Tommy went to his first semi-formal dance last night. He and some friends met at one of their houses for pictures,went out to dinner, and then to the dance. Although Tommy is only 15, he skipped a year in school, so most of his friends can drive. We would have gone out to take pictures, but he insisted we not waste the gas. Translation --"Hey folks, I really don't want you there." But his sisters had insisted on seeing pictures, so we compromised on his taking the camera and letting some other parent use it.
The pictures are pretty standard: three girls and three guys lined up alternately. Most of them are grinning, because these are long-term friends. The exception is Tommy's date "Kathy". (Actually, he informed us a couple of weeks ago that she's his "girlfriend", although as far as I know this is the first time they've actually gone anywhere together.) Kathy, while smiling, looks a little tentative. This is new territory for her; she's a freshman, and the others are two juniors, a senior, and two grads.
Tommy is perhaps the brightest of our children (possibly outdone by Maggie, and all of them are way bright), and as the youngest has constantly been exposed to his older siblings' friends. Kathy is the younger of just two (perfectly nice and certainly bright) sisters, and I hope she gets comfortable with this group of kids, because they're great! But spending time with Tommy means you will be challenged to justify everything you think and believe. I wonder if she had a good time last night?
But she's not my concern, and actually, neither is Tommy. It's me. My BABY is dating. My BABY is a junior. My BABY will be gone in less than two years!
In truth, I'm probably going to love having an empty nest. No nagging about laundry or trash. No shoes or drum sticks in the middle of the living room floor. No waking up in the middle of the night and realizing he's fallen asleep on the couch again. (That seems to be a family trait -- my brother did it so often my dad dubbed them "camper nights.") But the transition; well, he's my BABY. God grant me the grace to let him become a man!