Gifts with Meaning

The whole biological, extended & friend family gang at Jaden’s high school graduation, June 2nd 2018

FB post written on May 28th:

My stepson Jaden has 3 days of mandated schooling left, before he’s set to graduate from a system he’s spent the last 12-years ingesting as a tonic to both grow and be stunted by. We’re in the home stretch of the end of an era. For him and for me.

No more school functions to routinely attend. No more volunteering at the snack and beverage station in the back of the cafetorium at drama productions. No more daily preparations of breakfast or serving as his day-planner, reminding him of this and that before setting off in the morning. No more close monitoring of such things as is common for a youth in your charge when tending to their well-being is your full-time pleasure of an occupation.

What an exciting and devastating time this is, all at once.


FB post written on May 30th:

It seemed somehow appropriate that yesterday my soon-to-graduate-from-high-school stepson should have his car in need of an overnight stay at a tire place around the corner, deeming it necessary that I give him one last ride to school this morning. It was well-timed closure for me on the parental front.


I was stumped in the what-to-get-my-stepson-for-his-graduation-present department and landed on a collection of 11 gifts, each fashioned with a card I’d written a symbolic meaning for. My original intention was to leave it at that. But then I thought it would make for an appropriate gesture if his dad were to write the dad-response on the back of each card. So that’s what we did.

At our family graduation dinner on Wednesday night, Jaden opened each gift and then I read what I’d written, followed by Mike reading what he’d written. It’s worth mentioning that it’s commonly known in our nuclear family that I’m the nice one and Mike is the dark-hearted one (but dark-hearted in the most jovial sense of the word!).

To perhaps inspire others with creative gift-giving ideas, I thought I’d share with you a few of the gifts we got for him, along with the words we both wrote for each one. Here goes! (As is also commonplace in our family, let me apologize ahead of time for Mike’s sarcastic comedic whit.)

My wording: To remind you that we’ll always have the torch light of home lit for you.

Dad response: We all know how the torch is really going to be used, in your quaint little White Nationalist rallies.






My wording: To remind you that home is both wherever your heart takes you and also here in Montana.

Dad response: It is also a secret map showing the safest places to be come the apocalypse. Note: Texas is on    the very bottom, not sure what that means, I’m just sayin.




My wording: To remind you that as two mere mortals, there’s a lot we didn’t cover.

Dad response: Oh yeah! I’ve been meaning to bring this up but I either forget or the time doesn’t feel right. I hope it’s not    too late. Son. Don’t apply hot sauce to your eye ball!



My wording: To remind you that the world truly is in your own hands.

Dad response: To crush and crush…and crush and crush and crush and crush and crush and crush and      crush and    crush and crush and crush and crush crush crush crush crush. Hmmmm. Now I’m sleepy.


My wording: To remind you to go with the flow of the river of life.

Dad response: It’s also interesting to note, fish is a jovial colloquial moniker for freshmen in the exciting career of prisoner!



Video montage I put together for Jaden’s graduation week:

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