In my community, pretty much every kid who graduates from high school gets some kind of party – well, more or less the same party, actually, in the backyard with a white rented canopy for rain showers, folding tables full of food, and some kind of activity like volleyball. Since Boy in Black and his friends graduate this year, we will be invited to parties every weekend all summer long.
Yesterday was the first of the parties. First Extra and Boy in Black have been close friends since second grade, and First Extra comes to our house every weekend. The two boys have stayed close friends even though they have gone to different schools for the last six years. They will go to different colleges as well, but everyone knows that this is a friendship for life. Like Boy in Black, First Extra is smart, compassionate, and funny -- and somehow immune to the macho attitudes that permeate this community. He’s been a member of our family since the beginning.
We all went to the party, not just my husband and kids, but all of my extras at well. At one point, an older relative who didn’t know me asked, "Now do you have kids here?" I gestured to the volleyball court, where a dozen kids were playing volleyball, and said, "Uh, all of the kids on the volleyball court came with me. The three boys in black t-shirts are my sons, the blonde girl is my niece, and the others are extras."
First Extra’s mother came over to me later to say that a puzzled aunt had asked her: "Just how many kids does that women have?"
Perhaps the nicest part of the party was that most of the people know my son, Boy in Black, and it was like being the mother of a celebrity. "You are Boy in Black’s mother? Congratulations! He’s soooo smart and such a wonderful young man. You must be so proud of him."
A parent just never gets tired of hearing that.
With-a-Why on the volleyball court