The Senior Prom (s)

Friday, May 20, 2016
This month Will and Elizabeth had her prom and his prom.  She goes to the all girl school and Will attends the all boy school across the parking lot.  They each have their own prom.

First up was Elizabeth's prom...  I want to preface these gorgeous photos by saying it had been a ROUGH week.  Houston flooded badly and Elizabeth's family's property flooded so badly that she was taking a boat to get to a road to get to school.  Then the boat was stolen!  One of their animals drowned in the flooding.  It was awful.  She also got sick and had pink eye in these photos.  All that to say that I think she looks fabulous but I know that she had a very difficult week and was not feeling great. I felt really bad for her.



I was really hoping to get a good photo when Will handed Elizabeth her bouquet.  I made the bouquet for her and was hoping she loved it.  She did love it but I did not get a good photo.



Elizabeth and her Mom.




Will's best friends are baseball players (but Will is not).  Unfortunately, the baseball players had a game the night of BOTH proms. So, we don't have big group photos of Will's closest friends.

But for Liz's prom they did get a small group together for dinner at a restaurant and some photos...





You can see more photos of this prom here.

Two weeks later was Will's prom.  Again his friends had a baseball game and so they (the players) arrived late at Prom.  Will made reservations for a nice restaurant for he and Elizabeth and they met up with their group at Prom and the after party.  Thankfully, it was a beautiful week and everyone was doing much better.

Once again I decided to make Elizabeth's bouquet.  I was Mother's Day weekend so I tried to get the flowers a day or two early.  I was so worried they would not last but they did beautifully in the refrigerator.

A friend asked me to help make flowers for her sons' dates too.


I took a lot of photos because it was a gorgeous evening and we had lots of time.

I typically pin the boutonniere.  It was very sad to me that this is likely the last one I'll pin on Will (maybe until his wedding?)


(blurry phone photo)





















They had a great time at prom.  In fact, Will has had a lot of fun with all of the end of year festivities.

As I type this blog post, Will is getting his cap and gown and rehearsing for graduation and baccalaureate mass. I have so many feelings y'all.  Happy, sad, proud, scared.  I know this is the place we work so hard to get our kids to.  Will is a great kid. He is graduating with high honors. He has really grown into a kind and accomplished young man.  If I cry tears, they are not tears of sadness...they are tears of a mix of emotions.  I just cannot believe that we are at this point.  It is surreal.

I have told you all on the blog before that it was a private little joke between me and Dave that when Will was a baby, every day Dave would walk in from work say something like "Did Will fill out his college applications yet?"  Or I would be ready to share some accomplishment (like his first smile or rolling over) and I would say, "Guess what Will did today?"  And Dave always replied "Apply to college?"

And now that time is here.  It is just so hard to believe it. It will be quite a weekend for us.  I am sure I will post some photos on IG.  And I'll be back next week with more posts.

P.S.  Harry was my photography assistant.  He took some shots and helped me a lot.  He has gotten really into photography and I love sharing that hobby with him.



Here we go..Will is about to graduate!

Saturday, May 14, 2016
I truly do not even know how to begin this post. Will is graduating from high school next week.  As I type that sentence I feel this strange emotion that others call bittersweet.  Bittersweet does not seem to capture all that I am feeling though.  I wish there was a word for "smiling through your tears" because that is what I feel.  I wish there was a word for feeling happy, excited, proud, nervous and about to throw up all at the same time. And while I know that his graduation and exciting journey to college is all about him and not about me,  I still have these huge rushing waves of emotion that I don't quite know what to do with. So, I am going to write some of them here. It's going to be long. And I'm probably going to sound like I am bragging about my son.  But if a Mom can't brag the week of her son's graduation, when can she brag?

Will is our firstborn.  He came into this world a few weeks early with a true and full knot in his umbilical cord.  He came into this world with a big lump in between the layers of his skull that had to be removed when he was 6 months old.  He was the easiest baby for about 3-4 weeks.  Dave and I thought (and actually uttered) "Wow this parenthood thing is a breeze!"  Yeah, God chuckled at that because almost overnight Will became the most difficult baby in the world.  He had an extreme case of colic.  This child screamed at the top of his lungs for about 8 hours a day non-stop. If he was awake, he was screaming.  It was awful.  I thought I was losing my mind.


{Will 6 months old...just hours after having part of his skull removed}

I remember the pediatrician telling me it would only last a few months and I replied, "Can he live with you until then?"  And I was 100% serious.  I recall going to the grocery store one night after Dave got home and I could still hear the screaming in my head even though Will was at home with Dave. I was losing my mind. Similarly, I recall taking Will to a baby store as I was desperate to find something (colic drops, a pacifier, anything) to make him stop screaming.  Of course, as I was perusing the aisles, Will was screaming bloody murder. Another woman glared at me and said, "Can't you make him stop?!"  I wanted to punch her.  I was at the lowest point of motherhood and she knocked me down even further.  I looked her in the eye and said "Don't you think I would if I could, lady!"


Just as the pediatrician predicted, the screaming stopped and Will morphed into a busy and curious toddler.  He was so inquisitive and smart.  He still had some issues resulting from that bump in his head and we spent many hours over the years in occupational therapy and speech therapy.  But he was such a happy, active and funny boy.  He was my buddy.  I did not have brothers or boy cousins so he taught me all about little boys. Will was an incredible sleeper.  He had two speeds, asleep and FAST!  He napped for four hours every afternoon.  Each afternoon when he woke up, we would go outside.  We lived on a cul de sac with a lot of kids.  Will was so funny.  He would collect rocks and leaves and grass and seed pods and fill his pockets with them everyday.  He also wanted to go door to door knocking and saying hello to everyone on the street. As soon as he could talk, he told us he wanted to be a scientist like his Daddy when he grew up.  He knew the geologic eras and every type of dinosaur as a toddler. People were amazed with his scientific knowledge.  And we did not teach him those things.


I had no idea back then that all that play was shaping who he would become.  He is super social and outgoing (like the little boy knocking on doors) and he is about to study Science (with a sustainability scholarship) in college.

Will had a tough start to school.  I will never forget a phone call I received when we were applying to some private pre-school programs here in Texas.  Will had to take an IQ test but he was probably only 3-4 years old.  We assumed he would do very well.  If you ever talked to him, you would know he was bright.  Well, one day a school director called me and told me that Will was denied admission but she wanted to explain why.  Will had an extremely high "knowledge IQ" but his "performance IQ" was 30 points lower.  And even though the performance IQ was still above average, it was a red flag.  Apparently, Will knew a lot but he had a hard time demonstrating his knowledge.  I will never forget sitting in my car crying hysterically realizing that something was not connecting for him. The woman explained to me that he could have a hearing problem, vision problem or a learning disability.  She said that a 30 point difference is a huge gap and that we need to figure out what was causing it.

We had lots of testing done on Will over the years and I am not sure we ever really figured out what caused that gap. Yes, he has a little ADD (never medicated) and he cannot memorize rote material.  He was wiggly and busy in grade school.  But we never really had a clear sense of what was going on.  We taught him organizational skills and gave him neuro-vitamins and supported him emotionally. And he bloomed.  It was long and slow and at times painful, but he bloomed.

Will bloomed into an amazing young man.  In middle school, he became really involved with the youth group at our church and started doing a lot of volunteer work.  He joined the swim team and participated in geography bees (which he was so good at but had no interest in pursuing at the national level). He was an officer in National Junior Honor Society.  I started to see more glimpses of who he would be today.

And then he started high school.  Will was admitted to a very rigorous college preparatory school for boys.  It is nationally ranked among the best.  He really only knew a few kids who would be going there.  I will admit that I was a bit nervous about how he would fare.  I was not sure it was the right fit for him but he loved it when he toured and he had no doubt that it was the right place for him.

High School has been amazing for Will.  He found himself.  Strake Jesuit high school provided the perfect environment for Will to grow into exactly who God wanted him to be. While I would never call my kids "popular," Will became extremely involved at his Jesuit high school.  He developed amazing friendships with his peers and close relationships with teachers and administrators.  He became a leader.  He was a leader and team captain in swimming and water polo even though he was not a starter.  He was president of Young Conservatives and a founding member of the Spirit club. He helped lead freshmen orientation and probably holds the school record for having prospective students shadow him for a day (he loved the free lunch that came with that).  He was always giving tours at open houses and other events.  Will LOVES his high school.  The activity that meant the most to him though was leading retreats.  It is an honor to be chosen to lead and plan the freshmen retreats and the Kairos retreats and Will has done this as many times as possible. He will miss that tremendously.  He has done all this while being on the honor roll and in National Honor Society the whole time. I have tears rolling down my face as I write this because I could not be more proud of my son.

I do not share all of this to brag.  I share this to remember the journey and how we got here.  I share this for other Moms who have a busy "hyper" little boy who might be struggling.  I share this so someday he can read this when he is a Dad and he will know that it all works out. See, in those challenging infant and toddler days and in the moment when he was denied admission to pre-school, I had no idea who God was shaping Will to be.  I just had to trust in Him.  We did trust.  We chugged along praying and trusting and providing Will with unconditional love and support along the way.  And here he is.  He did it!

Last night, Will came into our room and sat at the end of the bed to talk to me about his day (he does this every night-I am so blessed).  He told me that he was chosen to do the first reading at his Baccalaureate Mass next week for graduation.  I was stunned. Will does not win the highly coveted athletic or academic awards at his school. He never has. There are so many bright stars at this school.  But this meant the world to me (and hopefully to him).  Apparently faculty and staff choose who does the readings at the graduation Mass.  And Will was chosen.   When I see him up there next week doing that reading, I am sure that I will reminisce about the hours of speech therapy and the the parent teacher conferences that I dreaded in the early days. I know that there will be tears of joy that he has come so far. To me, this is such an honor for Will.  It says that they really see Will for who he is. He embodies the motto of his school "Men for Others."

This boy looks good on paper and in photos.  But what I know is his heart. He has a compassionate and beautiful heart. He works hard.  He loves to help others.  He loves politics and social justice.  He loves nature and his family. He lives his faith out loud. We have such a special relationship.  He comes to me daily asking how my day was and sharing funny stories from school. He asks me for advice all the time.  We talk about everything.  You have no idea how much I am going to miss that when he leaves in August.  I have never been one to think parents should be friends with their kids but Will has become my friend.  Don't get me wrong, he still knows I'm the boss. And I have rules and expectations. But we have a friendship too.

Will has chosen to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio this Fall.  And while he might have struggled to get admitted to pre-school, he was accepted to every university he applied to.  And he received significant academic merit scholarships to all but one. He has come a long way. Miami University offered him some really great opportunities (one of them being a 5 year Bachelor/Master degree).  I am so excited for him to begin this new chapter of his life.



Many of you have watched Will grow up on this blog.  He was just 9 years old when I started blogging.  Many of you have prayed for him and all of us over the years.  Thank you so much for that. We appreciate it more than you could ever know.

Here is a little stroll down memory lane.  All of the photos were either scanned in or a photo of the photo with my phone. Much of Will childhood was "pre-digital."  And there are gaps in elementary school where I have photos but they are not in albums or scrapbooks or on  the blog:(  So they did not make it here.


{ June 22,1997. He had a full head of hair at birth!}


{Baptism, October 1997}



{Will loved riding the golf cart with Dad}


{We used to go to parks all the time and Will would just run and run!}


{Will learned to swim early as we had a pool in our backyard.  Who knew he would end up on the swim team and water polo team for all 4 years of high school?}


{This was on our front porch one afternoon after Will's nap.  This is that stage where we would walk the neighborhood every day when he woke up as we waited for Dad to get home.  He is pulling away to go explore in this photo}


{Will has loved being a big brother.  He and Harry were SO close.  Then they grew apart for a few years and now they are close again.}





{Will and Uncle Moon looking at a turtle at a science museum in Philadelphia.  Will has always LOVED science museums.  One year on his PK4 field trip to the science museum, he hijacked a kid or two and took them on his own tour.  I don't think they chaperones were amused.}


{This one cracks me up.  I told you Will loved dinosaurs. I think he is imitating the dinosaur. Look at Dave!  He was photobombing back in 2000 before it was a thing!}

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{At a science museum with my sister}


{Will's first preschool class photo.  He is 2nd row center.  He sure did love Miss Peggy.  He called her Miss PAYYYYGY with a southern drawl.}


{Will played with these dinosaurs forever.  Once when we were cleaning the playroom, he decided to pass them on to a friend and then immediately cried hysterically regretting it. I should not have let him make that decision. That was tough.  I had to call and ask for them back. I still feel bad about that and Will still has them to this day.}


{Will met one of his best friends when they were just 5 months old.  We met at story time at the library and Will and David have been buddies ever since.  They will graduate together next weekend.}

 {Will and Dave in Colorado}

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{Will's first day of real school.  Not Mother's day out}

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Pre-school Mother-Son breakfast.


{1st day of 3rd grade?}


{This is one of my favorite photos of Will.  He took me out on a date.  I blogged about it here.}

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{Will is so close with his Mimi.  This is on his 1st holy communion}

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First Day of School 2008

{First day of school 2008}


{Will and his 5th grade teacher}


{5th grade graduation from a school he went to for only 1/2 a year.  But he adjusted so well!  Here is a letter I wrote to him that day.}



{14th birthday}



{favorite middle school teacher}


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{freshmen year}

{Will and me on the1st day of freshmen orientation}


{Will and his oldest and best friend, David on the first day of freshmen year}


{Here is a photo of Will and David last day of senior year}


{And with their brothers the last day of senior year.  David is REALLY tall BTW!}

{Freshmen homecoming}


{1st day of sophomore year}





{Junior ring and cross day}




{Junior Prom}

 {Senior Homecoming}



{water polo...Will about to score!}

I have lots of posting to do and will promise to put a couple posts this week (Senior prom, easter, Mother's day, etc).  It will be a busy and sentimental week.  I am so glad I have this blog as I have years of memories here.