I feel so thankful that our community has a cotillion program to help teach the little ones manners, respect, and responsibility.  We try to instill these qualities at home but I think there is something so powerful about learning and honing these skills outside of the home with a group of your peers.  Cotillion is four weeks long and starts in fifth grade.  It goes all the way through high school and each year builds on the last.

I have started to struggle a bit with what and how much to share of this kid’s life.  He’s eleven and some of his friends are already on social media.  In the coming years he will have to navigate this world of sharing on his own and I want to be respectful of boundaries he might (should) set for himself.  That being said, here are a few pics of my first born.  As we readied him for his first class, I was overwhelmed with feeling like the days are going too quickly.  That he’s eleven and middle school starts next year and that I can count the years we have left with him at home on only eight fingers.

(No children were harmed in the taking of this photo :-) )

The Land’s End blazer has been a staple in his closet for about 3 years now.  It wears well and is affordable on sale.

I also purchased a few pairs of Land’s End pants before Thanksgiving thinking they would get him through cotillion.  Not so!  When we tried them on in January they wouldn’t even button.  Oy!  So, new pants it was.  I do love the Land’s End pants a LOT and picked these up for about $16 a pair on sale.  They wear well, wash well (do require a quick iron) and last through at least two boys.  PS. Don’t ever buy anything NOT on sale at Land’s End because if there isn’t one today there will be one tomorrow.

I picked the bow ties up over the years from Vineyard Vines and Land’s End as well.  I truly think there is nothing cuter in the world than a young man … er, make that any man… in a bow tie.  Be still my heart.  Seeing all the kids dressed up in the Sunday best each week was definitely a highlight for me.  Oh, and the girls in their white gloves.  <3

He loved wearing his watch as well.  This was his “forever gift” for his eleventh birthday.  The lacrosse belt was purchased on sale at Vineyard Vines last year.

Now, in addition to the lessons about etiquette, they also learned key steps to build a foundation in three different ballroom dances.  He might have even let me practice with him at home.

On the last night, the parents were invited to attend and even got to take the dance floor with their kids.  I had to muster everything in me to fight back the tears.  (Can you even imagine the horror of having your mom CRY at cotillion?!) Maybe because I was a dancer, or maybe just because I’m a total sap, dancing with my son that night was a moment I’ll never forget.  I was SO proud and felt in that moment that somehow, someway I was doing something right.


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32 thoughts on “Cotillion

  1. You and Honey are doing a WHOLE LOTTA GOOD, my friend.
    Purely precious, southern charm. I wish time could freeze for you.
    This is a beautiful in so many ways.

    “Nothing comes from nothing…nothing ever could…” <3

      1. Just trying to keep up with you! ;-) You always say such lovely things.
        I wish all of us could meet and put on a reception for the AMAZING AMANDA. When I plan a trip to Savannah, I am going to make this happen! XOXO

  2. This is the sweetest, Amanda! John is quite handsome in his cotillion clothes. You are doing a great job, cotillion is the best. My husband took cotillion and to this day loves to dance at all the weddings we attend and he wears a bow tie every single day to work. Love a man in a bow tie! Hope you and your family have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Also, I was lucky enough to get one of your mother’s St. Patrick’s bracelets and I love it! The added lucky doubloon was so cute. Thank her for me.

    1. Thank you so much! I’d love to raise a boy who loves to dance. I will definitely pass along your thanks to my mom :-)

  3. We had the pleasure of attending my granddaughter’s Cotillian at the Grand in Fairhope last month. When she danced with her daddy (my son) you can be sure the tears were there (LOL). My husband asked our DIL for a dance but she had just lost her daddy in November and she said she would be too emotional for a father-daughter(in law) dance. It is a lovely program for the boys and girls to be involved in.

    1. Oh, I am SURE!! I actually thought when I was dancing with him that way too soon we would be doing this at his wedding. I get too ahead of myself sometimes, but it’s hard not to. xo

  4. What a fine, handsome young man John is becoming! Navigating social media with our children can be so tricky. I share quite a bit, but definitely ask before certain pictures and if it’s something that is/could be considered personal. Otherwise, I consider them the biggest part of MY life and not sharing anything about my days with them is inconceivable.

    We do not have cotillion available, but mine are taking part in an etiquette class. I couldn’t agree more with the benefits of learning this with their peer group.

    Ryan has his first formal in less than a month, and I am so excited and also a little sick to my stomach. 😉 I’m trying my darndest to convince him to wear a perfectly proper bow tie, but so far I’ve had ZERO luck. He is very excited… and therefore, so am I.

    1. I agree, I couldn’t write a blog without them because they are so much of my life. Well said, my friend. I cannot believe he has a formal!!!!! The boy next door that is really the sweetest had his prom last night. The boys and I went over to see him before he left to get his date and it was so darn cute!!

  5. Such a beautiful tradition Amanda. We don’t have anything like that here in Australia where I live and I think we are the poorer for it. We are a very casual society here, and it has been a struggle to even instill basic table manners and napkin usage when few other children who visit have been taught the same. I am grateful that at least my offspring know how to comport themselves properly if needed. Sigh! As for the dancing, well, enough said!

  6. Amanda, this is such a wonderful tradition! Although we work very hard to teach our boys good manners, I don’t know of any local programs like this. Maybe I need to start one… You will have such sophisticated southern gentlemen and the skills they learn now will stay with them forever. I know what you mean about the whole social media thing and sharing on the blog. Even though I really don’t share many pictures of my kids on the blog, the other day my 13-year-old saw a blog post which had a picture of the BACK of him and he was mad at me…but like I said, he’s 13 so that explains a lot! Anyway, loved this post. John is such a handsome young man – with great clothes!
    Enjoy your weekend! – Shelley

    1. Thank you, Shelley! At the parent night I decided that I would love to get involved at cotillion as well. Maybe you SHOULD start one :-)

  7. Oh how sweet is this post. Gosh darn he looks more and more like his daddy.

    I love the south and their commitment to etiquette. Good for you to encourage the participation. Life long lessons.

    Just wait until his wedding day and that mom and son dance:(

    1. He really does look like his daddy!!! Oh, I absolutely had a flash forward to the wedding day when we were dancing at cotillion. <3

  8. Wow, he sure looks like his father. Teaching young people to be gentlemen and young ladies with manners. So Southern and soooo lacking in the world today. You’re doing a great job, you and Honey.

  9. This was so sweet for me. My two boys attended something quite like your Cotillion. They are now 31 and 28 and have said many times how they have fond memories of their classes. They also have great manners and a confidence that knowing what and when to do certain things brings. Very handy for the business world they are in. I wish more people realized the importance of good manners, the world might just be a little kinder and gentler. Keep up the good parenting, your son will greatly appreciate it, if not now, later. I enjoy your blog very much. May God bless your family and home.

    1. Thank you so very much for sharing your story and for reading ours. I’m glad to hear that your boys look back on cotillion and found it worthwhile. I got no complaints from mine!

  10. I love Cotillion. My three (now 31, 27, and 24) attended and they still remember so much of what they learned. Our program was once a month from September to May, with a Christmas dance and a Spring graduation dinner and dance. Looking back at their pictures makes me smile. Your son is so handsome and you deserve to be a very proud Mama!

    1. Thank you <3 I love how your program was run!! I really don't know how it goes once they get older but I will do what I can to keep my boys in it :-)

      1. Our chapter was a part of the National League of Junior Cotillions. I’m sure there are chapters in the Atlanta area. You might even want to become a director and conduct the classes yourself!

  11. Such a handsome young man! As any mother can relate, the welling-up and tears never cease, no matter the child’s age. Mothers can always be proud of their sons (and daughters)-it’s what we do best. My, just turned 31, child stills brings those proud tears.

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