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Henry Thoreau’s thoughts have hung on our fridge throughout the school years of our son.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

Graduation time has come and so have the parties. Our baby is a senior. Where did those years go? We also are headed to college graduations of relatives. The gift search has commenced.

For the nephew graduating from Notre Dame, my hubby Patrick found a blue bottle opener with a green emblem of ND and the Fighting Irish song with the pop of the bottle. He’s a practical one, that one (Notre Dame Fighting Irish Musical Bottle Opener, $12.99 on Amazon). “I can’t wait for their first game of the season,” he smiled.

A graduate Bobblehead was his gift for our son, “For the top of the cake at the party,” he said. “It has a spot to slide a headshot of our boy into the head of it [Male Graduation Bobblehead/Cake Topper, $5.99 on Amazon].”

“We have a busy month of graduation parties also,” offered Bernice. “For my godson, I found a black mathematics clock that looks like a chalkboard with math problems written on each hour. He just finished up his graduate degree in mathematics from Berkeley. I thought he would appreciate this nerdy little clock [DCI Mathematics Blackboard Pop Quiz Clock, $20.80 on Amazon]. I also threw in a gray T-shirt with ‘Ph.inisheD’ printed on it. He’s a hiker, so it will get lots of use [ThisWear Phinished T-Shirt, $17.85 on Amazon].”

“Sue started a collection of vinyl records, so I’m gifting her with a turntable that I found at Tilly’s,” laughed Julie. “I bought her the orange one, though it also comes in an old-school green and a blue. It’s portable, with built in speakers, so she can bring it to the park or beach with her friends [Crosley Cruiser Portable Turntable, $99 at Tilly’s].”

“I ordered up a book for my daughter from Sharper Image of all the interesting news of the year,” said Tom. “You give the company the date you want, and they put that day’s newspaper in a hardcover book, plus other major events of the year. You can also personalize it. I thought she would enjoy looking at it 20 years from now [Year Book Personalized Newspaper Book, $99 at Sharper Image].”

“For the niece graduating from Point Loma Nazarene, I bought a puzzle of the aerial photo of the campus. She enjoys puzzles, and this one will be a visual reminder of the beautiful campus she studied at.” The 400-piece Personalized Aerial Photo Puzzle is 18-by-12 inches and costs $49.99 at Sharper Image.

“My mom tightly wrapped $20 bills with colorful twine and placed them in a jar with a label that read ‘The World Awaits,’” offered Mary. “My parents wanted me to travel to Europe after my college graduation; they wanted me to see some of the world, expand my horizons. The month after graduation, four college friends and I set off to see five countries over the span of a month. A boat ride down the Seine through Paris, the rocky beach of Nice, a beer garden in Vienna, a castle outside of Budapest...it did open my young eyes to the world.”

“Will your parents adopt my son?” I jested.

“Chassidy is heading to Yosemite with her dad this summer,” explained Summer. “So I bought her something for her iPhone. It attaches to the phone, so you can take selfies from three feet away. It can attach to other devices also, like DSLR cameras [Telescoping Selfie Arm, $49 at Sharper Image].”

“My son played sports through his school years,” offered Crystal, whose son graduated last year. “I saved his jerseys and his favorite pro-teams shirts, and I cut out the squares of the names and emblems. Then I created a quilt out of them, which he brought to college with him.”

“For gifts, I usually head down to Old Town for their Saturday Artisan Market,” replied Ed. “I like to support artisans and shop local. I find people like receiving something that comes from San Diego.”

“For my college grad, I found the perfect gift for only a dollar,” my sister-in-law told me. “It’s a job-interview-preparation app called ‘Get the Job.’ Mama didn’t raise no boomerangs.”

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