Military Dance

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2007
Military Dance
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 1:51pm

I got a call from our Youth Pastor and a young boy in our youth group in the 9th grade age 15 in ROTC wants to invite my daughter whom will turn 13 in December to the Military Ball that will take place in late March at that time there will be 2 years age gap and 2 grades gap, but he wants to invite her just as friends because they hang out in the youth group at church totally innocent and I trust him. I issue is SHE IS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL!  I am crazy. I know most 9th graders enter the 9th grade at age 14 and my daughter would be 13, but I feel she would feel ackward with teens in high school.  She wouldn't know anyone other then the boy she is going with. Her Dad said NO but its the Military Ball and she looks so much older thats why the young boy was going to ask her because he thought she was 14 and in the 8th grade.  Ok tell me what you think honestly but be nice................

Confused Undecided

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 11:33pm

If there are only a dozen kids in the group, then he REALLY HASN'T paid attention to her, if he didn't know her age.  You are making a good decision here.  There is NO reason to get involved with boys, and all the pressure that puts on a girl, at her age.  There is SO much more to life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 10-03-2013 - 11:40am

I am not that concerned about the dating aspect of it if as you say the boy likes her more as a friend and you know that he's a good kid (verified by the Pastor, no less).  I mean it's only a dance, they don't have to get married after it and since he's not old enough to drive himself there, the parents can chaperone the driving.  Being ROTC, I would also assume there are certain standards of behavior they they are expected to adhere to and it won't be a free for all.  I would just think that a 7th grader going to bascially a high school dance would feel so awkward--not only will she not know anyone but the boy but there will be so many older kids, sophisticated girls and boys and they will be looking at her like a child (which she is).  I can't really imagine it would even be that much fun for her to go.

Avatar for suzyk2118
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Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 10-03-2013 - 12:21pm

I'm in this line with Music - I'd think it'd be well chaperoned, etc. but since she doesn't know anyone else and is younger, what if he decides to hang with other friends? I'd think it'd be awkward for her.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Fri, 10-04-2013 - 3:32am

Another ramble of mine here, but I put my point to the original poster in bold type.

I got a nice e-mail from Nancy Reagan thanking me for saying that she was 26 and Ronny was 41 on their wedding date. She said, “What lady doesn’t enjoy being listed as five years younger than she really is? However, I was nearing 31 on our wedding day.” Obviously, I’m joking and looked her up on Google to see what ages they were.

I have a theory about Ronny and Nancy that may or may not be correct. Nancy, like my mother, my youngest daughter, and me, had a baby about seven months after the wedding. My daughter and I somehow screwed up on the birth control which was not around back in Nancy and my mother’s day; condoms were about all there was back then. My daughter and I were both planning our weddings when it happened. Not sure about mom and dad other than it was unplanned, like about half of all pregnancies. I think that Nancy may have been hearing the ticking of the old biological clock and did like a gal I knew back in college who was dating a hunk, and somewhat of a playboy, when she got preggers. The other girls figured she went off the pill and used a paper punch on the hunk’s condoms. They appear to be still happily married. I think Nancy wanted Ronny and may have used a paper punch on the condoms, but that is only a theory. What is not a theory is that this was one of the great romances of our time.

Returning to the Military Ball situation: I do see that 27 plus months is a big difference between the two. However, If the girl wants to go, if she is comfortable with the fact that she will be among lots of older kids for a few hours, if the guy understands that he has a duty to stay with her and help support and protect her feelings, if they both understand that this is an exception to a reasonable age for dating rule (reasonable in the eyes of the parents, not theirs), etcetera, I think I probably would have let our girls go at 13¼ to a well supervised dance. Even if he is driving, you may want to chofer them to and form. However, I also think this is an issue that both parents need to be united and in agreement on in front of the daughter.

One of two pieces of advice my mother gave me when I married, and that I passed on to my daughters was, “Never ever let the kids find any daylight between you and their father.” And I never saw any daylight between my mom and dad. Going back to what Rose said about “picking your battles carefully,” I think this is also true with the spouse. In short, if after careful consideration one parent says no, then the answer is no, and the kid should never know that there was a split decision compromise on no. One trick hubby and I used was to say something like, “Your dad and I will have to review and discuss this before we can give an answer.” Lots of times the issue disappeared before we had to give an answer. After the weddings, “Discuss that with your hubby.” Mother never said anything about that, but she and dad and hubbies parents never entered into our decisions and we try to do the same with the couples.

Musiclover said, “I mean it’s only a dance, they don’t have to get married after it . . . .” I chuckled and thought, “Yeah, the ‘we want to get married’ came about four years after that Halloween dance in our house.” Seriously, other than our daughters and maybe my mom and dad, I can’t think of any other couples who married the first person they went to a dance with. If anything, I bet most may not even have made it to a second dance together.

In our state, when my parents were teens, teens could drive at 14. My parents were glad the age was raised to 16 by the time we reached our teens. Parents our age are glad that the state has put even more restrictions on teen driving. Up until a few years ago, maybe 15 years or less, parents could sign for a 14 year old to get married in our state. That has been raised to 16. One of my standard jokes was, if I knew our daughter would be happy, I would sign off on her marring at 14. Our older daughter and SIL were both 18. Younger daughter and SIL were 2 days and 30 days shy of being 17. Both couples wanted to “go all the way” which to them meant marriage. At 3½ plus years things look really good, but that can change quickly as we all know. And yes all three sets of parents were and continue to be worried. Worry is a major part of being a parent and according to my mother does not stop when the youngest is 18, or 21, or 39 plus something. like me. We signed off on the marriages because it was clear that married or not married, it was going to be a train wreck either way if the wheels ever come off. Also, the older two could hitch any time and were going to, the younger two would hitch the following year, and we wanted it to be a serious event in their lives. We also knew the caliber of these romances. Another thing that entered my mind was that even if it ended in divorce that would not be much different than hubbies and my situation. We are both on our first marriage, but we also each had two failed shack ups, which are effectively trial marriages that failed. (I told you that hubby and I were really messed up when we married. Those failed trial marriages were part of the baggage we took ten years working our way through.)

Over the years, I have walked though country graveyards where portions of our family rest. As I look at those old headstones, some have a heart, between the names of the couples, with the wedding date of the couple. Lots of 15 and 16 and 17 year old brides married to 17 and 18 and 19 and 20 and 21 year old grooms; even spotted a bride who was still 14. Yes, life expectancy was shorter and educational requirements minimal back then, these idiots were too young to know what they were doing, but lots of happiness in those lives also.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 10-04-2013 - 10:42am

I was thinking of the proms and dance that my DD went to in high school--I don't think she ever had a date w/ any of those guys other than the dance.  And I think she did most of the asking because she was very social and if all her friends were going to go to a dance, then she wanted to be there too.  I think most of that was wanting to be with her friends and wanting to dress up--the guy was more of an afterthought--as long as he was a friend and nice guy, that was enough.  She never really had a BF in high school.  

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 10-04-2013 - 2:14pm

Liz, my kids never had BF's in HS either.  They both had a bunch of friends, and they went to all the dances as a group.  Half the time, no one even had a specific "date". 

And they CERTAINLY didn't have BF's in middle school, except someone they sat next to on the bus, and held hands with while passing to class -- "Suzy + Jonny in a heart with an arrow thru it-crushes", but that was it. 

This is not Bengladesh.  There is SOOO much more to experience in life besides being chained to a partner at 13, having sex at 15, married at 17 and a passle of kids by 21.  The qualities you look for in the opposite sex, at 13, are NOT the same ones you use at 16, OR (hopefully) after you graduate college.  Your life goals at 13 are WAAAY different than those you have after                 experiencing emotional and intellectual maturity.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Sat, 10-05-2013 - 1:30am

Dacusvillegirl, thinking again about your daughter’s situation and what others said, it may very well be that the youth pastor is trying to look for a way to forewarn you as parents and also find a way to keep anybody’s feelings from getting hurt. I would do as your husband was going to do and chat with the youth pastor and try to work together with him.. Also, if I felt that this whole thing would make DD feel uncomfortable, I would try to keep her from ever knowing. As we all said they may be right for each other at a later date, but not now. And you want both parents to be on the same page and if one has bad vibes after giving it fair consideration, this would be a NO GO SITUATION in our home. I would make sure that the boy knew it was not a rejection of him but the timing.

As I read between the lines, I think you and hubby are good parents and mostly on the same page. Your DD is fortunate to have you and so will your future SIL be fortunate to have you—this guy or a different guy.

I talked with mom earlier and she says that neither she nor dad were the other’s first date to a school dance; just the last dates. So, the only “kinky couples” I know, who married the first and only person they went to a school dance with (or any date for that matter), are our daughters and SILs. LOL My point is: Relax Dacusvillegirl, the odds are WAY against this going beyond that one date, if you and hubby do allow it.

Sabrtooth, how did you know we are of Bangladesh ancestry? LOL Joking of course. Dare I say we are all of European decent, except the Butchman, youngest SIL, who is 5/32 American Indian from three different tribes—tribes that once tried to kill each other. Two summers ago, we’re at Custards Last Stand and later at Wounded Knee when Butchman starts talking about “my people who you pale faces tried to eliminate so that you could steal our lands. And here I am married to one and living with them.” LOL Same routine as we stood at Plymouth this summer. “My people gave you pale faces food to keep you from starving and how did you repay our kindness, you stole our lands.” LOL

I found nothing in what Sabrtooth said that I can disagree with. Our situation is NOT one that we would have planned, but we’re hopeful about the future-and for good reasons. We are all fully aware of just how risky teen marriages are. All of us can think of dozens that ended badly for every good one that has lasted. To a certain extent, I suppose we are like the gal who was laying on a gurney in the mash unit of Iran and heard the doctors talking about her chances of survival being 2% and thought, “I might as well be in that 2%.” And she was.

Even older couples can screw things up royally and my poster boys for that would be VP Al Gore and almost VP John Edwards. Who would have ever thunk it? Old dumb me, I was stunned by both. My mother still reminds me that, “You are either growing closer or apart. Be careful to always be growing closer, Kimmy!”

What starts out as friendship often goes south early on for many, perhaps most. For a few the friendship becomes a romance with marriage and hopefully one that lasts a lifetime. We call those folks, “lucky in love.”

After the Halloween dance we let the girls go with a group of friends, which included the guys and sometimes as many as another dozen kids, to the mall, movies, Six Flags on the weekend. Also, the Christmas Dance, Valentines Dance. Spring Dance, End of School Dance, which at the junior high are more a group activity than a couple thing. Mostly the junior high dances are along the lines of what Sabrtooth said about Suzy + Jonny in a heart. Hubby and I still help out when the junior high or high school needs some help. Other than trying to act older, I don’t think many have a clue, especially the guys

Butch gave youngest daughter a book of a dozen movie tickets for Christmas. She asked him and her sister to go with her, while oldest future SIL was with his parents on their annual after Christmas trip to grandpa’s ski cabin. Several of those movie trips were with other teens going to the same movie.

The following summer the four of them would often walk, with six to twelve other teens, the three miles to Six Flags or Hurricane Harbor waterpark where the parents would pick them up after work. Other times they bummed a ride from a neighbor going shopping or running errands in exchange for things like mowing their lawns, feeding their dog while they were on vacation. They started mowing lawns together as a team business.

Starting with summer school that summer and continuing on when classes resumed for the fall, they often studied together in the living room of one of the homes, as they were all in the same classes. The younger two went on diets together and went to a local fitness club together several nights per week.

They enjoyed playing bridge, hearts, spades, and strip poker (joking) together in various combinations. Often times there would be a Friday or Saturday evening group of maybe a dozen teens playing these games at one of our homes, with adult supervision, Beer (root), RC Cola, Moonpies, Papa John’s Pizza, or hot dogs and hamburglars off the gas grill out back.

Are all these activities dates? YUP, they are, if the definition of date is a boy and a girl spending time together doing things together that they both enjoy. Can’t deny that.

Once you’re down the river, it’s almost impossible to turn around and shoot the rapids back up the stream. And we would not change the way things are, even if we could. .

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 10-05-2013 - 12:15pm

Kimmy, I surely hope that your daughters stay happy, and do not regret the road untraveled. 

Dh & I wanted our daughters to travel the roads.  When ODD was 13, she had been taking clarinet lessons for 4 years, and was first chair in her section in the school band.  She was also a "big sister/mentor" to a beginning clarinet student, was in marching band, learning to use charcoals, taking riding lessons, doing community service for her confirmation, and babysitting.  When YDD was 13, she had been taking flute lessons for 4 years, was in concert band, taking dance lessons, involved in the "Girls and Technology" club, was the typist for the school newspaper, doing community service, and babysitting her flute teacher's infant and toddler. 

If someone asked them to a middle school dance, we told them, "That's fine--you'll see them there."  Boys did not come to the house unless it was with a group of friends, which we supervised.  They did not go to boys' homes.  They did not "hang out" at the mall, the movies, the park or anyplace else.  They went to specific activities--bowling, roller rink, movies, amusment park, when they had free time after practices, competitions, homework, community service, chores, and jobs. They went with their friends, taken there by one set of parents, supervised there by the parents as often as not, and picked up by another set of parents.  All their friends were as busy as they were.  

Beginning the summer befor 9th grade, they practiced marching and did sectionals from 8 to 12  every day.  Then they went home, and god help them if anybody came into the house, or they left, unless it was to a supervised activity, or parents of the kids they were babysitting came and got them.  Dh was home by 3pm, and I was off Monday afternoons, and Fridays.

As they got older, they got busier.  They were in honors, and AP classes.  They were in park distrct sports.  They did community service.  They marched competativily, so on top of practice, there were the trips, parades and shows.  Older dd played pit band for local community theaters, and played in the community band.  Ydd was in dance, and in the drama club.  Once they turned 16, they got "real" jobs that they fit in around their other activities.  Besides supporting their phones and cars, the money helped pay for the more expensive band trips, and more expensive fun, like attending professional sports, theater, concerts, and activities downtown.

They went to college, and made great friends at school and work.  They worked hard, and played hard.  By the time ODD was 22, she'd been to Montreal, Toronto, London and NYC on her OWN dime.  She graduated college, began teaching HS Art, moved out with friends, got engaged, broke it off, and moved into her own apt.  She is still teaching, and is Department Chair.  Met a new guy, travels everywhere, does everything.  10 days in Spain in July, and just got back from a long weekend in Maryland.  They have a townhouse.  She is getting married, and having her 1st baby, at 32.

By the time YDD was 21, she'd gotten a full time secretarial job, finished college, and moved to Virginia Beach to work for a Fortune 500 law firm, and live with her fiancee.   She got married when she was 22, and they bought a condo back in Illinois when she was 23.  When she was 25, she got rid of the husband, but kept the condo.  Worked for several lawfirms, met a new guy, will NEVER get married again, but had her first baby 21 months ago, when she was 28.  6 weeks after giving birth, she switched jobs from being a legal secretary, to being the Exec Sec for the president of a shipping firm.  The business is growing tremendously, and a few months ago, the pres brought in a CFO.  The CFO told my dd he'd told the boss, "You struck gold when you hired her !"  She has a lot of responsibility, but in return, they are very good to her.

I was informed by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Erma Bombeck.  I think my kids were informed by Carrie Bradshaw, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I'm glad. 

Now I'VE written a novel.

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Registered: 08-08-2009
Sun, 10-06-2013 - 12:12am

Sabrtooth, I enjoyed reading your novel. Actually though, it was a work of non-fiction written from the heart with justifiable pride in a job of parenting well done. To me, it is vastly more interesting than any novel could be.

My mother and I also loved Erma Bombeck. So did the late news commentator Paul Harvey, if you recall him. These were people who could write well and about interesting things with clarity, humor, and kindness. Their jokes were never cruel or crude. Wish there were more like them.

Obviously, as I already knew, you and DH are also very good parents. Among many things, you have poured your lives into getting your daughters equipped to navigate the world they live in. You taught them the value of money, the cost in labor of acquiring money, the concepts of hard work, deferred gratification, budgeting, and thrift; skills so seldom understood by the youngsters nowadays.

Our four spent four very happy summers pushing lawnmowers, while knocking off duel credits towards HS granulation and that BS. They pushed lawn mowers because they could earn about $14 per hour, rather than the minimum wages of half that amount (with “real jobs” LOL) flipping hamburglers at McDonalds or ticket taking or concession sales at the movie theater. (As Gordon Gecko of the movie Wall Street said, “Greed is good!” LOL) It also gave them flexibility to work those 20 hours per week during mowing season on their own schedule. Together, as well as paying the extra cost of vacationing with us in Florida, youngest SILs parents in Cancun, Mexico at Thanksgiving, and skiing with oldest SILs family the week after Christmas, they placed $40,000 into Wall Street and watched it fall to about $23,000 during the collapse of 2008-2009, which was a lesson of a different type about the uncertainties of life—a good lesson. (‘We was robbed.” LOL) Like most of those who left their money on the table, they have recovered that loss and a bit more—another lesson about hanging in there.

Most folks think the parents are dropping lots of money into these couples. The truth is that each set of parents has invested no more than we would have if they had stayed single, living at home, and attending the local community college and state U, on the same schedule as many of their contemporaries. The cost of their BS degrees, less tax advantages, was about $15,000 each, which hubby and I will finish paying for late next year. Law School is on their own dime and debt. By each working two days a week for $15 per hour, they are on track to have outstanding student debt of about $48,000 each for that JD, or $96,000 per couple. Shockingly, some of their fellow law students are on pace to have student debts for that JD degree above a mere $150,000 to $200,000 each, plus whatever undergrad debt they still have. OUCH!!

By being very frugal with their spending, each couple pays for their share of the summer vacations on our “see America travels,” which will end next summer with us having visited 49 states, Redwoods to New York Island (I guess that is Long Island), Gulf Stream waters to all five Great Lakes, Hawaii, but not Alaska, along with ten of the southern Providences of Oh Canada, Nova Scotia to Vancouver. America is truly a great place to see and visit. GOD truly did shed his grace on thee!!!! And it’s been fun!

Next summer we will visit the birth place, boyhood home, library, and burial site of Richard Nixon out in the old orange groves in Yorba Linda, California. I have read that at the end of a film presentation at the library, President Nixon says something like. “Twenty-five hundred years ago, the philosopher Sophocles said, ‘One cannot tell how splendid the day has been, until the evening.’ In the evening of my life, having stood on great mountains and in very deep valleys, I can tell you that my day has been splendid indeed.” This was a recurring quote of Sophocles in many of his writings to friends and family for decades.

Twenty years ago, I read an article about a professor and a grad student who had studied what happened to a few dozen Valedictorians and Salutatorians after ten years. Surprisingly, they were not is successful as the prof and grad student had expected. Some had married and had families, others dropped out of college to pursue acting or dancing (not at strip clubs, LOL), some had opened business, one was “citizen of the month” at his prison, some had BS degrees but had not gone further, etcetera. Others were very successful and progressing as expected. I thought, well, how did we ever get to the point where getting married, having a family, and being happy having done so is a failure? Who says pursuing acting or dancing is not acceptable? And what is wrong with others doing like Bill Gates and dropping out of Harvard to make a few billion dollars helping idiots like me with windows, word, excel, etcetera? And what’s wrong with Prison? (Oopse, scratch that last question please. LOL) Seriously, the definition of success is personal and different for everybody. There is no one size fits all.

Life is like the Robert Frost poem (no kin to Jack Frost, LOL), The ROAD Not Taken. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. And sorry I could not travel both, And still be one traveler, long I stood and looked down the one as far as I could . . . . “ Life has many roads and nobody gets to travel them all—just a few, that’s all.

Speaking of roads to travel? Is this grandbaby going to be a girl or boy? Or is this daughter like ours who chooses to NOT KNOW until the doctor (who knows months ahead) announces it in the delivery room, like it’s a complete surprise to the doctor also? I asked our OBgyn during my annual a few months ago if it was a boy and a girl. Long pause and then with a smile, “Yes, it is!” I think she enjoys torturing the grandparents. LOL

I have an interesting book to recommend to you and your daughter. The title is LET’S ELOPE, The Definitive Guide to Eloping, Destination Weddings, and Other Creative Wedding Options by Scott Shaw and Lynn Beahan from a few years ago. It may be at your local library. It’s a hoot as well as having lots of good points about simplifying your life and reducing your stress by skipping out on some of the insanity of big weddings. If your daughter reads it she may try to shake you down for part of the savings. LOL After Butch’s parents got nailed and were finished with a big AND EXPENSIVE wedding for their only daughter, with overly demanding inlaws, the Butchman says to his parents, “Bet your glad I was a second son and NOT a second daughter.” LOL The older brother just showed up at Cancun married one Thanksgiving. No muss, no fuss.

A friend gave it to me to read a few months ago and it confirmed much of why the guys’ parents, and hubby and I decided to take the wedding on the road to Honolulu. $20,000 provided a very nice ten day vacation for five parents, one grandmother (Butchman’s dad flew in and out for just two days due to work constraints), honeymoons for the two couples, a nice double wedding ceremony on the beach with seating for the parents, flowers, pictures, video, live harp and flute players, and with a lot less stress for everybody. We all actually enjoyed the entire thing—something lots of couples and parents don’t get to do. This budget included airfare, Marriot hotel, car, wedding rags and about $4,000 for food and activities.


Nixon was planning and working on putting his library in the coastal city of San Clemente, not far from his “western White House” on the beach, but the city was not cooperating and things were dragging on when the mayor of little Yorba Linda, called Nixon’s office in NYC, where Nixon had moved to a few years after leaving the White House. The mayor explained to the secretary, “We know that the president is well along with his plans in San Clemente, but we were wondering if President Nixon might consider the home place he was born in as the city now has control of it and the family orange grove where he grew up.” The secretary, perhaps knowing that the president was unhappy with San Clemente, responded, Mr. Nixon is here today and has a few minutes, would you like to speak with him?” “Yes, I very much would.” “Let me see if I can connect you.” A few minutes passed and Nixon was on the line. After listening to the mayor’s proposal, there was a long silence. So long that the mayor wondered if there was still a connection and finally asked “Are you still with me Mr. President.” Then the president spoke a resounding, “YES!” In those few brief minutes, Nixon had done some calculations and decided to dump San Clemente and return home.

A similar story is the location of President Kennedy’s grave. Some thought the location should in Brookline next to his deceased baby, Patrick, or even Boston Common, which was going to be very difficult to do in two days.

The name of Arlington was floated. Jackie left it to Bobby to decide. On Saturday morning, Bobby went out to the cemetery with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, looked at a few locations and asked, “Do we have control here?” “Yes, we do.” In a split second, the decision was made and preparations were started. In that split second, Bobby, without knowing it, also selected his and his brother Teddy’s cemetery.

Arlington was the home of Robert E Lee, the able general who had already freed his slaves before secession and the Confederacy was born. The burial of soldiers on the front lawn during the civil war was to dishonor Lee, but it has become a place of extreme honor.

Men’s hats were really important back in the early 60’s and before. You look at those pictures of the motorcade in Dallas and about half of the men were wearing hats. Jack had carried a hat to his inauguration, but hardly wore it. He declined to wear a cowboy hat when given one in Texas on that final trip, offering to wear it in the oval office when they came to see him in the White House, a place he would never see again.. Brother Teddy had a very large head and somehow he got to the location of Jack’s funeral without a mourning hat that fit. Nobody had a larger head to borrow a hat from. Consideration was given to using a string under Teddy’s chin to keep it on; somewhat like a child’s party hat. Bobby, at the last minute said just before they exited the vehicle. “Screw the hats, Jack hated them.” The visiting dignitaries quickly discarded their hats to be consistent. And after 50 years men’s hats have never recovered from that blow to them by Bobby.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 10-06-2013 - 3:51pm

That vacation next summer would be a sight to see, Kimmy, if you plan on putting THREE car seats, and 6 adults in one vehicle.  Are you going to be driving a Suburban?

Our last "full family" vacation, was for YDD's 15th B-day, which also happened to be the year she was a HS frosh, and her sis was a senior.  We went to visit Mickey at WWD, per her wish, as many of her previous b-days had been spent. 

Feburary is a cruel month in Chicagoland, and not conducive to birthday parties.  Since her sister's b-day is July 2, and was ALWAYS the occasion of vast quanties of food (she was born on the advent of Taste of Chicago), pool parties, and fireworks (I think she was 4 when she realized all the gaiety was not just because of HER), we decided her sister needed something special for HER day, too.  And not JUST that it's the day Punxsutawney Phil briefly crawls out of his burrow.

We've traveled a lot also.  In the western and central US, I think the only states we've missed were Kansas and North Dakota.  In the northeast, we still have a half dozen of the original 13.  We've also been to Italy, Denmark and Ireland, but only as a couple.  Dh has seen much of Mexico, and some of Canada, on the company dime, and his frequent flier points fueled many of our trips.

Kimmy, I have NO DOUBT that you and dh are excellent parents.  You are obviously well read, contemplative, and informed by your faith.  Your outlook on life was formed, in part, as we all are, by the family that went before you.  Your families had young relationships, and started families young.  Ours didn't.  Dh & I were 28 & 29 when we had our first.  My mother and father were 32 & 38 when they had their first.  Dh's parents were 38 & 46 -- he was their 3rd, and a surprise!  And BOTH sets of my grandparents, who were born in the 1880's and 1890's, were in their middle 20's when they had their FIRST kids--which was unheard of, for the time.   All of these people, but especially the women, had a real streak of independence.

As for working, I have to admit that those early babysitting gigs were a very deliberate form of birth control, and a way to keep idle summer hands very busy.  Daycaring kids for up to 8 hours, while also doing light houseleeping and cooking, is a WHOLE different proposition than watching TV for a couple hours at night, while the kids sleep.  

Our take on "real" jobs was that besides the money, finding a job, and working with a team, is a skill in and of itself, and easier learned the younger you are.   Both kids ended up in supervisory positions in their various jobs, perhaps due, in part, to the skills they learned during those babysitting jobs.  Also, having to adapt your activities to somebody else's schedule teaches effective time managment skills, which really was good for our ADD kids.  Another benefit was that our kids met people in the course of those jobs, and made connections, that they'd never have encountered any other way.  Of course, this view is not universal.  Some of our kids' friends continued babysitting, which got very lucrative as the sitter got older, and some didn't work at all, as their parents believed that school and activities were a more important use of time.

This grandbaby's sex will remain a mystery, because that is what the daddy wants.  My dd is more practical, and would like to have the appropriate clothes and decor, but this is NOT a hill she cares to die on.  And even the best practioners can make mistakes.  When ydd went for her 3-D ultrasound, the tech told us about one couple who had been assured SEVERAL TIMES their child was a girl, and as a result, the bedroom looked like "Barbie threw up in there".  At the occasion of their final, keepsake ultrasound, the child decided to roll and stretch and displayed a very OBVIOUS penis.  When the parents brought their baby BOY back to show (and thank) the tech, they said they barely managed to finish the redo before the occupant arrived. 

Their 2 spare bedrooms are currently fixed as an art studio for dd, and a guest room for when SIL-to-be's parents and brother visit from Cali and Maryland.  The master is quite large, and the furniture they've gotten so far fits easily without crowding.  They plan to finish the basement, and move the guest bedroom down there, but that will take some time (and money), so the "mystery" works on several levels.

As for the wedding, that will be the kids' decision and dime.  We paid for ydd's wedding, but she was just starting out, plus, we'd spent very little on her community college degree.  We paid much more for odd's university degree.  We will give them a nice gift, to use as they wish, but we are literally 3 years away from retirment, and cannot afford to recoup an expense of that magnitude. 

Neither has any student debt.  They both have excellent jobs, newer cars, and their home is fully furnished and decorated, sans the basement.  They are actually selling or dumping most of what's in dd's apartment, except for her kitchenware.  Right now it will be a simple visit to the courthouse.  What happens next year will depend on the baby, the basement, and how much dd works after the birth.