we went to a little cookout last night at my sister's house. Brian made most of the food and it was delicious. we had steak and chicken and hotdogs and pasta salad and baked beans. for dessert we had pound cake topped with grilled pineapple and chocolate sauce. Brian made everything but the pasta salad and beans. after dinner, we sat outside in the backyard and drank beers with everyone. we were there for hours, just talking and laughing and enjoying the night. it was great.
right after we got there, my brother-in-law left to drop off my niece and a boy who may have been her boyfriend at the movies. they were so cute together! she's 15 and I think this is her first real boyfriend. I used to watch her every day when she was a baby so I really feel close to her and sometimes it's hard to think of her growing up. my sister says that the boy is really nice and a little shy, which is exactly the kind of boy she should be "dating", which was quite a relief.
she has always had trouble with self-esteem, partly because of a speech problem she had when she was younger, partly because she has worn glasses since she was a baby (and hated them) and partly because she had a learning problem in elementary school. any one of those things would be a lot to overcome for a young girl but she had to deal with all three. over the last few years though, she's shown a lot improvement. she seems to be feeling much better about herself and now she's just a typical teenage girl. which means that sometimes she's a sweet and funny girl and sometimes she is overly sensitive and moody. but all-in-all, she's a great kid.
anyway, they came back from the movie shortly before we left and she walked her boyfriend to the end of her street to say goodbye. as she walked back up the driveway towards us, she was smiling the biggest smile ever and I just knew that he had kissed her. from the look on her face, all lit up and dreamy-eyed, I would guess that it was her first real kiss. she looked so happy, it was such a beautiful thing to see. I felt so proud of her and so happy for her and so thankful to see that look on her face. I hope she remembers that night forever. I know I will.