There is a magic to this merry little band. What is so unique about this group of kids is that they have all grown up together in an atmosphere of complete acceptance, which is what a complete lack of any parental supervision looks like in a state park with a bunch of dads. They've seen each other through skinned knees, giant fourth-grade horse teeth, new schools, mean friends, and all of the other rites of passage without judgment and with a remarkable capacity for compassion. They can do that because most don't go to the same schools; in fact, they probably wouldn't even necessarily be friends if they all did. They can because they have no secrets from each other. They can because when you give kids the freedom to work things out in the context of complete parental inattention, usually things work out just fine. Not one of these kids can probably imagine a life without this group. I suspect that even the newly adult boys, who try so hard to act like this isn't a big deal, will remember those times and treasure them after they've gone on to college and the ties aren't quite so tightly tethered.
The only time the moms get to be involved is the annual Christmas party. It's a doozy. There are some of us who see each other fairly often, others only once a year, but it is always a festive and joyful, if liquid, occasion. There are awards for all the kids, often involving farting, pooping, or getting lost. The entire party is planned and put on by the dads. All I had to do was clean the house. It's the best deal you can get in entertainment. The payoff is a great night with old friends, and frequently, a shocking amount of recycling.
But there will be no more hosting of the CFA Christmas party. Hosting duties rotate, and by the time it's our turn again, both kids will be in college and graduated from the group. There will be other parties, of course. Our closest family friends we see often, but there some whom we only see once a year. And will G (and S later on) still want to go to a Christmas party with this group of kids from different schools? Will she still remember how much those other dads and kids meant to her life? Will she want to carve time away from her old friends when she's only home for a limited time?
It's so hard to think about anything changing, but of course, it does. It should. Imagine the alternative, your 40-year-old kid living at home, eating all your food, even potentially having a family of her own while still playing video games in your living room. Hello, dude across the street who still lives with his mom. And so, I'll shoulder on with all the lasts. And when the lasts are done, there will be the firsts.