the day that we had been eagerly awaiting was finally upon us. for weeks i had been the focus of the goose’s nervous energy. her unfounded phobia that i would some how embarrass her was a daily conversation. ok, so i did threaten to wear a t-shirt with a picture of her on it with the caption “mommy’s little angle”…..and maybe i said that when she slow danced i would ask to cut in…..to dance with her. after much talk, i promised i would do no such thing. i would not even tell people that she was my kid. i promised not to speak unless spoken too. i said i would blend in with the crowd, after all, i was there to do a job. i had my ruler in my back pocket to make sure no slow dancers got too close to one another…really the only tool that a chaperone needs.
we get to the school and are waiting outside in line and i realize that i am easily one of the shortest people there. i didn’t know yet how that was going to complicate my job as night watch man. there was A LOT of screaming as we slowly moved forward in line. the cause of which i realized was because of this new fangled method that kids have of butting in line. they come careening toward the line screaming at their friend and then just stay there. pretty sneaky…and not in the rule book. a minor discretion that i let slide as the goose and her BFF didn’t seem to notice.
i make my way to the gym and find a lovely spot to lean against. i quickly become the dumping ground for all items that keep a girl from her full dancing potential. i’m leaning, looking super cool and aloof ,i’m sure. doing my best to not acknowledge the goose and her friends as the pile of schmatta keeps getting bigger at my feet. it suddenly occurs to me that i can’t really see over the crowd from my position, but i quickly spot a perch up on the top bleacher. even better, i can stand high in the shadows, to survey my charges. it quickly became apparent, after reaching the top of the bleachers with all of my luggage that this was right beside the spot where a cute little girl had chosen to regularly come pick her wedge…interesting.
aside from that distraction i have a perfect view. it occurs to me that i was witnessing a john hughes film, live. i’m gonna go with “16 candles”. there was the small group of “geeks” off to the side. in the middle was a mob. there was a group of boys in their football jerseys, which look really silly without the padding underneath. there was a group of boys who were pushing each other into groups of girls (i’m guessing that was them flirting). there were boys stealing each other hats. then, there was the goose and her two best friends dancing their little tween hearts out, on the fringe of the mass at the center of the room. finally, there were the floaters who seemed to weave in and out of every group.
the goose’s special friend was part of the floaters. i kept waiting for them to play a slow song, which never really happened. one of the last songs was slow enough. he’d get close to her and then spot me on the bleachers. i decided if my kid was ever going to get her first slow dance i had to be out his sight line. i descended the bleachers and made my way to the door of the gym. after the last song, the lights came up. you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here, they seemed to say.
i loaded up the 5 7th graders and we headed to friendy’s for the after party….with the rest of the dance. the place was packed. we had the most cheerful, calm server i have ever witnessed, especially in the midst of such chaos. i assumed she was chemically treating herself in preparation for this event.
we ate, we paid, we left.
i took the boys to their house and the girls back to ours.
it was an awesome night. i loved every bit of it. my favorite moment will always be seeing my kid do the pogo, arms stretched into the atmosphere, dancing with wild abandon. having the time of her life.E