My 15 year old son just attended his Homecoming dance and a tradition here is that kids gather at different homes for photo ops before the event so that they can record memories of this much anticipated night, and so that they can check each other out in the light of day. I tagged along so that I could witness this ritual and snap a few pictures of my own. I wish I had stayed home. What I saw scared the sh**t out of me. My reaction to the festivities made me question myself and our world and wonder if I maybe I am some throwback mom who lacks the cool factor that would allow me to enjoy the buzz this young generation was obviously generating.
First, let me say it was great to see the boys all dressed up in their shirts and ties because we have become so casual as a society that it is becoming increasingly rare to get our sons to don more formal attire. I have to say my son looked ‘most dope’ and older than his 15 years as he entered the throng in his turquoise shirt and striped tie.
Now onto the girls. Oh woe is me, woe is us. Let me just say that so many of the ones that I saw looked like they were waiting for the hoochie bus to pull up to deliver them to their appropriate corners. In their defense, the ninth graders, and even some of the older girls, looked remarkably dewy and innocent compared to the majority of their ‘sisters’. So many of these young ‘ladies’ looked like they went shopping, found their dream dresses and then proceeded to purchase them 2 sizes smaller than what they should have. They could not take a step, let alone dance, without hitching themselves up or down just to make sure that barest essentials were at least partially covered. I saw more butt cheeks exposed than I would at a day at the beach and yet… here is the kicker… I watched as mothers smiled with pride looking at their babies. I kept envisioning them taking their daughters shopping and declaring “yes honey, that is definitely the one” and then purchasing a ‘dress’ that was more elastic than it was material. THEN you looked down and saw the f**ck me pumps that were easily 8” stilettos these yet to be adults are wearing and it just added to the horror. Again this is a dance people, who is dancing in those? So if they are incapable of dancing what exactly will our children be doing?
What is even better is that I am being told that I am over protective and paranoid. I know my son feels this way but it amazes me that other parents share that belief. My son went to the dance with 2 of his buddies and planned on spending the night at one of their homes afterwards. All three were being evasive when I would question them about their plans which automatically made me suspicious. I wanted to know who they were going with, how they would get to and from the dance, and what they intended to do after the gala was over. I know – how dare I ask such personal questions? Who was I to need to know details?? I made this clear to the mother who was hosting the sleepover. She obviously didn’t care because it turns out that the three boys who are 14 and 15 were out until 3:00am at a friend’s house.
I was pissed. Then I had enlightening conversations with the two moms. One of the moms looked at me and said she knew her son would drink a beer but she would rather he be honest and tell her. Her boy is FOURTEEN, has impulse control issues, struggles in school and is already becoming know for dipping his toe in the trouble pool. For these and many more reasons I completely disagree that it is ok to accept that he should be able to drink because it is inevitable. These kids are too young and too stupid to make those decisions and to give them permission to do it is ridiculous. Do I fool myself that my son will listen to every rule I lay out? Hell no but I am confident that his fear of the consequences may serve as enough of a deterrent to make him second guess whether or not he should accept that Budweiser, the cigarette, or the joint. My brother who began experimenting with drugs and alcohol when he was 14 died from a drug overdose on the streets of Philadelphia I will do EVERYTHING in my power to guarantee that my kids not follow in their uncle’s footsteps.
Then the other mom who was involved in this trio chimed in that she thought it was better to let them experiment now so that when they move out of our homes they know how to handle it- oooooh silly me I did not realize we should be putting them in a drinking training program so that they can be professionals later. I realized that these women who I thought shared my desire to parent our kids were actually more intent on being their friends. These two pride themselves on their less than hands on approach to parenting and judge the rest of us who are determined to have an influence on the decisions our kids make. I think they are lazy they think they are hip. But whatever their motivation, they DO NOT have the right to make decisions for MY son because THEY think I am wrong. I later found out that one of them was in bed when her 14 year old showed up at her house for a change of clothes at 12:30am, she rolled over and went back to sleep. I would have been up and downstairs so fast kicking his ass and asking the 16 year old who was driving him around, after curfew mind you, if his mother knew he was providing a taxi service.
My son rolled his eyes at me that night and said, “God mom I am not an idiot, what do you think I am going to go out and die tonight??” And I looked at him and replied- You are an idiot if you think it can’t happen to you because I guarantee that NO ONE thinks they are going to die when they go out for a night out and yet somehow it happens. So I may be overprotective and I may be old fashioned but I am ok with that and I can promise you that my boy will not be spending the night at either of those other boys’ houses anytime in the near future.