Serendipity | Dance preparations



Something about October stirs up countless memories and nostalgic feelings. The season is changing dramatically and beautifully, and pictures of couples enjoying Homecoming and other fall events pop up on Facebook. Sometimes memories are accompanied by smiles or laughter, or tears when realizing those moments can never be relived. Other times it’s feelings of gratitude for what was, knowing the past continues years later to impact the present.

As a sentimental procrastinator always trying to conquer clutter, I decide to reduce my vast collection of saved newspapers and articles. I’ve promised myself and others to minimize, and now’s a good time. It’s very cathartic, this rereading and remembering, adding even more to the season’s fond memories. The following is a condensed version of an article originally written in October 1990 for Serendipity.

“Hey, Mom, I’m going to the dance. The real kind.”

Right. I’m familiar with the word. They had those even when I was in school.

“I’ll mark the date on the calendar so I can have Dad’s car.”

I know, mustn’t be seen driving the “family” van.

“When can we go shopping? Gotta get an outfit. First class stuff, Mom.”

“Who are you taking to the dance?”

“A girl. Nobody you know.”

If he were taking the girl next door, he would still say it’s nobody I know. He’s not big on divulging names. Must be grooming himself for some high-level security position.

With the current telephone usage charge, I estimate it cost $2.97 to determine her color preferences.

Whoever she is, she doesn’t realize her escort coordinates his wardrobe in primary colors, with black and gray thrown in for variety. I pray for patience and tolerance as we head for the shopping centers.

“Mom, what size shirt do I wear? What’s the credit limit on your charge card?”

A mere 24 sweaters, 16 shirts and 15 pairs of pants later, he makes his selections. I dressed him for the first two years of his life for less than this one outfit costs.

“Mom, why don’t you buy Dad an early Christmas gift? A bottle of Obsession would be just the thing. I could wear it first so you’ll know what it smells like. Mom, if you were a girl, what kind of corsage would you like?”

If I were a girl … I’ll explain it to him later. When he’s not preoccupied with corsages and dinner reservations.

The bathroom has been barricaded for over an hour. Steam rolls out from under the door. An occasional sigh is audible. He emerges only to disappear behind another locked door. His stereo rocks the house. Must be practicing his dance steps. The luscious scent of cologne announces he’s ready. He looks handsome, charming, so cute!

“Aw, Mom, you aren’t going to cry, are you?”

No, don’t be silly. Goodness, it’s just a dance. Have a wonderful time!

He had a great time. I remember. My tears happened after he left. He’s married now and father of a 6-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.

Changes have happened. Phone usage no longer includes charges. He enjoys sharing insights and funny memories, and understands parenting challenges.

Looking forward to details about his son’s first “real kind of dance.” I’ll remind the proud Dad no tears till his son is out the door.

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