As summer nods its farewell, our school hosts the annual football homecoming game and dance in mid-October each year.
After weeks of summer-like weather, the chill of autumn settled in just in time for this event, just as it manages to do every year.
Gathering place. As usual, our home was the gathering place for the friends who planned to dine out together before heading to the Saturday night dance.
I should be prepared for this by now, but it still stuns me to see these kids all dressed up and looking so fine, so very grown up.
I have to stop myself from asking, each time someone new pops in, “How did you get here? Oh my gosh, YOU are driving?”
The semi-circular drive in front of our home was filled with vehicles of every type and size as the house filled up with happy kids.
Growing up. Camera flashes filled the house as many pictures were taken. Beautiful, stunningly coifed girls placed boutonnieres on handsome boys dressed in impressive dress clothes, complete with tie.
These are the same kids who gathered here with a massive dose of shyness when Caroline asked permission to host her first girl-boy party several years back, seemingly such a short stretch of time ago.
Back then it was funny – no matter how badly they all wanted to be here and to be together, the basement rec room still separated in to boys on one side, girls on the other.
The years have rolled by while we all were busy doing other things. Blink twice, and everything changes. They all grew up without asking our permission to do so.
New people. These kids have grown in to impressive young men and women with hopes and dreams and goals and the work ethic to get them places in this world.
The girls with the giggles are now gracious and glamorous. The boys who once sported skinned-up knees and messy hair now command the room with an impressive aura of self-confidence.
I found myself blinking back tears of joy as I tried to focus through the lens of the camera on these young adults all standing together – smiling, beaming, radiant.
They were looking forward to a night of fun together, an evening spent making more memories to share in the years to come.
What remains. This group will remain friends, there is no doubt in my mind. This group cares for one another in a way that is rare. This group has something that runs deep and true – it is something to be treasured.
As they headed out the door, laughing and shouting and making plans, each one thanked me for letting them all meet up here, for taking their pictures, several of them shouting goodbye to me, and calling me “Mom.”
Just standing within the circle of such friendship is a joy. It is something to be treasured, for certain.
We should all be so lucky.
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