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Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Homecoming Hangover

It's been a week since homecoming. The preparation! The anticipation! The pageantry! Now it's just a dim, fond memory. Wait a minute! Am I the parent or the student?

Cole was excited about homecoming this year. He skipped his sophomore year, because, well, we all know that your sophomore year is usually the worst. (Alex skipped that year too.) But now he's a junior. And he had a date!

A few weeks before the big weekend, we had to figure out clothes. My first inclination was to revive his confirmation garb. Then he told me, politely, that he had worn that same gray shirt/black pants combo for his last several dress-up events. True, true, true. (I never would've considered having Alex wear something she had worn before. Shame on me.)

So, one afternoon we went shopping.

At first I wasn't convinced of Cole's wish to do black on black. (Black pants. Black shirt.) But after accessorizing with the royal blue bow tie, suspenders, and colorful checkered socks, he won me over. He looked cute. He didn't disagree. As he stood admiring himself in the mirror, I had a flashback. Homecoming dress shopping with Alex. If only she would've admired herself in the mirror! But as is typical with almost every female I know, she focused on parts she didn't like about herself. And there was nothing that wasn't beautiful about her. Every girl needs to adopt Cole's sense of self.

Moving on.

Spirit week had arrived. And since Cole is officially an upper classman, he decided he needed to participate this year with the theme days. He usually doesn't! So I was refreshed by his energy! I was excited about the week. Of course, I had some ideas to contribute to his outfits. But my attitude soured the first night after the vollerama. He claimed his keys had been "stolen." I had to pull myself out of bed to bring him an extra set. I hate, hate, hate getting out of bed. I thought it strange that the culprits stole the keys without stealing the car. And as it turned out, Cole discovered the next day that one of his best friends had them. How he had forgotten this, I do not know. But I don't like to hold a grudge, so I moved on. There was more fun to be had.

Then, the next morning I received a text that made my heart fall. My friend, Ann, (mother of another one of Cole's BFs) had sent this:

"OMG! Kate said the WORST thing ever last night!!!"

Context: Kate is the cute little sister of Cole's buddy. My heart raced. What now? It was morning, so I wasn't getting an immediate response. I waited. And waited. Then heard the ding.

"She said, "Mom, you should've seen Cole yesterday. He dressed like a nerd. But umph... he was like a hot nerd!!" Double angry emoji.

That made me laugh. And breathe a sigh of relief.

In truth, Cole has a decent amount of nerd in him. (He gets this honestly from me.) As a matter of fact, one of his soccer buds suggested he complete his nerd look by carrying around one of his many comic books.

Anyway! Back to homecoming. The day of the big dance came. We went to take pictures at the designated spot. After getting a few shots and maneuvering the crowd of kids and parents, I lost sight of Cole. Apparently, he had left. When I texted him to say that he was missing out on some pictures with his friends, he just said, "We had enough pictures." I didn't disagree. But again, I had a flashback to Alex's homecoming days. There were never enough pictures with friends.

It was all wrapping up. The kids were off to dance in their new duds. The parents were off to partake in a few adult beverages, taking any edge off the worrying. Would they have fun? Would they be safe? Of course they would, as my husband would aptly remind me.

That evening I got a text from my old college roommate. She sent me a picture of her pretty daughter going to homecoming for the first time. I'm sure she was feeling the same anxiety and pride as every parent. Homecoming has a way of filling us with nostalgia. It seems like yesterday when were pinning corsages on our dates. Then we get a glimpse of our kids transforming into young adults. We want them to have great memories to share with their children someday. Maybe their kids will lose their keys. Or find their inner nerd. But one thing we know with certainty. The kids will shine.