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Steve Lunetta: Golden years, graduating and growing up

Right About Now

Posted: July 9, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Our youngest son just graduated from one of the finest high schools in Southern California: Hart High School in Newhall.

He is the third and final member of the brood to graduate, and we sat through the graduation ceremony a few weeks ago with a mixture of feelings.

On the one hand, we were glad that it’s over. The many complications and drama of the high school years can be very draining.

Also, it seems like every time we turn around, there was a new “spirit pack” fee or “fund-raising opportunity” or “appreciation” gift or “secret sibling” gift or dance or prom or whatever. My wallet took a beating.

I won’t miss the stupid problems, like the time he stumbled out of a bus in his formal duds, snagging his clothes — and I became the owner of a shredded pair of tux pants.

Or all the times he “borrowed” his brother’s clothing, only to discover that “borrowing” to some people is “stealing” to others.

Or the many times we woke up to find our home “decorated” with the cheapest toilet paper money can buy — unless we got hit by kids from West Ranch, in which case we saved the paper ’cause it was so high-end.

Of course, the kids all must have the latest in cellphone technology, laptops or gaming systems. When I was a kid, we had these things called “books” that you opened up and read. Best part was, they did not need to be plugged in so we never fought over who stole whose charger.

I am going to miss a few things, though. Seeing Caleb on the football field or running hurdles was always fun. But now, my friends and I will go to Hart football games and cheer for other people’s children.

I’ve become a fan of the red and black, and that will not change anytime soon.

I will also miss the pictures that we got to take of our children when they got dressed up for prom or winter formal. It was a small reminder that all children grow up to be adults, sometimes too fast.

I will miss all of the times that he pulled things out at the last second. My youngest always had a penchant for waiting until the last possible second before turning in a homework assignment or accomplishing some task.

He is also very adept at talking his way out of nearly any situation, a skill that served him well in his years at Hart.

Hart was an amazing place to become involved and explore new things. All of our sons greatly benefitted from the potpourri of activities available.

Caleb tried his hand at many things and grew immensely from the experiences. Debate, newspaper sports editor, show choir, Quidditch team. Oh, wait. Strike that last thing.

For anyone preparing kids to go into high school, now is the time to try new things and grow. Step out of the comfort zone and stretch. If it doesn’t work out, no big deal. Try something else. In a couple of years, you’ll settle in and focus.

We are preparing our son to go to UC Santa Barbara right now. I’ve heard that the school doesn’t allow alcohol or blondes on the campus, and that the place has been taken over by Jesuit nuns. Is that true? That is what Caleb keeps telling me.

Hopefully, the Jesuits can return some sanity to this UC campus (see last week’s column).

He’ll be living away from home, and we are preparing for the change that will come since we’ve been through it before. He will no longer be tied to us and will begin to train himself to be an independent adult. Of course, this is the goal of all parenting. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

Our baby is no longer a baby, but a fine young man. How difficult that is to say.

There will always be a side of us that will see him as a baby. Or the little boy who put his hand on the stove burner at the age of 2. Then, a month later, he did it again.

The strange thing is, we know he is very bright. A kid who can pass nine AP tests is a fairly sharp tool. But we know that, for him, many of life’s lessons will need to be learned the hard way.

So we watch and we pray. A chapter is closing for us, but starting for him. We will always love and cherish our last little boy. Now it is time for us to affirm the young man who must now go forth and use what he has learned from us and Hart High School to make his own way.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita. He can be reached at


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