If Alison doesn't look back on this summer as one of the best of her childhood, she has some fantabulous summers to come.
She ended her month-long acting day camp with an interpretation of "Alice in Wonderland" on Friday. After parties/gatherings had kicked into high gear in the last weeks so she was hanging out with her "teens only" crowd rather than hot-footing it to Jeff or me after class ended.
Her hour or so of freedom let her explore downtown Indy a bit and her habit of saving her allowance came in handy for that. She's totally embraced the idea of charting her own course.
On Monday night she informed me there was a teen party at one of the kids houses after class. I could pick her up at, oh, how about 11:30, she blithely informed me.
We backed that truck up pretty darn fast. And I got the, "please don't embarrass me" plea.
I probably did embarrass her, but no way am I letting her go to a boy-girl party where some of the boys are 13-16 and I don't know the parents. Or even know if they'll be home. Or if they even kow about this "party." Turns out it was all (mostly) innocent fun.
The parents were home. They were even nice when I picked Alison up shortly after 9.
We got a happy surprise Friday when Jaime and her crew took advantage of their Saturday airport departures and came in early to attend the play. We'd already collected Jenna. And then Alex and Hannah Ogden showed up! Hannah even styled Alison's hair for her part as the cook.
The Young Actors Theatre show was standing room only, which was great on a workday afternoon. But super fun and a bit out there for anyone expecting a Walt Disney Alice. Rebecca, Rachael and Aleasha had each played parts in other Alis productions so they were looking forward to it. I think everyone liked it.
It made for an unruly crowd for our ice cream stop after, but a fun one. As the only boy, Alex may have gotten a bit of extra attention. "He's doesn't like that at all," Lee muttered at one point, laughing as the girls wrestled him down the sidewalk.
Alison stayed in full make up, of course. I instinctively asked the Ogdens to come over and was trying to think of a way to keep the cousins (they had plans of course and a wicked early wake-up call) but I'd forgotten the "teens only" cast after party. So that was a bit of a bummer. Like with the cousins and Jenna, I snag Alex and Hannah as often as I can. They're just a great bunch of kids.
But obligations are obligations. The after-after party was at a house with a pool. We'd gotten the OK for Jenna to go. As we left downtown, I asked Jenna if she was OK going into a group of kids she didn't know.
"Oh, I'm GOING," she said firmly. "I want to meet everyone."
If you've ever met Amy Tokash, you've met Jenna. Jenna's just shorter.
Again the party was boy/girl. Again I met the parents and made sure at least one was going to be home. The girls reported that it was a great time except it did get a little awkward as the evening stretched on. But no way would they have missed it.
Saturday dawned on Jenna's delayed birthday party. And damned it wasn't boy-girl too. WTH is this? I like boy-girl parties when Alex is the boy and I've known every one of the kids since they were at least 2.
Now we have these dramatic boys from parts unknown. And every party I've dropped in on has been at a home that could be a set for a Real Housewives of (insert locale.) Sigh. I've lost her. She's really a teenager now.
We have our moments, though. She still hugs me and snuggles. And we have to stop the car for things like this:
Takes you right back to "Make Way for Ducklings" doesn't it. We were looking for Office Michael, but happily the mama duck got her little brood across Meridian with no trouble.
What's also great is that she's still firmly attached to Jenna, Alex, Hanna and Breanna Tabor, her pre-school buddies. Well, Jenna pre-dates everyone, of course. But the others are family, too. And I'd be totally fine if she stuck with them the rest of her life. Drew Tokash is included in that bunch, of course. Alison could marry any one in that group and I'd be a happy, happy mom. I'm considering letting a newish friend of Ali's into that group, but he's still in that testing phase.
Sadly, it's not entirely up to me. :)
Bree was in attendance, but the other kids at Jenna's are from her school, so there were unavoidable awkward moments. No problems; just the clarity that as much as I'd like to encapsulate Ali and the friends I like best, you can't. You shouldn't, anyway. Right? Because if I'm wrong, I can totally start the process of bubble wrapping Ali and try to get her good friends in there with her.
So after this week with Auntie Jen and Uncle Peter (with visits from Uncles James and David, Grandpa and hopefully Auntie Mary, too) Ali comes home then has a sleepover birthday party at Brees.
Then she's off to Flat Rock again for another week of sleep-away camp. We're trying to figure out options and timing with Ogdens and Tabors that will include the State Fair (all day bracelets for the Midway) the orangatun exhibit at the zoo and the Terra Cotta Warriors at the children's museum.
In the next two weeks, my challenge will be to work out enough to work off the dinners & drinks out plans we've been putting together. We started early, actually, when Ali went to Jenna's last night. Our Jasheway friends have tickets for KISS and Def Leppard on my birthday and they're thinking it would be a fun group outing.
I know as much about Def Leppard as Kirsten knows about Miranda Lambert, which is to say nothing. I did have a KISS flirtation back when I was Alison's age but rock music just doesn't stick in my head. I want to say I'm cool enough to go to their concert. (Jeff's a big DL fan and I do kind of owe him musically.) But I'm worried.
Before I agree to go, they're going to have to sign forms that they won't leave me sleeping on the lawn at Klipsch Music Center should I fall asleep before the concert ends. I did once sleep in a bar bathroom with the toilet paper roll for a pillow. I don't know how long I was out, but man I needed the refresher. And that was years ago! Imagine how less cool I am today.
I think Duane would at least put a jacket over me. Jeff and Kirsten will be drunk as skunks trying to get on stage with the band.
We do tend to host good dinners and pre-games, though. And we had a great dinner out. It might just be worth the risk. Wish me luck! And if you see Alison Reed out and about in the next few years, feel free to report in. I need as many eyes on her as possible...