This post was spotlighted on Huffington Post Parents. *blush*
Yesterday I was not a freshman in high school. However, it was only a few mere weeks ago when I was a senior in high school, attending my first ever school dance.
As the photographer.
And I wasn't even very good at it.
But I just can't even grasp the notion that a human begin who I grew inside of my body and bore unto this earth and fed and clothed and changed and loved for like no time at all has been on earth long enough to also have attended homecoming. I was just that girl up there. In too many ways, I still am.
How is this happening?
School dances weren't even on our radar of possibility growing up. I don't ever remember missing one, it was that far-off a notion that I'd ever go to one. Being raised by crazy cultists is a blast.
So I went to my first dance when I was a senior. I don't remember much of the dance, but I do remember afterwards, I drove to Majestic View Park with my best friends, our ears ringing of Nirvana and Sir Mix Alot as we counted stars and talked about Walt Whitman and Robert Smith and had one of the very best nights of my entire adolescence. I felt a thousand feet tall and bullet proof that night. My life felt as limitless as the stars we laid under, as certain and true as the friends by my side.
So when it came time for my *gulp* son to go to his *gulp* first dance, I kind of forced the issue. He didn't want to - he's a freshman, he's new here, he doesn't have a girlfriend - so I asked his dad to go buy him a ticket and I more or less told him he was going, for his own good. He begrudgingly obliged, which is really the only way you can do anything at 14, I suppose.
I dropped him off at the school that night, fashionably L8 o'clock, and as we pulled up to the school my little man looked at me and said, "Mom, I don't know if I'm excited or nervous." What I didn't tell him was that I didn't know which one I was, either.
Driving away from that parking lot was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Four hours later he not kidding - lept into the car AND TALKED VERY LOUD AND VERY FAST FOR A VERY LONG TIME ABOUT ALL OF THE MOSH PITS AND THE COLOR GUARD AND HIS FRIENDS AND IT WAS SO AMAZING MOM THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME GO IT WAS OH MY GOD MOM I CAN'T BELIEVE OH MY GOD IT WAS SO FUN.
He's not really a smiler, in case you hadn't noticed over the past seven years.
But man was he ever smiling on Saturday night. I saw that twinkle in his eye that I saw in all my friends' eyes on the night of my first dance, the same one I felt in mine, like he's starting to realize that there is something much more amazing out there in the world than he could have ever imagined, and he simply has to go find out what the hell it is.