I'm practicing one of my special parent powers this evening: invisibility. The tween has invited eight friends to a pool party at Wynterhall, and my job is to cater food, watch possessions, and PLEASE, MOM, DON'T EMBARRASS ME. I am not to chat with her friends beyond civil pleasantries, offer opinions about anything they're discussing, or make any facial expressions that may be interpreted as humor, disagreement, or surprise. I should just knit and read as unobstrusively as possible.
So we've loaded the cooler full of sodas, sweets, and snacks (big-time treats in the Knitternall house) as well as fresh fruit and raw vegetables. Pizza will come from Papa John's, and I've packed my knitting bag with the Moonlight Sonata Shawl I cast on this week. I also have Hello, I Must Be Going by Christie Hodgen and American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld for poolside reading.
The tween understands the family rules. She knows that there is no pool party without a parent. While she worries about any potential faux pas I might make, she also wants me there, just in case she gets over her head in this blossoming boy-girl world. Her guests include kids she's known since Kindergarten as well as friends she met during her first year at Peachtree Charter Middle School. I know all of them, and am delighted that she has such excellent judgment when it comes to friends, both boy and girl. Her friends are generous, warm-hearted, supportive of each other, and open to each new person who enters their growing circle.
So, here we go. I'll be the parent sitting in the shade, strolling around chatting with friends, reading and knitting, and watching carefully without making it too obvious.