Ads for Grads

If you’re a parent of a senior in high school, you know that this year is full of deadlines.  Ads for Grads is one of them. 

“Every year, the yearbook staff sponsors a fundraiser.  You may choose to submit an ad for grad as part of the celebration for your senior.  These advertisements are a unique part of the yearbook in that they add a very personal, heart-felt touch to your senior’s yearbook by looking back on their early years.  Include a photo of your son or daughter in his or her younger years. An ‘Ad for Grad’ is a wonderful way to say something important to your son or daughter — such as some sound advice or just how much you love them — before he or she graduates.  All proceeds from Ads for Grads help supplement the costs of the yearbook.”

Or so the handout says.  This particular hand out was given to me this summer.  It has been haunting me ever since.  The deadline is this week and I’ve had almost 6 months to prepare.

Why is this deadline so hard for me this time?  With my oldest, I just made a quick decision, wrote something witty (or so I thought) and off it went.  But with Tony, it’s not been that easy…  I’m over-thinking it.  I can’t help it.  And every time I went to choose a picture or choose a saying, I started crying.  Every single time.

I mean, this is a child that will actually LOOK at his yearbook — year after year.  He studies faces, names, and compares them to other years to see just how everyone changed over the years.  He will use this ‘book’ for the rest of his life.  This is a child who had so many people helping him along the way.  This is a child who made his mark on the entire school district (and the Crisis Team, thank you).  This is a child who didn’t just “slide through”.  This took a huge team of professionals with countless hours of planning and strategizing.  And tons and tons of patience. 

I knew I needed to say something that he could relate to, yet so could all the adults who’ve helped him along the way.  I couldn’t use cliché’s, or any play-on-words.  I couldn’t use some profound saying that didn’t have any meaning to him.  I wanted it to be something that represented HIM.  Something that, when he read it (over and over again) he would smile and think “Yes.  That is me.  I can do that.” 

So I started researching Disney quotes.  Or anything from Walt Disney.  And Pixar.  And anything Hollywood or movie related.  I had so many choices.  “Here’s looking at you, kid”, “Follow the yellow brick road”, ” Did you rub my lamp?  Did you wake me up?  Did you bring me here?  And all of a sudden you’re walking out on me?  I don’t think so, not right now… ”  (ok.. I got carried away.. that was from Aladdin)or “anyone who gave you confidence, you owe them a lot”  (Breakfast at Tiffany’s).

Also running through my head were my favorite quotes:  “The only disability in life is a bad attitude”, “Never doubt your abilities”, “All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them”, “If you can dream it, you can do it” (all from Walt Disney),  “Anything is possible, if you just believe” (Polar Express, the movie), “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” (unknown), “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) or my very favorite:  “What we can easily see is only a small percentage of what is possible.  Imagination is having the vision to see what is just below the surface:  to picture that which is essential but invisible to the eye”.  

That’s my Tony.  There’s so much more than what is visible.

But all of that was too deep for him.  Too abstract.  Not visual. 

So… after months of debating, over-thinking, searching for pictures, and putting this off… I turned it in today.  I chose a picture that was right in front of me hanging on my wall and a quote from Toy Story that I heard Tony saying on an old family video tape we watched over the Thanksgiving holiday:

Tony Becker:  

“To infinity and beyond!  We’ll be with you every step of the way.  Love, Mom, Dad, Michael, Joey and Beau                    

   

And I cried the whole time I wrote it…

Becki