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Phoebe Fledges, Part 2

Monday, May 26, 2014

There was such a rash of photos taken in the aftermath of Phoebe's graduation on Saturday, May 24, that I had to split the post in two. Just too much sweetness for one post.

There were 77 graduates. Not a huge class, by any means, but a very nice one. 
After the ceremony, we gathered all the available Thompsons together for a group shot. 

Then it was Phoebe in her blinged-out gown. Which, she said, was polyester and extremely hot. It was a gorgeous day, upper 70's, and the sun reflecting off the aluminum bleachers gave us all a bit of a burn. Everyone was scrambling for shades and hats and sunscreen.

There followed a parade of shots. Phoebe's dear friend and cross-country and track teammate Alex, who had also collected bling, cords, stoles and accolades:

Katie, Alex, Phoebe, Alyssa and Natalie. All teammates, all dear friends.  One of these things is not like the others...

Brennan. These pictures just make me happy, because the love shines through.

Matt, who gave the perfect, touching closing remarks, and Phoebe's Granny Elsa.

Jessi, friends since kindergarten! and an animal husbandry whiz.
I think it was around this point that I turned to Bill and said, "These kids sure do know how to have their pictures taken." I do not recall any supermodels in my high school class. 

Quintin. J'adore. If I had my way I'd have a houseful of these teens. I love it when Phoebe and Liam's friends come over. I like feeding them, like big baby birds. I like smooshing them with hugs.

Matthew, he of the Roller Coaster choreography in previous post. Almost as big a Pittsburgh Pirates fan as Phoebe. They're giving the Zoltan sign. Phoebe just patiently explained to me that it's a signal from the movie, "Dude, Where's My Car"(a movie I must've missed) that has been adopted by the Pirates. Whatever. They're cute doing it.

Where, you may wonder, is Liam in all this? Why, getting his supersoft platinum blonde hair fondled by girls, that's where. And not hating it. He likes to keep it long. But I've noticed that they mess with his hair when it's short, too. Everybody loves Liam.

Beaming with pride for his sister. Whoa. He's not her little brother any more...

Basking in her love and reflected light. She won't be able to do this much longer. He's gonna pass her in height by the time she goes to college. Maybe tomorrow. And he's going to miss her something fierce, and she'll miss him. Thank goodness for FaceTime!! We'll have to queue up Broski and Chet Baker regularly.

Selfies with Daddy. 

I'm chagrined that I didn't think to ask someone to take a picture of me with our fledgling. A moment, lost. The photographer in me is always much too busy documenting everyone else's moments to think of it. 

I did get a rare shot with my beloved and dearly missed friend Clarence, who drove our kids' bus for several years, and whose stories of his Viet Nam experiences I drank in every chance I got. Clarence is made of awesome. 

As we parents and family and friends left the football field, grinning like fools, a red-tailed hawk wheeled over.

A grackle took issue, and dove on the hawk, who sideslipped each time it tried to connect. I knew there was a metaphor in there somewhere, about Phoebe taking flight and sailing off, but I tried just to get the hawk in focus instead of thinking about it too much. 

We went to an afterparty at Matthew's house. It was perfect. Delicious barbeque in the garage, Frisbee tag and cornhole in the yard. Phoebe didn't get the memo about shorts, apparently.

She played Frisbee tag in her dress.

I was shooting these kids as if they were a little band of deer, melding my outline into that of a little outbuilding. They had no idea they were being photographed. That's how I like it.

Because unconscious beauty is the heart-stopping best.

Sharing a laugh with Natalie.

Making Matt retrieve all the lost Frisbees. There's another one! Go get that one!! You're the one with pants!!

There was a little old church cemetery right next to Matthew's house. I couldn't stay out of it. Sigh. There's the garage in the background, with all the life and laughter. I could only think the spirits were smiling and talking amongst themselves auf Deutsch as the perfect sheepclouds sailed over and the sun grinned down on us, celebrating our lovely children.

We stopped for a moment while coming home so I could take my zillionth photograph of The Three Graces, this time on a postcard-perfect day. And just across the road, the grasshopper sparrow who I discovered singing over a week ago sang again. My heart was already full, but that simple insectlike buzz, instantly and intensely reminiscent of the North Dakota prairie I love so well, about burst it. Oh, please stay, here by these trees that light my days. Find a mate and raise more grasshopper sparrows for me?

When we got home, my beloved but rather fussy Hibiscus "The Path" had finally (after months of trying and failing) opened a full-sized blossom, all the way. What timing! That flower, a six inch saucer of awesome, took my breath away.

Fixing some little zipper on her gown, she did, too.


Pure joy leaps from the screen, and those young people yield lots of hope for the future!
Any chance you could post Phoebe's valedictory??? -- my hunch is that she picked up some pretty good writing genes somewhere along the way...

I second the motion for posting phoebe's valedictory speech!

I so enjoyed you photos (especially the candids) from the day and your focus in your prose on all the beauty of it . It is so wonderful to read of such positive things first thing in the morning rather than the doom and gloom which is the daily paper....

Posted by Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 4:05 AM

Beautiful day, beautiful children, beautiful post. Thanks Julie - for - everything!

How perfect is this? You know the answer.

Great post. Its very interesting and helpful. Thanks for your nice post.
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Boy, that's a beautiful post.

Absolutely delightful! And I think Phoebe should get back into her graduation garb & bling so you can have a photo taken together. Although the gown probably was a rental. Maybe Photoshop??!

Kids are just the best aren't they? Don't miss any chances to take a photo with YOU and Phoebe this summer.

Such a big heart you have! Such a beautiful post. Tears of joy here.

Phoebe- very pretty and obviously smart.

my hibiscus (which I rescued from my neighbor's trash...yeah, I am a plant rehabber, I guess) is so happy inside blooming all year, that I may not put it out..ever.

Pure joy and happiness. Thanks for sharing. A red-tail hawk wheeled over our younger son's college graduation ceremony, too, and while I have no photos, I have the images (complete with those likely life metaphors) burned clearly in my soul. Go, Phoebe, Go! :)

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