If you’ve got one of those seniors this year

Cathy ZielskeProducts & Classes, Scrapbooking, Tutorials33 Comments

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The school year is almost here. In fact, it’s already here for a number of you. Here in the upper Midwest, many of our kids go back to school on the day after Labor Day.

Last August, I came up with a little idea. I’d write a short message to my senior girl each week, find or take a photo, and at the end of the year compile them into one special little book.  I blogged about it back in June, but wanted to remind you parents out there, the ones who are trying to fathom how in God’s name you have a child who is going to be a senior already, that this is a little project you just might have some fun doing.

Maybe fun isn’t the right term, unless you call trying to proof for typos through tears fun. But there I go again, getting all sentimental.

Fun fact: I gave Aidan this book right after her graduation in June. She just looked at it last week. I know what you’re might be thinking, “Didn’t that make you feel badly? That she didn’t even look at it until now?”

My answer: No! Okay, maybe a teensy little bit.

But the way I figured it, when she’s ready to read it, she’ll read it. While this transition into college is not really about me (surprise!), this book most definitely included me and how I feel about this remarkable young woman.

Last week I happened to walk in while she was looking through the book. I smiled and walked out. I didn’t want to make some emotional scene. In fact, that’s pretty much my Number One objective right now. Do not make a scene.

Later, I asked her two questions: One, did she like it and two, had she had time to read through it.

She quickly answered, “No.”

Wait, no, you didn’t like it, or no, you hadn’t had time to read through it?

Quick as a flash, she said, “No, I hated it.”

I guess you had to be there but it was a really funny response from a really clever girl.

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You can create your own simple album of messages, or  you can use my template set as your base. I used Artifact Uprising to create my final book.

I have a feeling anything you create would be special. I know that Aidan will look back on this album some day and smile, all jokes aside.

Good luck, parents of seniors. Soak it all in.

If you’re not feeling like the most accomplished Photoshop user, I’ve created a video tutorial for this album that walks you through the basics of creating your weekly pages.

Messages to My Senior—A Project Tutorial from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

Cathy ZielskeIf you’ve got one of those seniors this year

33 Comments on “If you’ve got one of those seniors this year”

  1. #1
    wendy

    Wait…is she going to be a badger?? My son is heading up to UW-Madison this week for his NROTC indoc. I didn’t realize that was where she was going! We really CAN commiserate together!!

  2. #2
    Leslie

    Yes, I’m the owner of one of those senior-type people. And I truly appreciate the inspiration and the template!! I’m already pre-sad, as I watch this year’s crop of incoming freshman start the next chapter of their lives!! How in the heck did this happen so quickly!?

  3. #3
    heidig

    I think even looking at Aidan’s book would make me cry (I’m a sympathy cryer)! My girls have not only left for college, they’ve both graduated and returned. The older of the two is hoping to leave, for good, by the end of this year (mixed feelings about not having her live with me ever again). This book might be a good idea.

  4. #4
    Katrina

    Since I have one finishing university this year, and one finishing high school – I’m taking the two-fer approach (in senior books, and wine).

  5. #5
    Ruth

    Cathy you are always an inspiration! I have a senior this year and I am going to use your idea. I am already working hard at keeping my emotions under control.

  6. #6
    Kathy

    Well mine isn’t going to be a senior this year even though he is supposed to be. He has chosen to do a one year Rotary Youth Exchange and is now in Copenhagen, Denmark until June 2015, we put him on the plane on August 9th. I am going to use this idea anyway, this is going to be a very interesting (tough and exciting) year for our whole family I think.
    Thanks for yet another brilliant idea Cathy, and good luck with your new family demographics while your girl is away, I will be thinking of you all

  7. #7
    Michelle

    I love this idea and am putting it in my back pocket until this time next year when my second daughter will be a senior. Today, I am taking my oldest daughter to college for her sophomore year. It definitely seems a little easier this year but I am still not looking forward to it! Good luck with Aidan’s move to college. I know it will be a huge adjustment for all of you (and yes it is about her but it does affect your whole family!) but you will all make it through with flying colors I’m sure! Best of luck to Aidan!!

  8. #8
    Meghan

    What a great idea and a helpful video–thanks Cathy! I have years before I have to be sad about my kids leaving for school, but I think I just might use this as a family album for 2015. Thanks again for your guidance and inspiration!

  9. #9
    LaRae

    Thank you! I already had one, “I only have you guys for two more years” melt down. With a high school junior and senior, the empty nest will hit soon and hard. You are paving the way!

  10. #10
    Ellie Augustin

    AANDD I’m getting teary eyed. My oldest is going to be a junior and it’s a biggie since he’s got lots to do this year,then my youngest son is a 6th grader where it’s a new stage for him then there is my sweet 2nd grader who get to do her 1st communion this year (my two younger ones are in Catholic school) so my plan was to take a pic a month and make a note about then. I love the idea of the book at the end of the year I was just gonna print each picture and stick them into an album for them.. OH man where IS THAT Pause button not to freeze them for ever just for a little bit longer..sigh at least I have my little baby who just turned 1 right Ha

  11. #11
    Barbie Schwartz

    My daughter went off to college over 4,000 miles from home back in 2006. Now she lives 1,300 miles away. I still miss her every single day. This year, my stepdaughter is a senior. She’ll be going to college 1,000 miles away next fall. I may need to tackle this little project for her, with her dad’s help. Thanks!

  12. #12
    Kim K

    I’m going to have a Senior next year – thanks for the inspiration and reminder to catch the everyday simple things.

  13. #13
    Judy

    My kids are exactly one year behind yours… both the boy and girl. I live vicariously through your blog and just reading about this made me weepy that my daughter is starting her senior year on Monday. What a lovely gift (and yes, I plan to copy ~ THANK YOU for the idea!) Your daughter is lucky to have you!

  14. #14
    Karen

    I have one and school started yesterday. Took those 1st day of school photos, now I’ve gotta keep it up!

  15. #15
    Michelle t

    This is a great idea. I’m going to bookmark this page. Like I said yesterday I’m a couple more years away from my twin boys graduating. I’m extremely so not tech savvy, and I hope to be a little more so, but I doubt it. It’s such a beautiful idea, and I know she will treasure it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and talent. Michelle t

  16. #16
    Barbara

    Oh I love this idea. I may have to try it. Can I keep up 39 weeks of photos?? Well my Senior loves snapchat so I can always fall back to the photos she sends me. The real trick will be keeping it a secret.

    I wouldn’t be too disappointed that she hasn’t read it all the way through yet. She is probably taking after her mother and trying to not make a scene. Also when she does read it ( is ready to read it), she will really appreciate it.

  17. #17
    Helen

    This is perfect. My daughter just returned home from a year exchange and is beginning her final year of high school. Looking forward to capturing this final year together. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  18. #18
    Niki

    I have one child who is currently with his dad in Michigan getting set up in the dorms, and one who is a HS senior this year. It’s three years of trying to not make a scene! Thank God I have a few years before the third goes off to college.
    I remember how ready I was to leave home when I was their age, so when the emotions run high, I try to focus on that . Their excitement has been my saving grace…most of the time. 🙂

    1. #18.1
      Cathy Zielske

      You know, I remember that when I left for college (though it was only 30 minutes away). I wasn’t sad or emotional. But for some reason, she’s pretty connected to me and her Dad. I feel very lucky for this, but also, maybe I don’t know everything I think I do, right? She’s ready. She’ll do great. And so will we.

  19. #19
    Jules

    I think this would work really well for a child’s first year at school too. My girls are all grown up but I am thinking this might be a possiblity for one of them for her first year as a mother (when the time comes) … one daughter is going to be living close by and I think a photo a week might be possible ….

  20. #20
    Sunday

    I think she may not fully appreciate it now, but down the track she’s going to treasure every word in there Cathy. Such a beautiful project! xx

  21. #21
    Sue Treiber

    If I buy this template and watch this video, then that would be admitting that I have exactly 12 months before my girl is gone. I’m just not ready.

  22. #22
    Erin

    I was inspired by this when you first posted it earlier in the summer. I’m not a mom but a young married. And we’re exactly 6 months out from my hubbie’s birthday. I’m thinking it would make a great surprise birthday present while forcing me to take time to reflect and be thankful for all he that he is and that he does for me.

  23. #23
    Karen Peterson

    Beautiful book and thanks for the video; learned something new about you…you are a Cathryn…my oldest is Kathryn and she just graduated college oh darn.

  24. #24
    elizabeth hellum

    You know what? I have a senior and I am struggling in & with that. I like that you created something like this because not only will it be for her, but it will help me along the way to continue to let go..
    e.

    1. #24.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Elizabeth, yep. It totally helped me to process what the year was about for me as well.

  25. #25
    Kathleen M

    I just had to comment that my daughter, who will graduate in a few years, would not read a book like this right away either. She never read letters we sent to her while she was away at various summer camps through the years. I think they make her too homesick and she doesn’t want to be sad. I bet she reacts the same way when I made this book for her. Here is my question, how much crying did you do writing it? I still have two years and I’m already crying at the thought of her leaving!

    1. #25.1
      Cathy Zielske

      There was definitely crying while writing. 🙂 It’s a very emotional thing, watching our kids grow up before our eyes and knowing we won’t have that energy in our lives, in our homes… you can do it mama!

  26. #26
    Linda M

    My boy starts his senior year tomorrow and I’ve been wanting to do this ever since you first blogged about it! So excited! Thank you!!

  27. #27
    Kelli Kemmerer

    Hi Cathy, I have followed you all the way back to the days of when I was subscribing to Simple Scrapbooks (and getting them in the mail). I have always loved your articles (still do) and appreciate your sense of humor…thank you for the well wishes to those of us who do have seniors this year…some of us need the well wishes more than others (haha) talk about a feeling of overwhelmed! ACT/SAT scores, which school will be the right choice, etc, etc…I have often been able to relate to what you have written about yourself and your children’s lives emotional ups and downs as a mother…we all live through it thoughb I love your idea and think will implement it in my son’s book …I have been doing this hobby all of his life! LOVE LOVE your humor !!

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