Wow, what a year. What a senior year.
I met Tanner last fall, 2019, just after I completed a summer of intense predawn workouts and Saturday meets on the Trophy Club Tritons swim team where his older sister, Isabel, was my amazing swim coach and teammate. We may or may not have been on a state winning relay together that was by far the highlight of my accomplishments. You know, we are better together… and yet here we are now, apart.
Before we get on to that part – the apart part - and Tanner, of course, a quick story about Isabel (sorry Tanner). While we were at that 2019 summer TAAF state swim meet at Texas A&M University, rocking the adult record boards and winning the team state title (no, I’m not shy about my 40+, I didn’t know I had type 1 diabetes sports successes), a random person made some comments about our more than stellar Trophy Club “mom” team. The town name of Trophy Club doesn’t always do us justice…
The comment was made was something to the effect of… “the Trophy Club adult team must be just a bunch of tall, blonde socialites, going to practice to sip ice tea”, or maybe it was cocktails. You know, at 5:00 AM, in a hot pool with hairballs at the bottom. And for the record, I'm a short home body with brownish hair that has to be died to cover the grays. Well, our strong, teenage coach and leader, Isabel, wasn’t going to let anyone think this way about her teammates. She assured this person that our group was a hard working group, there at 5:00 am multiple days a week and we all worked and worked out hard and we were amazing moms and role models to boot. And we were! A group consisting of teachers, engineers, a veterinarian, a nurse, a marathoner and me, the photographer and now, the diabetic. Take that random person! I’m so proud of her for standing up for us in the moment instead of just silently letting it pass. I’m so impressed with her courage and leadership to not let anyone talk that way about her team. And after that, just a month later, she called on my talents as she referred me to her family for Tanner’s senior pictures. Thank you Isabel! We are still stronger together, right?
So Tanner, I’m sorry I started off your senior story with an intro on your sister. It’s just the worst, right? That’s 2020 for you, isn’t it? 2020 – When you have your senior pictures taken and your photographer writes your blog post about your sister instead.
2020 was supposed to be your year and yet here you are getting kicked down again and again. Your soccer season, done before it was done. Your prom, cancelled. Seeing your friends in the hallways, nope. High fiving your teammate after practice, not happening. The race to the locker room, no one won that one. Saying goodbye to your teachers? Walking out of the school for the last time? Driving off the campus parking lot for the last time? Heading to Chipotle to celebrate with your friends? No, none of that.
The goals you set and yet you weren’t even given the chance to try… I cry.
You left Byron Nelson High School for spring break and never got to go back.
What you got was a slap in the face to let Covid steal your experience while you were doubled over and catching your breath, trying to figure out what in the world is going on. You were robbed of your experience. You deserved to have all those “senior moments” and they weren’t available to you. It’s called a right of passage because it is your right!
Instead you had to stay home day after day, spending the end of your senior year with your mom and sister, likely. A vacation that wasn’t a vacation. An empty parking lot. A brand new sports center that wasn’t seeing a lick of sports. A stellar soccer field, but no one was allowed to play on it. Class rooms with no one to sit in them. Empty desks. Empty halls. A school zone that wasn’t.
For the Marvel fans, it was a blip. A moment, a long moment in time, gone, lost and barely any of us seemed to be much a part of it.
What did you get though? The chance to do something different. The chance to stand up in the face of adversity. The chance to learn to adapt and move forward. The time with your family. The time with your dog. The opportunity to face a world of anger and fear and carry on with hope and determination.
And well, you did get some senior pictures.
These senior pictures represent normalcy. They are what your senior year was, before it wasn’t. They are what your senior year was supposed to be, until it was all ripped away.
Above all that though, these senior pictures are you - and no pandemic can take that from you.
While that seems like a great ending, I want end with Tanner’s successes. While I’ve been hibernating at home this summer, Tanner stood up to Covid and went and got a job, at a law firm no less. I already knew Tanner was hard working and intelligent because goodness he is heading to Texas A&M in the fall to study computer science. But by refusing the sit idly by and getting a job during a pandemic proves he has something even more valuable - motivation and determination. Well done, Tanner. I know your years in College Station will be some of the best years of your life because you are going to take the experience by the reins and make it happen, regardless of Covid, but with a mask on, of course ;)
And lastly, thank you to your family for brining me along on the journey to capture your senior story. Thank you for taking all my direction and for all the smiles you brought that day – and all the non smiles too. For putting up with the rain and all the awkward posing I insist on. You are a model photo subject and you truly look like a model in them.
Now give your Mom, Dad, Sister and dog a big hug and go kick Covid in the butt for all of us! Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2025!! Whoop!