See that roller coaster car? The one completely upside down on the ride at the fair in the picture below?? Thing One is on that somewhere with his buddy. Actually, several of his buddies.
We go the the fair on the Friday night of its run here every year. The kids get wristbands so they can ride all the rides over and over until they are exhausted, and then we watch the fireworks, get stuck in traffic for an hour trying to get out of the parking lot, and go home. Good times in a small town.
Last year, shortly after we arrived, Thing One ran into some of his friends and took off with them. To be expected at that age. This year we were even proactive about it...we brought one of his friends with us, made sure Thing One was wearing cargo shorts so he could button his phone safely into a pocket while flying through the air, and then sent the two of them off with their crew with orders to meet us at a set place before the fireworks. They are rising eighth graders: they want to be with their friends and that's ok. I counted six boys and eight girls in the pack that were together for most of the evening. Thing Two and Petunia stayed with us, although both saw some of their own friends there as well. I can envision a scenario soon enough in which we just drop the kids off, or at the very least are just spending time with the other parents while all three of the kids hang out with their friends. In packs, I'm not worried about them getting out on their own a little (at least in a couple of years, in the case of the younger two.)
Some of the older kids we know (high schoolers) were at the fair with significant others. I know that's the next step for Thing One, although that's going to be harder to deal with. Only five more years and he's gone. I can understand the transition to young adulthood, and even encourage the spreading of the wings, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Having one of those moments where I look at the fine young man we're raising and wonder where my baby went. :(