He stood in the buffet line and talked to all the grown-ups, answering their questions without fear at the party. He ate two heaping platefuls of lasagna, and washed it town with a cup of tea (or two). He engaged all the folks at our table with fun commentary on the books he is reading, and the projects he is working on.
As we left, in the hotel bar, was a Celtic band. He stopped and one man gave him a drum lesson, and let him sit in on two songs. Their table was strewn with bar food and empty beer glasses, and they slapped him on the back and told him 'good job'. He even got a penny whistle in exchange for a tune next time! Overall it was a dream date to go on with my son.
I left the hotel with a smile, thinking of the time, knowing it was meaningful for both of us. I was also smiling with a laugh in my belly remembering the quiet thing he told me while we were eating, in between his very grown-up conversations. He leaned in, and told me quietly (which is a feat for any boy of ten: quiet):
Mom, there was this Spongebob where Patrick the starfish ate his pants, then he burped up the pocket and wiped his mouth with it, then ate the pocket.