Tag Archives: graduate

Gifts That Don’t Give

gift cardWe’ve all gotten the ubiquitous gift card (look that word up). Everything is available in a gift card these days and what isn’t you can cover with the use-everywhere-major-credit-card gift card. The question, then, is what do you do with the gift card when you’ve spent all the money on it? Throw it away so it’ll end up in a landfill until the earth is struck by an asteroid and melted? Sure, that’s one option. I think I might have another, more immediate solution: re-gifting!

This is the season for graduations, weddings and Father’s Day. It doesn’t take long for your wallet to get sucked dry with all the congratulations/I love you/you’re a great dad stuff that is best expressed with a token of your admiration. But what if you don’t really like those people and don’t want to dump a bunch of cash on a gift for them? Here’s where the gift card re-gifting comes in!

Say your nephew is getting married. Because you happened to say at the last family gathering that the Bugs Bunny tattoo he got from his shoulder blades to his butt crack was ridiculously stupid, he doesn’t invite you. What better way to show him it didn’t bother you than to send a $200 Macy’s gift card … with no actual money on it? Of course he won’t realize that until he’s at the register with his new bride trying to purchase that MixMaster with the stainless steel pasta blade attachment. But at that point, you get the last laugh.

The graduate attending commencement only because his teachers felt seven years in high school was enough for anyone will love the re-gifted Target gift card. What better way to say, “Get a real job and earn your own money!”

For the father that abandoned you as a baby to be raised by wolverines? You got it: the re-gifted Bass Pro Shop gift card. Money can’t buy you love. And a good thing, because there’s no money on that gift card!

What’s the worst that can happen? The recipient actually calls and asks where the money is? Play dumb. And if you knew what ubiquitous meant without looking it up, then practice playing dumb so you’ll be ready. Now just consider this my gift to you.

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And Then There Were None

Jean___Thomas2Mom and Tom2In just a few days, my tenure as a grade-school parent ends. Despite those times when we just weren’t sure if it would really happen, my youngest son will graduate from high school – We hope. Although, there is still time. Not until I actually hear his name called and the diploma put in his hand, will I breathe. That’s the same time his counselor will stop eating Valium like LifeSavers, the principal will stop considering a career change, and his first period teacher will look up and think, “Oh! That’s who that kid is. His face isn’t familiar.”

I’ve always said he is the child my parents wished upon me. This is the kid that would have qualified us for the elite Navy Seals special ops supreme command of Parenthood if such a thing existed. He has made us battle ready for any level of mischief, mishap, or outrageous improbability. While they say it takes a village to raise a child, I disagree. In this case, it takes a village, a fully functioning medical/surgical facility, an offshore bank, several high level negotiators, a contact at the United Nations, a building permit, and friends with “connections.”

Then just about the time I think I’m on the top of my parenthood game, he’s leaving. He never listened when I told him to clean the bathroom, wash denim separately, or mow the lawn. But when I told him to dream big and chase after it, he listened to that! I pushed him to take harder classes and do his homework on time. Of course, he never did that. But when I push him to be independent, smart and self-sufficient, he’s all over it. What the heck?!

So it seems I have worked myself out of a job — a job with rotten pay, long hours and amazing benefits. It’s a job I have loved more than anything else and one I must have done right. The last little bird in the nest is spreading huge, strong, powerful wings that will let him soar to places beyond what either of us could have dreamed.

And just as he did when he marched off to Kindergarten, he’s not looking back. If he did, he’d see the endless pride on my face and my heart in my hands. He’s going to be great! And I’ll be okay, too.

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No Do-Overs

010In just a few shockingly short days, my oldest son will graduate from high school. It brings on a spin cycle of emotions and memories and moments when I’m not sure I can breathe. Throughout the run up to this major life event, I have learned a few key things that might be helpful to others who are in the same boat or see the boat pulling into the harbor in the next few years. If this is a been-there-done-that for you, see if you don’t back me up on this.

First of all, if you’ve never been involved in community theater, do that now. You’re going to have to learn to be an actor. For example, you’ll need to act like you’re not having your heart scooped out of your chest with a grapefruit spoon all the time – last school dance, last birthday at home, graduation ceremonies, college acceptance letters. You have to act convincingly like you’re really ok with this black hole vacancy that’s going to move in when your baby moves out.

Consider magician as your new career field. It’ll come in handy when you need to magically produce cash for prom, grad night parties, announcements, dorm deposits, tuition payments, and, oh by the way, “I outgrew my dress clothes last week” so throw in a new suit and shoes. Magician Mom will benefit from a little mind reading to know when this young adult is feeling more adult or a little too young for such a big world. Not to mention, you’re the one who will magically make all the details of this transition happen because your soon-to-be-graduate is far too caught up in finals, friends and fun.

Then, prepare to be baffled. I’m constantly baffled at how we went from chicken nuggets and nap time to charging off to conquer the world in just a few minutes. It was only minutes, right? And why is that as soon as they start becoming these really cool people that you actually want to be around, they leave? Why don’t they go off to college when they’re teething or colicky or in that horrible hormonal stage that renders them unrecognizable? Just when you’ve gotten them turned into great people, they move out.

Is it too late to rethink raising that baby into a strong, intelligent, independent young man who is ready to spread his wings and fly? Probably no do-overs at this point, huh? Then all I can do is hold my breath and watch him soar! Go get ’em. Jack!

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