Friday, September 6, 2013

Homecoming: Momma's Emotional Roller Coaster

The tradition of Homecoming started over a century ago in Texas Colleges and has worked it's way over the years into a grand tradition among high schools. 

With a Junior in HS this year, we are all-in to the Homecoming thing this week.  (I will say that I am thankful in some ways that it is early  - the students can get it out of the way and get back to focusing on academics.)  The amount of pomp and circumstance can be a little overwhelming. 

It starts with the date  - not just the person, but the elaborate way in which the guy asks the girl.  The request for the honor of this dance is more elaborate than the vast majority of marriage proposals.  Banners, sidewalk chalk signs, cookie cakes, balloon displays - all in hopes that she'll say yes. 

Since I have a daughter, the hunt for the right dress, shoes and nail polish can also be an adventure. Mix in the fact that teenage tastes can change from one minute to the next, and what she is wearing can change up to a hour before time to leave for the dance. Heels? Platforms? How tall is the date? Are we going to color coordinate?!?!

Next is the plan.  Because this is not just a dance.  We must decide who we're going WITH.  It's a group thing.    WHERE are we going to get ready? Then there's transportation.   Don't forget dinner.  The group will stop by the actual event  - but the length of the stay is a nebulous thing.  If the vibe is good - they will be there a while - if not, they could be outta there in no time.  Then there's AFTER....organized event?  Move to an establishment for arcade? Bowling? Party? Sleepover? 

Don't forget the activities of the Friday BEFORE.  There IS a football game - but that is really ancillary.  There are dress up days all week to show your spirit.  Friday is the pep rally.  But if you are in Texas, the focus is the MUM!!  Giant monstrosities consisting of silk flowers, massive amounts of ribbons, cowbells, teddy bears and yes,  BOAS!  

Many moons ago when I was in high school, it was just for the girls, really.  Now the guys get a garter that is worn on the bicep (provided the over-zealous girl has not loaded it down with too much 'stuff' for it to stay put.)  Gone are the days of pinning the mum to a girl's garment - oh no, they are far too heavy for that - they must be worn around the neck.  I have no idea how anything gets done in any class with the massive amount of rustling and jingling.  (I have fond memories of my chemistry teacher, Mr. Jones handing out masking tape at the door to his classroom for all of us to silence our cowbells.) 

More pomp and circumstance involved around the 'mum swap' on Thursday Night.  When? Where?  Get a picture. We actually met her date at the 'mum swap'.  We harassed him appropriately, assuring him that shotguns were such an antiquated way of dealing with boys that do not treat our daughters with the respect and protection they deserve.   

But it is the quiet moments that give me time to pause and begin my mommy worry.  Although she is a beautiful, smart, sophisticated young lady, in my heart she will always be the toddler I reach out to steady as she takes those first few steps.

I hope I have done well by my child and taught her to make good decisions.  I hope she has enough self-worth and confidence to do not only what she knows is right, but to speak up in situations that even make her the slightest bit uncomfortable, no matter what the crowd is doing.  Will she use the no-questions-asked offer made by family friends if needed? 

What about all the other kids on the road with their newly-acquired drivers' licenses?  I can't help but think about my friend Patti who was killed our freshman year by a drunk driver on her way home from a school dance. 

When it comes right down to it, I will just have to have a little faith. I have to be able to let go and trust that everything will turn out all right and she will arrive back home on Sunday morning unscathed both emotionally and physically.

Easy to say, but so tough to do. 

Mum Swap!

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