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I met the mother of my son’s girlfriend, also named Jane, lakeside where a gaggle of prince and princesses gathered for photos before setting off for the big senior prom this weekend. (What is that short for, promenade?) It took my breath away to see the young women looking like God’s perfect creations, and the men testing out their roles as escorts while wearing suits and combed hair that reflected in the water. Jane delighted me by reporting that my son, the one who still cannot remember to feed the cats before school, or walk the dog after, is a perfect gentleman at her house. That he chats and is polite and, well apparently, is quite welcome. It is these ridiculous moments where the kid I know and the kid she knows collide to suggest that there is more to the surly teenager than meets the eye.

There are only twelve weeks left before he is off to Ecuador for a year, and then after that off to college and beyond. In general I wish I had taught him better. Wish I’d been more clever at instilling in him the things he surely will need to know in life. Such as, why during potty training didn’t I just make it part of the program, that after you finish washing your hands you wipe down the sink and tidy up the toilet??? Not that he will suffer for having no sense of skanky bathroom smells, but really, why didn’t I look ahead more often to pave the way for a fantastic future existence, for us all?

Because you can only do so much. And having Jane tell Jane that her kid, and then HER kid, were both great kids was enough to tell me that my concerns are probably unwarranted. In the big picture.