• Allie and Ryan

    Allie & Ryan

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    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 3

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 4

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 5

    Allie & Ryan

Monday, June 15, 2015

Stefan Graduates High School

Last week was a crazy one for sure. I worked Sunday and half a day Monday, then I got the Dup and we got in the car to drive six and a half hours to go to my parents' house in Western NC. It is a long drive, 410 miles or so, and unfortunately with Ryan in cycle it was just the two of us.

We had a rather uneventful drive for the most part. It did storm really badly at one point so I got in the right lane with my flashers on and drove 30 miles an hour, but it didn't last long! I also got my first audiobook (Billy Crystal's Still Fooling 'Em which I highly recommend!) and that helped the ride go by a bit quicker. The reason I am driving out there?

My baby brother graduated high school

That little dimpled face is how he always seems to appear in my head! But he isn't five, he is someone who is nearly six feet tall, crazy strong, super intelligent, and just all around amazing. And he is totally worth driving 800 miles in less than three days for. I got in late Monday night and Tuesday evening was the graduation. His high school actually used the auditorium at Western Carolina University, hence the giant purple cat thing in the background.

I am so ridiculously proud of this kid. He was in the technical honor society (hence the white chord) and was the only student to graduate with perfect attendance... all four years. Who does that?! My baby brother, that's who. He also has had over $150,000 offered to him in scholarship money. I remember when he was in elementary school, struggling with his dyslexia and dysgraphia, frustrated when it slowed him down. But with tutoring and some of the hardest perseverance I have ever witnessed, he rose above it. Honors classes, amazing honor roll level grades, top notch ACT scores... he has been living proof that learning disabilities only hinder you as much as you let them. I look up to him for that and I am so incredibly proud of him, I cannot say it enough.

We got there a little early... so we did have to sit for awhile. My parents look thrilled as does Emilio, Stefan's best friend from growing up that flew in to surprise him! But finally the ceremony started.

The ceremony was good... I don't really know how to judge these things since the last high school graduation I attended was my own ten years ago, but it seemed decent. 

My mom teared up when they played Baby of Mine and displayed baby pictures of the seniors (see the clothes basket above) followed by their senior portrait, but we all held it together pretty well. Their valedictorian was a sixteen year old who skipped two grades and in her speech referenced both Harry Potter and Taylor Swift (sigh) but otherwise everything went well. All too soon my little buddy was swaggering his way across the stage.


As the ceremony ended he held up his diploma to us, waving like crazy and giving us the thumbs up... he was the only one who did and I made sure to get a picture of it. He was so incredibly proud, as were we, and he was the only one who did such a thing. Because he is just that amazingly awesome.

Still proud!

I also finally got to meet Halie, his girlfriend, who is an absolute sweetheart. My baby brother has chosen well. They were best friends for nearly four years before they finally started dating, even though Halie is a year ahead of him in school they made it work. Stefan decided to go to school not too far from where Halie currently goes, so they plan on staying together for the foreseeable future. 

Since Stefan picked me up at my college graduation (on the left in 2009 at the WWII Memorial) I had to recreate the picture on the right in reverse. I did kick off my heels first! He was convinced I couldn't pick him up but I showed him! We all went out for a nice dinner afterwards and had a great night.

Wednesday came way too fast and before I knew it it was time to hit the road. My parents are moving at the end of the month so this would be our last time in their amazing mountain house. The view above is the view from their deck and one I am definitely going to miss. The six and a half hour drive will now only be a two and a half hour drive, which is awesome. My family only moved to the mountains about five years ago, so I didn't grow up there, but it is the house Ryan and I spent our honeymoon in and we still have a lot of great memories, it was sad to leave.

But Dup and I hit the road again and for the first time in her three and a half years she stuck her head out the car window! I had to take a picture to send to Ryan as proof! My mom was driving behind us and even called me incredulously saying, "Is the Dup sticking her head out the window?!" 

Yes, my dog is weird.

The drive home was long, especially when we hit traffic, but I am glad I made the trip and got to celebrate this milestone with my little brother.

I'm proud of you buddy!

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