Ah, Homecoming. My senior year. The colors were blue and silver, the theme was......apparently forgettable, and we were in charge of blowing up thousands of balloons with helium to decorate the school gym.
Eight hours later, we stumbled out into the light of day, inert gas tanks empty, dizzy from lack of oxygen and with just a touch of chipmunk still tainting our voices. But our work there was done, and it was magnificent! We drove away with blinding headaches, excited to ready ourselves for what was sure to be the end all-be all of our existence.
Turns out not so much.
Seems my date had fallen in love with another girl in the two week interim between asking me and actually attending the ball. She had no date, thus, was sitting home alone, weeping and forsaken, while I was lucky enough to double with her best friend who hated my guts and was charged with making sure the evening was a failure.
I spent the majority of the night avoiding her searing pitchfork eyeballs, stifling yawns and praying the Exedrin would kick in before I had to stab at my skull with the little baby butter fork...not that I even knew it was a butter fork, because to my foggy brain, it just looked like a special little princess utensil that I should eat my steak with.
And I can’t recall how it all ended (open mouthed snoring on somebody’s shoulder), but the important thing was, according to the pictures, we were HAVING THE TIME OF OUR LIVES!
Next dance, girl’s choice. A witch carried a pumpkin to his door, and asked him to carve yes or no and return it to me. The pressure of answering was just too much for the poor lad, so he didn’t. That’s right, you heard me—he DIDN’T. Just left the pumpkin rotting on his porch, while my feelings for him shriveled alongside. But I kept a brave face, asked another boy and acted as if all was well...that I hadn’t really expected that first boy to answer, and this was what I intended all along.
Skip over the next few dances, and we find ourselves at Senior Cotillion—where dreams come true! My mother made me the most beautiful gown, we dyed shoes to match and for the first time in my life, I went to the beautician to have my hair done. I was giddy thinking about my...I mean our...entrance into the Capitol Rotunda.
So here’s the Reader’s Digest version: Late pick up, no reservations, lost in Salt Lake, dinner in a Bar and Grill, sheets of rain, hair ruined, makeup smeared, five minutes to dance, The End. And I don’t think I’ve forgiven him yet, because HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU NOT MAKE DINNER RESERVATIONS ON THE BIGGEST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE? Criminy! Plus where was his mother? Surely she should have held onto those reins to make sure his horses stayed out of the ditch!
Well, now I am that mother. And believe you me, I have held onto those straps until my hands were bloody, and my mouth full of mud from being dragged through the streets. But eventually, you’re compelled to let go and just hope the damage is minimal.
A few years back, I was ticked off at my eldest as he took his perfect mother for granted. As the dance approached, I sat back and waited for him to mention his attire. He didn’t, so neither did I. Turns out he considered his black shirt a great background for a brown and green polka dot tie, neither of which matched her dress. Raised eyebrows followed them everywhere, and she kept her head low in shame. Not my fault. He should have apologized.
Last February, another son was asked to Preference. He answered yes, and plans were set in motion. “When is the dance?” I asked, repeatedly. “I can’t remember, but I’ll find out,” came his echoing reply. This went on for weeks until I finally insisted, “Listen, son, I need to get her corsage ordered before we leave for Disney World, so it’s not stressing me out. Now call somebody RIGHT NOW, and give me an exact date!”
“Okay,” he got off the phone. “It’s next week.”
“Really? Next week? AS IN THE WEEK WE’RE IN DISNEY WORLD?”
And sure enough, it was. We taxied in just as the dance was coming to an end. He apologized with flowers, but still, he ruined everything. And once again, we see that the reins were jerked out of a vigilant mother’s hands.
Anyway, as we revel in this Homecoming season, let’s remember a few things; first, if the pictures say you were having fun, then you were. Second, if the answer isn’t yes, you’d better say it with flowers. And last, I think we can all agree that boys really have no business being involved in dances, at least not until their frontal lobe is fully developed.
Bless their buckin’ bronco hearts.