dressed and to my surprise, most of them wore a dress shirt and tie. In fact, an impressive number of guys even wore a suit, though I didn’t think Dude would want to wear a suit, not to mention, we didn’t have a suit jacket that he could wear – Kevin’s would have been too big.

I can’t believe how grown up he looks. He looks … like a man, like an individual, like his own person … definitely not the boy I raised. I can’t believe our oldest son is now a man.

*****

I’m nervous about his future. But at the same time, I’m looking forward to watching him pick his destiny. For example, I asked him today how he did on his Business Law test …

“I got a “B”.”

I was surprised. And yet, I wasn’t. This kid is smart. He has the potential, he just lacks the motivation.

I can’t imagine where he gets that trait from.

“So, answer me honestly,” I said. “Is there anything about this Business Law course that interests you? Do you think you might like to pursue it as a career?”

“I don’t know,” he said. I was surprised that he actually considered the question before answering. “It’s pretty boring.”

“I want to be a Band Director,” Jazz piped up. (We were having this conversation while eating lunch together).

“That sounds like fun,” I said, “but you might not make much money doing that.”

I’ve been trying to gently (or not so gently, you decide), dropping hints about the future to the boys. They need to start thinking (especially Dude since he graduates this year) about their futures. What do they want to do?

I don’t expect them to make a concrete decision now, but it would be nice if they at least knew if they wanted to go to college, work, or maybe both.

Kevin and I plan on sitting Dude down in the next month or so and have a serious talk with him about what he wants to do after graduation. Dude brought some papers home the other day from a senior meeting he had at school and it recommends that if the kids are planning on going to college next fall, NOW is the time to start applying.

I’m not exactly panicked by this, but it’s definitely something to think about. I think we’re going to take Dude on a tour of MSU (Missouri State University – that’s where Kevin and I graduated), and OTC (Ozarks Technical College – a great place to go to get the required courses out of the way for MUCH cheaper) just to get him used to the idea of going to college somewhere. We’ll also pick up some catalogs and talk about various fields he might like to pursue.

We will also have a heart-to-heart talk about our expectations for him if he wants to continue living with us after graduation. We would love to have him around, but there will be rules he will be expected to live by. What those rules are are still being discussed, but the bottom line? The boy will DO something with himself. Whether that’s get a job, go to school, or more preferably, work AND go to school (either full or part time, whatever he feels like he can handle).

*****

The photography session didn’t last that long. We only purchased the senior picture package because it was the cheapest. We really just wanted one really good picture of him to put in the year book. We’ll likely take him out for more pictures later – like in this next month when the leaves are turning. We can easily take some really great pictures of him with our Canon Rebel and save ourselves the hundreds of dollars we’d spend having it professionally done.

He’d likely be more relaxed anyhow.

While we were waiting for him to be called back, we sat down. Dude sat in a chair, and I sat on the sofa, right next to a curled up black cat. I ignored it. I don’t dislike animals, I can just take them or leave them.

But, as usually happens whenever I’m around animals, the cat took an interest in me. (Probably because I ignored it. Do cats have the alpha-male thing like dogs do?) He climbed onto my lap, and I petted it, but wasn’t really into it. I was trying to look at samples the studio had laid out. So, the cat walked across my lap and into Dude’s lap.

Dude loved it. He loves animals. In fact, I’ve suggested to him in the past that he might look at going to veterinary school. I think he’d be so good at that job. He’s such a gentle soul and animals really respond to him.

The people at the studio were shocked that the cat was sitting on his lap. They said that he didn’t usually behave that way and was, in fact, sometimes aggressive with people. (Which begs the question, WHY allow the cat around customers in the first place??)

The cat served to calm Dude down. I don’t think he was terribly nervous about having his picture made, but he wasn’t exactly happy about it, either. I suppose I should thank the cat for that relaxed smile you see up there.

While Dude was having his picture taken, the cat climbed back onto my lap and instead of curling up on my lap, stretched out on my chest. I think it was a test of wills from that point on. Again, whatever. I don’t dislike animals – I’m more indifferent to them. I petted him, and softly talked to him, but he didn’t bother me overly much.

The studio people were a bit horrified by the cat’s behavior, actually. They asked me if they wanted them to remove him from my person (and honestly, if I worked there, I wouldn’t have asked because if the cat was aggressive and could potentially scratch/bite a customer, I wouldn’t take the chance to begin with), but I said he was fine and there we both sat until Dude came back out.

Dude was QUITE amused that the cat was using me as his sofa.

And that was it. The session was over. We got to look through several pictures, which were all good, quite frankly, and Dude picked out the pose he liked the best. We ordered our prints and we left.

The whole thing didn’t even last twenty minutes, tops.

I went back a week later and picked up the prints. They gave us two black-and-whites for the yearbook and Dude turned them into the journalism department.

And that’s it. This part of the senior experience is over for Dude. Like I said, Kevin and I will take him somewhere pretty and take some more pictures of him (whether he likes it or not – heh) because this is such an important time for Dude. It’s his last year of high school …

It’s his last year of high school.