January 31, 2015: Yearbook Chronicles

I picked up Ben's senior yearbook last week. I had forgotten about this treasure until I stumbled on the receipt in my 'personal folder' full of coupons and other reminders of personal to-do's.

One of the receipts was to Josten's from over a year ago, as high school yearbooks are purchased a year before publication.

After a call to the school, I learned that the yearbook of note was secured within a stack of to-be-picked-up books behind the school secretary. With proof of receipt in hand, I finally picked the yearbook chronicling Ben's senior year at Skutt Catholic High School.

I likely would have just placed the book with plastic wrap intact in Ben's room, awaiting his next visit. Until a conversation from a year past dawned on me.

Sometime the fall of his senior year, I received a text from Ben indicating that he needed a senior picture turned in for yearbook. He needed it right then. Due that afternoon.

Although my immediate reaction was to remind him how it was better not to let deadlines creep up resulting in the fire drill we were facing, I instead let my resourcefulness kick in. I started sending Ben the photo studio contact info with photo e-mail link and traded dialogue on his desired picture pick. In my mind, the mission was accomplished. We survived another Ben Lane fire drill.

And then I followed up with him later.

"Ben, which picture did you end up choosing for the yearbook?" I casually asked over dinner.

"Oh, yeah, the yearbook picture. I ended up not needing one."

"Really?" I probed. "All that work and the deadline really wasn't today?"

"No, it was. But we just decided to just take a picture in the hallway instead."

In disbelief I looked at my son, sporting a hoodie and with disheveled bleached hair. Dark roots were a reminder that his football season act of blonde comradery was long over. I then realized in horror that his future high school annual would be published with the mug shot of the son I saw sitting in front of me. I then thought about the beautiful senior pictures I went to great lengths and cost to obtain.

I am quite sure my sigh was audible.

Ben smiled, reassuring me that it was no big deal. I didn't say a word. No big deal to Ben should mean no big deal to mom, right?  After all, it's not my yearbook.

Fast forward to last week and the published treasure. Remembering the mug shot, I tore open the book in pure curiosity before I even left the Skutt parking lot. It was as bad as I envisioned.

Top left is what was published. Bottom left, I placed the picture that should have been submitted.
But it actually made me laugh as I looked at my smiling son with multi-colored hair. His mug pose next to the beautiful girls in their professional shots seemed perfectly normal. At least for Benny Lane. I am just glad he smiled for the picture.

That night, Grant and I went through the whole yearbook and had some fun as we reminisced over Ben's lively senior year and his friends we have grown to love. It was a good year and we missed the smiling faces that had become part of our home and our daily lives.

Using the back page index as a reference, we found all of Ben's photos throughout the yearbook. From being featured on the football state championship page, to having his tongue out in the senior group picture, we smiled. And who knew he was voted best storyteller? Not me.

As Garrett joined Grant and I in the living room while we were yearbook perusing, he asked what we were doing. Sharing our finds with him, Garrett just shook his head.

"I'm siding with Zach. It's time to close the yearbook. That was a year ago."

I defended myself in explaining it was just picked up that day. Technically it was not a re-open from past, but a new open due to delayed pick-up. No helicopter mom here.

Honestly, it was the best read and pictorial entertainment I have had in a long time. I may have to open it again next year when Grant's 2014-2015 addition arrives. Sometimes a good story is even better the second time around.


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