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  • Christine Parlett

Not your typical teen: Nathan, class of 2020 senior, Springboro, Ohio.

I meet a lot of kids. I meet a lot of people every year doing what I love to do. Every now and again I come across a kid that really speaks to my soul. This is Nathan.

I’ve have known Nathan since 3rd grade, he and my oldest son played pee wee football together. I didn’t know him well, but his family was always fun and seemed like genuinely nice people. Nathan was just like the other kids on the team; respectful, kind, just an all-around good kid. Years passed and Nathan grew up. Fast forward to the present, Nathan is a senior, a soon-to-be adult that is looking down the barrel of adulthood.

I love to ask kids what their plans are after graduation. Some have very clear plans, what college they want to go to, what they want to study, even where they will be in 5 years. When I asked Nathan, he replied with a simple “I’m not totally sure, but I want to be a vet.” He then went on to explain to me that a lot of kids make very exact plans for their futures, but things typically don’t go according to plan, so he is keeping his mind open to what the future will hold. He shocked me. This answer is not one I would have expected from a kid of this age. Such a mature way of looking at life and unexpected opportunities that could present themselves at any time.

Throughout my time with Nathan, he was chased by a donkey, held perfect composure while being mauled by mosquitos, and even laughed at a frightening version of Homer Simpson, but he never waivered in his maturity and kind soul. He is not a typical snarky teen, he was funny, light-hearted, and genuine. Through all of it, nothing surprised me more than the very last few minutes we were together. Nathan’s mom asked if it would be okay if she hopped in for a few shots, and of course the answer is ALWAYS yes!!! I turned to Nathan and while laughing promised him it would only be a few moments and I would keep it “as painless as possible”, he laughed at me and said, “no, it’s good. I love my mom.” He opened his arms, posed with his mom, and gave her the sweetest hug that resonated with gratitude. There was a warmth that can only be felt, one that perfectly said “Thank you, mom for always being my biggest cheerleader.”

I cannot express how sweet this moment was. Thank you, Melody and Nathan for letting me witness a moment that truly warmed my soul. I photograph people with the goal of showcasing their true personality and raw emotion, this one was pure magic!

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