This post is long overdue: Son the Older graduated from high school on June 6. As long as I've delayed this post, I really wanted to get it done before I leave for Taiwan tomorrow.
Let me start with a little history. Bradley was the sort of baby that got comments as we walked through the grocery store (in Dallas in those days). "Is your baby in commercials? He should be!" Yeah, he's cute, I know. Our beagle puppy thought so too. And tasty. Yum!
Our beagle found a good home in Dallas when we moved to Austin, and Bradley continued to grow. It's true that you take more pictures of your first than of your second, as much as we tried to prove otherwise. This was a portrait we had done. He was only too happy to mug for the camera.
And here he is with his two best three-year-old buds, Kelli and Grayson. I had them pose for this; I've always loved this snapshot.
A few years later, Bradley was asked to be the ring bearer in my sister's wedding. He was SO excited: he got to carry the REAL RINGS! And what's cuter than a seven-year-old in a tux? (Yes, she did consider using his four-year-old brother instead, but she wanted him to be able to stay up front and stand still for the ceremony, and Son the Younger wasn't ready for that just yet. She bribed Bradley with a silver dollar, and it worked.)
Jumping forward several years, this is Bradley in his junior year of marching band with his coveted tenors. He practiced hard for two years to work his way up to play these, even coming back early from a family trip to Hawaii. Now that's dedication!
I had other pictures of him with the silly plumed marching band hat, but you can't see him as well, so I like this one better. His high school is really new, so their uniforms are modern and nice as compared to a lot of schools. Except for the aforementioned plume.
Jumping forward another year and a half, this is Bradley's official grad photo. I have a good friend who is a professional photographer, and she took a great set of photos of all of us. This was the best one of Bradley. I haven't ordered the rest of them, but only because I'm afraid I'll go broke -- it seriously is the best set of photos we've ever had taken.
We naturally had to take pictures with cap and gown. This is my son with my father -- two of my favorite guys in the world (the others being my hubby and my other son, of course).
And here is Bradley with hubby's parents. It was so great that both sets of grandparents could be here for his big day!
This is Bradley with his parents. If you don't know us in real life, you may feel free to make comments about how he sprang forth directly from his father without any intervention on my part. I'm used to it. I occasionally hear that Son the Younger looks like me, so at least I get to be a parent somewhere...
This last picture was taken at the party the night of graduation. Although this was the first cake he had ever cut (he doesn't like cake and never has), he thought it was very funny to wield the knife for the camera.
Thus is the end of the pictorial tribute. Now let me tell you a bit about my man-boy.
When he was a toddler, he would occasionally be quite concerned about not having his current toy disturbed when he left the room for a minute (and this was when he was an only child). His expression for this is still a family in-joke. He would say, "Wight back!" (Giving the "talk to the hand" sign.) "Don't touch it!" (Pointing to the object of his concern.)
He's always been an introvert, my son, never one to dive into crowds and be social. In fact, when crowds get too large, he retreats to a place of less chaos. We used to live in married student housing at U.T. when I was getting my engineering degree, and if there were more than four or five other kids on the playground, he would just drift over to his own corner, far away from the cluster of other kids. Playing with a couple of other kids was just fine, but when the noise and chaos escalated, he was outta there!
Also from a young age, he's managed to find friends who share his quieter nature and hang out with them. His current crop of friends is, to a man, smart, quick-witted, and generally uninterested in the high school social hierarchy.
Bradley is his own man. Long hair isn't "in," but he likes his hair long, so he keeps it that way. For a long time, he didn't really like music, but then he found some he really liked. Know what it is? Mostly early '70s rock. Rush, Thin Lizzy, Cream, Blue Oyster Cult. It's not what's popular, but he doesn't care. He's gonna be great at Texas A&M with his long hair and his classic rock.
That's m'boy. Rock on, Bradley. I love you, son.