Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Andrew Senior Tribute

Andrew Keeley 

HS Senior/UVU Associate's Degree/Missionary

Tribute 2015


Andrew was born on Liz's 2nd birthday.  

(Both of them 9 months to the day from New Year's Eve.  Happy New Year!)  He was the most sober baby I've ever met, as he was basically just absorbing information about the world around him.  His head smelled like Heaven.

On his first birthday (and Liz's 3rd) we followed a long-standing family tradition and gave him his very own cake in the high-chair.  This was the first day of the rest of his life, and a cartoon-like "BOING" rang out as he realized the possibilities and promptly stuck his entire face into the cake.

Naked baby picture as promised

Instantly gone was the quiet, reflective infant, and in its place was a dancing raccoon. A little boy who spent his days fighting "bad guys" and shouting, "Not today, ZURG!" at any suggestion that he didn't like.  

For example, my mild, "Hey, buddy!  How about we put some clothes on that little tushie?" would be answered with a  "Not today, ZURG!" as he ran down the sidewalk with two swords and nothing else.

When Andrew was 2, we moved to Massachusetts, where he experienced his 2nd church nursery expulsion.
In preschool he learned about the life stages of a beetle.  He was so tender with the little eggs and worms, the teachers couldn't believe it when the worms became beetles and Andrew impulsively smashed every single one.  (One teacher suggested therapy.)
Image result for child hand  beetle        Image result for dead  beetle clip artHe was the preschooler who couldn't walk past a peer without roughin' 'em up; the Kindergartener who could tell you how many seconds were in 5 minutes, or how many boxes of band-aids we should buy to total 450.  This world has been a little livelier because of Andrew.

Elementary school was exciting.  On Back to School Night for first grade, little Lucy's poster of "My Hopes and Dreams" had a book on it with a childish, "I Len tu red."  Little Tommy's "Kep me pamts dry" poster was inspiring.  Andrew's Hopes and Dreams poster was a crudely drawn picture of two computers tied together with the words, "Systems Integration" on the bottom.

Second grade was the year of the "Pink Slips."  Whenever there was a discipline problem at school, Andrew would bring home a little pink piece of paper explaining the problem, how the administration had handled it, and what they would like the parents to do before they signed and returned the slip.  My favorite was the one that said, "A janitor caught your son dancing on the urinals in the boys' room."  They suggested I have a conversation with Andrew, encouraging him to stop doing monkey tricks in the bathroom.  I sighed, signed the paper, and said, "Son, try not to get caught next time."


He joined a playground brawl his final day of 2nd grade, and got to come home early for Summer Vacation!  We were moving cross-country to Boise in a month, so what could they do to him?

For mental health purposes, I've completely blocked out his early adolescence.  My therapist says we can open that door when I'm ready.
Surprise 12th b-day party at "Make Your Own Pizza" place
When Andrew was in 8th grade, we prepared to move to Utah.  Paul came first to start his new job, leaving Andrew as the Man of the Family to help me take care of things as we staged and sold the house.  His amazing scout leader realized that Andrew was really close to having his Eagle, and helped him to quickly wrap it up and earn the award.  That spring Andrew stepped up and completed his project, helped me prepare for the move, and proved himself a hard working, honorable young man.

Driving--Perfect Record!!!

Being Cool.  What he does best.

Mr. Cool has always been incredibly intelligent.  This intelligence has made him quite entertaining.  Andrew's sense of humor is one of my favorite things about him, and he uses it even now to get out of scrapes.  If he can get me to giggle, he's won.  Plus, he's cute as a button.
            I would have to say that one of Andrew's greatest strengths is his ability to immediately size up a situation and instinctively know how best to handle it.  He can play a football or video game and later describe in great detail the positions and actions of even incidental players.  He instinctively anticipates the opponents' next moves and uses his quick reflexes to control the situation.  
2015 Family Vacation
He can also glance at his brother or one of his six sisters and know the most effective way to make them squawk. For several years, I feared that this quick ability, along with his inborn fascination with weaponry, would result in mass destruction.  Fortunately, he is learning to channel his impulses.
Scouting High Adventure Summer 2014
He is clean, and dependable.  He challenges himself, and is not content to coast.  He's taken advantage of opportunities, and because of this has had some amazing experiences.  
2009 Saved $200 to take himself to FL to visit G-pa and G-ma.

I admire the way that he has consistently chosen well, studied the scriptures, and is ready to dedicate himself to the Lord.  He is ready to make and keep temple covenants, serve an honorable mission in California, and one day become a husband and father.

My advice to him is to continue to stretch and lean into new experiences, especially those that take him out of his comfort zone.  

I challenge him to see the needs of those around him and further develop his talents for service and charity.  I am counting on him to keep all of the mission rules honorably, and to seek humility.  (One of his elementary school teachers summed it up about right, "He has a very good sense of self.)

I pray that people will be kind to him, and that he'll be safe.

I can't imagine life without him.  I'm honored to be his mother.

The world is a better place because Andrew Keeley is in it.

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