Last night was the 8th grade dinner and dance. I’d use the term “dance” loosely. There was a DJ. We were in the gym. The lights were up as bright as they could go and one parent of each child was required to stay through the dance. The kids on the dance floor were in a large clump. Every now and then some of them would come out, sweaty.
I guess I don’t remember what dances were like for me when I was this age. I don’t recall a sweaty clump of kids. We had a ballroom in my hometown. I think we used the full space.
Last night a table of moms assembled close to the side wall, and we laughed about whether anyone was ever going to ask us to dance. Yes, a deja vu moment for some of us. Shortly after, the DJ called the girls and their dads to the dance floor. We moms saw our opportunity, maybe next.
My son had been mooching to go to another boy’s house after this dance. I told him to behave himself and I’d make a decision at 10:00. And the next thing that happened was the mother son dance. My son raced toward me with a big smile of opportunity on his face. It was strange dancing with him. I think the last time we’d danced, he was probably at least a foot shorter than his current 5’7″. He was trying to earn his sleepover, so he actually behaved and danced to my foot count, not a bad dancer.
Some of the other boys were torturing their moms out there. I was glad to have the leverage. Because I love to dance.
To our left was the mom of triplet boys, Karen, dancing with all three of her sons at once. It was adorable. Dad Chris was taking advantage of the photo opportunity. I thought about that dance as one of their destination marks. Having triplets, they struggled with medical issues with the babies. Our boys have played soccer together for years. Chris coaches. And he’s been waxing nostalgic lately. I guess we all are.
I also noticed two of the boys out on the floor – boys whose moms were in heaven. One boy had lost his mom to cancer just a couple years ago. There was a scholarship presented in her memory last night. One of the beautiful girls from the class asked Luke to dance as Shelly smiled down. I remember when I first found out about the cancer. Luke was at our house for a play date and he stayed for supper. I was asking him if they’d taken a vacation that summer. They had. To Minnesota, he said. Later I found out it was a family trip to the Mayo Clinic, one of several they would make. But there he was, big smile, dancing with that sweet girl with a big heart.
The other boy lost his mom when he was a kindergartner. This boy is a more recent friend, so we didn’t know him at the time of his loss. He’s a great kid too. From the back seat of my car Monday, he read his poem that he wrote for school, the one the teacher had laughed about. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and a bear on his bed that his mom gave him before she died. Last night three beautiful girls asked Mason to dance during the mother son dance, including the girl in the pretty black dress and the red Converse high tops.
There was a lot of loss these kids have conquered, including the loss of a classmate in their 5th grade year. A whole song in the class video was dedicated to Taylor and the boisterous class became immediately silent. Taylor and her dad and sister Jordan all went to heaven on the same day, December 18th. I imagined them having their dance together, up there.