Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Last Kid to Graduate

by Anita Mae Draper

Like several of the other Inkies, one of my kids is graduating from high school this year. It happens to be my youngest and the big event was this past weekend. It was a huge milestone in our family since it has been 20 yrs since our eldest graduated and now Nelson and I will be experiencing the empty nest syndrome.

I'm thankful that I have writing to keep me occupied so I don't miss having kids around, but I'm only kidding myself. I'll miss them like crazy when I'm not writing.

The weekend was the first time in 20 yrs that all the kids have been home in the summer. Usually they'll take time off work to make it back for Christmas, so it was fun to see them playing frisbee, riding bikes, and making summertime noises through the screen windows. I love the sound of kids playing outside in the summer where they can really whoop it up.

JJ Draper and Nick Draper, Draper's Acres, June 2016

The three older kids arrived Friday night and after eating and chatting, we played a game called Fibbage. Oh my, we laughed. Just one more round we kept saying until we finally forced ourselves to stop at midnight.

Saturday morning was time for final touches on our "good" clothes, music practice for Sunday church, casserole for church potluck, etc. I saw it as my opportunity to see how they'd all grown, so out came my journal. Nelson used a tissue box to measure them against the doorway where he'd been keeping tally.

Measuring the kids

Soon it was time to head to Montmartre School for the graduation ceremony. JJ looked so good in his suit - the corporate look - and yet he'll be heading to Eston Bible College in Sept to take the Martyr's Life course where he'll be working with people on the street instead of the world of business.

After the ceremony, we headed to Montmartre's Paris of the Prairies Park for memorable photos.

The Draper Family, Montmartre, SK, June 2016

And of course, the obligatory photo in front of Montmartre's 30 ft Eiffel Tower. We don't call it the Paris of the Prairies Park for nothing. *wink*

The Draper Family, Montmartre, SK, June 2016

Sunday morning was a rush as 6 family members and 1 guest needed to share our lone bathroom. Ugh.

At the church grad service, Jessie led Praise and Worship while Nick accompanied her on his box drum. Each of the four graduating youths received a Bible to comfort them spiritually, and a quilt to remind them that the church will continue to pray for them wherever they go.

Jessie Draper and Nick Draper, Church on the Hill, Glenavon, SK, Jun 2016

After the church potluck we came back home for more fun and laughter. I love my family!

Monday morning came too fast. Nelson left for work early, and then the kids played frisbee while waiting for JJ's school bus to come. I took the opportunity to photograph the kids in front of the spruce tree we planted when we first moved here to Draper's Acres 15 yrs ago. It was only 18 inches high back then and now look at it...

Draper kids and The Tree, Draper's Acres, June 2016

After the pics, group hugs, and school bus whisking JJ off to school, the the 3 older kids scrambled to pack for the long 8 hr drive back to Calgary. It was so very quiet after they left.

I have to admit that I didn't get as much writing done that day as I waited for text messages of their journey. So thankful when they arrived safely back in Calgary. And then on Tues, the oldest continued her journey by flying back to Vancouver after spending the night at Jessie's. That's the first road trip the kids have been on together and I really hope they enjoyed it.

We certainly enjoyed having them all home this weekend. Yes, it's going to be quiet around here soon...


Anita Mae Draper's stories are written under the western skies where she lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. Anita's short story, Here We Come A-Wassailing, published in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Volume 4, Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Present, Guideposts Books, October 2014, was a finalist for the Word Guild's 2015 Word Awards. Her first novella, Romantic Refinements is found in Austen in Austin Volume 1, WhiteFire Publishing, Jan 2016. Discover more at


  1. Oh Anita! how wonderful. Such great photos! I wish all your crew a delightful, safe summer and know you have many joys ahead! congratulations!

    1. Thanks Deb. I'm wishing and praying the same for you.

  2. Congrats, Anita! Looks like you all had a wonderful time!

  3. This is so sweet. How great you all got to get together.

    I love your mini Paris. :D

  4. What a wonderful weekend! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Congratulations to JJ as he embarks on the next step in his adventure.

    BTW, did you get your hair cut? It looks cute!


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