Friday, June 29, 2012

Graduation Keepsakes - A Parents Gift of a Suitcase of Memories

It's interesting how the mind of a senior, in high school and a parent can be on two totally different wavelengths, during the graduation season.  For the past several months, my son has been looking long and hard into the future with excitement.  My wife, Angela and I, on the other hand, have been emotionally spent. It's not that we are not excited for him.  It's all the "behind the scenes" stuff a parent has to do to celebrate their big achievement that has been toying with our emotions for months.

Secret notes come home from the school about supplying baby pictures, creating "through the years" slideshows.  You know the list....

To top it all off, the piece de' resistance, the icing on the cake, we get a top secret request from the school to assemble a packet of photos of us as a family, from birth to graduation.  They'd like us to write letters talking about our wishes for him and how they've evolved from birth to now and into the future.  We're to assemble mementos of his journey, with notes as to why they are special and to be sure to include some new items, for him to carry into the future.  This is to be his "suitcase" that he carries away with them as he moves forward in life (code phrase meaning "leaving you.., goodbye, see-ya".  What the heck, is this project sponsored by Kleenex and the antidepressant pharmaceutical companies?

So... we put on our big people pants, went down to the basement and started digging through his life in boxes.  Here's what we came up with.

graduation, keepsakes, mementos, gift, ideas

We took the "suitcase" idea and went literal by altering a photo storage box.  I turned it on its side, cut the lid's bottom side and added hinges.  Angela found a purse handle and some corner protectors at the craft store.  To mimic old travel stickers, I went on my trusty graphics program and created some stickers reflecting his accomplishments, activities and schools including his college choice.  I was wanting to find an old clasp to be the lock, but couldn't find one in the time restrictions we had.

Inside we tucked away all of the requested items.  There's several of his old toys with tags on them.  One one side we wrote about the memories the toy evokes.  And on the other side wrote about his personal characteristics and how it related to the toy.  We enclosed a compass and a flashlight so he can always find his way "home".

graduation, keepsakes, ideas

His suitcase was given to him, by the school, at a senior retreat.  He loved it and was anxious to get home and thank us for it.

It is heartwarming to know that it will carry forward with him.  Someday, as a grown man, maybe with a family of his own,  he can explore and share it.  He might even find a few dried up tear stains.  Ahhh....who am I kidding, he'll find more than a few!

The whole suitcase idea served as inspiration for his post-graduation party.  I'm excited to share with you some of the pictures and the decor ideas we came up with in a future post.   

Until then...hug your kids!  Because they're "moving forward in life" and time with them is precious.


  1. Oh geeze-I don't know how you people (parents) do this. I'm all weepy just thinking about it. What a great gift he has in you two.

  2. Sniff....beautiful...sniff.