One night after dinner, after homework and before bed Jack announced he needed poster board and some candy. He had an idea to ask a girl to his Homecoming Dance. Trying to remain calm, and not act overly excited (but I was honestly super duper excited) I calmly helped with his idea. The next day he took the sign, and a small cute bag of candy to school. He surprised her, in front of all her friends after her lacrosse practice-yes while all her girlfriends took out their phones to take pics of him- and she said yes.
She sent him a pic of her dress (their homecoming is not formal and kids are encouraged to dress nice and make an effort)…and it was a cocktail length retro maroon dress. She instructed him to wear a bow tie. I already love her. Jack tells me “she is retro like me”. So off we went that weekend to a cool vintage shop in OC to buy a suit and yes a maroon bow tie. We then both endured bow-tie tying lessons from the worlds snobbiest hipster. Jack said thank you, and as soon as we walked out the store-announced he would study You Tube to master it. We followed that with a visit to the tailor to have the 1940’s suit worked on a bit. Where I watched Jack converse with the tailor’s 95 year old mother in Spanish (apparently he is learning something in class). Jack also turned to me in amazement at the low prices Rueben the tailor charged and the “cash only” sign on the wall that he thought was a joke. He said ‘it doesn’t seem right mom. This guy is like an artist’ and so I gave him some extra cash to tip the tailor.
Then we were off dress shoe shopping (wing tips of course) and finally figuring out all the details of who is driving, where are they eating dinner and the dreaded curfew issue.
Watching my kids grow up has been hard and awesome all at once. I imagine those crazy people who climb Mt. Everest feel the same. Because parenting is really a long path up one giant mountain. You just take it day by day, one foot in front of the other until you reach the end. I can see the top of one of my mountains, as Jack will be off to college in two years.
Sure I will always be a parent to him, it is not like I am getting fired. This is a lifelong gig. But parenting at that point is more auxiliary back-up versus the day to day orchestrator of his existence. You go from the person who literarily fed him from your own body, to the one who just pays for his meals. It’s a whole different gig folks. I see you parents with your chubby babies posting pictures and updates worrying about kindergarten, joining PTAs and 2nd grade homework overload…and I know you think what I am living is SO FAR OFF in the future. And in many ways it is…but you should know that I see the baby in my boys still.
I remember their baby smell. I’ll never forget their boundless toddler energy. I know the misery of tantrums. It is all still with me. I take all those moments, all those years and all those memories on my back as I climb up the mountain.
Baby Jack was there with me as we talked about his date, her red hair and how ‘super cool’ she is. It can be a bit much.
But these suit buying days are magical moments. These are the days that you know are a memory in the making. “I remember the day my mom took me to get a suit and to a tailor for the first time in my life for my first real school dance”…I can hear him telling his own kids someday in the same way I told him about the silver dress I wore to Homecoming and my date Tony who I was so crazy about I was sure I would marry him some day.
These moments make my heart soar.
They make the climb up the mountain a breezy easy stroll.
They make me float.
Frankly I am amazed that I did it. I made this human. And he is living HIS life.
He is starting HIS journey. And honestly folks…there is nothing better.
Nothing better than having a Jack.
I love you Baby Jack.
You are on your way…