The Dart: Whole family joins in 1st prom fun

Published 12:03 am Monday, February 17, 2014

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Cathedral High School student Ty Hite, 15, surprised his girlfriend, Jordan Waller, 16, with flowers and balloons for Valentine’s Day. Ty and Taylor attended Cathedral’s prom on Saturday with friends.

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat —
Cathedral High School student Ty Hite, 15, surprised his girlfriend, Jordan Waller, 16, with flowers and balloons for Valentine’s Day. Ty and Jordan attended Cathedral’s prom on Saturday with friends.

NATCHEZ — As one of the buttons on her son’s tuxedo jacket flew off Saturday just hours before his first prom, Blythe Smith knew the next few moments were what being a mother is all about.

Smith knew being there for her son and finding a solution to the devastating problem — at least for a 15-year-old on prom night — is what she signed up for when she made the commitment to always be available for Ty Hite.

The reasoning stems back to Smith’s days as a teenager.

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“My mom was a single mother, and even if she wanted to be there for me during things like my first prom, she couldn’t because she was working,” Smith said. “So both my husband and I try to do as much as possible for him.”

When The Dart landed on the Smith house on Glenwood Drive Thursday afternoon, the tuxedo incident hadn’t yet occurred but Smith had already committed to helping her son in the next few days with planning for prom and a Valentine’s Day surprise.

Smith made a deal with her son that in exchange for added chores around the house, she would purchase flowers, balloons and a few other Valentine’s presents for him to give to his girlfriend, Jordan Waller.

The added responsibilities for the presents, Smith said, is her way of ensuring her son knows nothing in life comes free.

“I’m happy to get all those things for him and help him out with whatever I can, but he knows it’s going to cost him a little extra work around the house,” Smith said. “I think it’s a good trade off.”

Hite agreed with his mother and said the extra chores would be worth it if it meant successfully surprising Waller at school.

As soon as the 3:05 p.m. dismissal bell rang Friday at Cathedral High School, Hite ran through the halls of the school and out one of the side entrances to meet Smith, who was parked, waiting with the gifts.

“I can’t walk all that way with the stuff,” Hite said to his mother, asking her to pull around to the back of the school so he could be waiting with the presents by Waller’s car. “I’ll meet you back there.”

After a successful rendezvous in the back of the school, Hite presented Waller with her gifts, and the couple walked down to Smith’s SUV for a quick chat.

The gifts didn’t come as a complete surprise to Waller, but she was still thankful for the help Smith provided to the plan.

“Boys aren’t very good at keeping secrets, so I knew something was going on,” Waller said. “I love his parents, and I have great appreciation for them and how they help Ty so much.”

That help included both parents Saturday when the tuxedo button flew off and Hite’s father, Dr. John Smith, used a few spare medical supplies to sew the button back on the jacket.

“We managed to avert that crisis,” Smith said, laughing. “And from there on, I was pretty much in crazy-mom mode, because it was a lot of firsts for him.

“His first time going to prom, his first time really wearing a tux, so it was a big day.”

Smith accompanied her son to pick up Waller and escorted the couple and their friends to the bluff, where they all took prom photos together.

From there, Smith gradually faded out of the picture as she let the group enjoy their time together making memories at their first prom.

Apart from a few text messages from her son with photos of the couple throughout the night, Smith came back into the frame at 1:30 a.m. Sunday when Hite and his friend arrived back at the house.

After helping the boys hang their tuxedos neatly back on the hangers, Smith headed upstairs ready to close out one chapter of her son’s life.

“I finally drifted off to sleep at 3 a.m., but I could still hear them laughing and being 15-year-old boys,” Smith said. “Those are the things I’ll always remember about the first time he went to prom.”