When we decided to have more than one child, we made a decision (not consciously at the time) that there would be times that we would have to balance some things. With three, things became even a bit more complicated. I can't imagine how that family in Arkansas with the TV show and NINETEEN children begins to make decisions.
I remember one time when Older Son had a baseball game and Daughter had a softball game at the same time. They were on fields at the same park and I was able to go back and forth between the two. We learned to deal with these things and there were times that we had to choose between two or even among all three. They learned to understand and they knew we were doing the best we could.
Times like that don't happen very often now that ours are 24, 21 and 17 and only one still resides with us, but occasionally we'll still have some conflicts that must be negotiated.
Younger Son's prom was this past Saturday night, here in town, as was a Parents' Dinner for Daughter's sorority at Auburn, a five-hour drive away. Granted, we don't go to prom, but it's a big deal and traditionally, all the parents meet at someone's house beforehand and take thousands of pictures before the group of couples, decked out in their finest, board some type of limo or "party bus" for their night on the town. We did it it with both of our older two.
With this being a first for Younger Son, a junior in high school, there was no question that one of us would have to be here, while one of us would go to Auburn. Daughter graciously told us she would be fine, that we should both stay here for prom, but Wife and I decided that I would head south and go to the dinner. As it turned out, this was the day of Auburn's spring scrimmage and Older Son decided to ride along with me and arranged for a a few of his old friends to meet him there.
We left early Saturday morning and arrived at Auburn around noon. I let Older Son out at his old fraternity house and told him I'd see him sometime Sunday. I then proceeded to go pick up Daughter who proceeded, as she always does, to "own" me.
As usual when she and I are together, we went to lunch somewhere that I, on my own, would probably never choose to go. It was this funky little college-town place adjacent to a plant nursery, cleverly called the "Crepe Myrtle" with a specialty of, get this, crepes! They are made right in front of you and you choose your filling. They were over-the-top good. Daughter always manages to make me try new things.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch as she caught me up on all the goings on in her life and all of her friends. I hung on every word. From there we went to see the school where she is doing "practicum" this semester in a kindergarten class. She showed me the windows of her classroom and explained in detail the educational practices of this particular school. She told me stories of the children she has gotten to know, as well as the teacher under whom she is teaching.
I should have never doubted that this child would be a teacher. She started when she was about six and Younger Son was two and he was her first student. She made him a makeshift desk in her makeshift classroom and taught him off and on for several years. He was not always the most attentive student but he was all she had (her older brother would have none of it, of course) so she made the best of it. And he eventually became a pretty good student under her careful guidance.
Fast forward some fifteen years later and she is in the home stretch of becoming a real live teacher and I have no doubt that she will be an excellent one. To say I am proud of her doesn't even begin to describe my sentiments.
Back to our weekend -- Saturday afternoon we shopped a little, which I had insisted we would not do, and somehow we ended up at Target in front of a pair of sandals that just happened to be exactly what she had been looking for.
Do you even have to ask???? Of course I bought them for her! But it was Target, for heaven's sake. Could have been a lot worse.
The dinner was very nice, outside on a beautiful spring night. I always enjoy her friends and enjoyed being with other parents also. Dinner was over early and she invited me to join her friends for later activities but, at 52, I know my place. I thanked her for wanting to include me but assured her I would be fine back at my hotel with a book I was just getting into.
Sunday morning I picked her up for church. We went to a Methodist church just off campus and it was "Children's Sunday" and there was the cutest little children's group singing, little girls with big bows in their hair and mischievous little boys scrubbed down and cleaned up, whose mothers no doubt had just threatened them within inches of their lives if they didn't stand up there and sing just as they were supposed to.
And as I listened to those precious little ones singing "Jesus Loves Me" in Spanish, which they had learned special for this service, I was taken back to the days when my own precious baby girl, sitting next to me and all grown up now, participated in similar activities, dressed up with a big bow in her hair. To use the biggest cliche known to all parents, where in the world did those years go and how did they go by so fast?! The little girl who "taught" her little brother will, in a little more than a year, be a real live teacher with real live students. Amazing.
And here she is, all grown up, this past Saturday night with her proud "date." I'm afraid he is all grown up too.
Wife reports that all the prom activities came off without a hitch. Younger Son cleaned up beautifully and endured all the fussing his mom made over him off and on all day Saturday until he left. He's pretty grown up now himself. And here he is, with his beautiful date and equally beautiful mother. I told him he's a lucky man.