I heard a rumor that, starting next year, parent's don't chaperone dances. Teachers are the chaperones. Please, please, please, please let that be true.
Last night was the last dance of the year; the last one for Middle School. And, we both chaperoned. Good grief!! The DJ was not very good. The vice principal kept telling him to play music the kids knew so they would dance. But, he either was out of touch and didn't know what the kids knew or he didn't have it, because he was not playing it. The kids milled around. They ran all over the gym and there was no stopping them. They threw glo sticks and they threw beach balls, but the only dangerous thing I had to stop was them catapulting one another...you think I'm kidding?...one kid squatted down and made a step out of his hands and another kid got very far away and ran at him full tilt and the squatter catapulted the other kid into the air. And, they would have done it again if I had not physically stepped between them. And, they looked at me like they didn't understand why I would put a stop to their fun. Idiots.
Finally, they brought in another DJ, and the kids started to dance. And, they danced and danced and danced.
The first part of the dance was pretty boring. Then, the girl athletes, who had been to a pre-dance party, got there. Now, there are just two rules at these dances. No running. And no humping. Pretty much everything else a 14 year old can think of is allowed. Fortunately, they can't think of much. Now, most kids, when caught breaking the rules, just break up and move away. But there's a few girls that are "special" and they don't think they have to. After I broke them up 5 times, I kind of lost control and pulled out my rapid fire finger and started calling them by name in a voice that could be heard over the dance music...at least in a small area. And, that was when I knew it was time to go outside and get a water. After that, I just hung around the outskirts. 99.5% of the kids were good as gold. And, that half a percent got my goat and made me feel bad.
Anyway, my kid behaved fine. She was hot and sweaty and not once did I ever walk up on her doing anything I would not have approved of. I just didn't want that hot, sweaty mass of hair to hug me. And, she was glad for both of us to keep away and after as many dances as we have chaperoned, we all have a system for making sure we don't "harsh her good time" as I found out the kids call it.
This morning, before work, there was a thing for all the athletes at the school. A little ceremony for them to thank their parents. I was not planning to go. I didn't want to go. So, this morning, just after she woke and while she was still groggy (her most honest time of day), I asked her if she was going to act like she knew me if I went or if she was going to ignore me like I wasn't there. Her reply was "you don't have to go." That's what she said. But, what I heard was "please go for me." It wasn't in her words, but it was in her tone and in her eyes.
And, at that moment, I decided I was going and I made it happen. Cuz, that's what we do. We hear what she means and try to look through all the unpleasant words she says. It's like learning a new language that lies behind the language.
The whole thing was about the coaches expressing appreciation for the parents and the kids. Each athlete had written a thank you note to their parents, thanking them for extra rides and support. It was very sweet. All the kids dressed up. Boys in ties and some girls in dresses...even Sydney was in a dressy shirt and jeans. There was a video presentation where they interviewed some of the best athletes and the coaches and everyone was saying their tearful good-byes.
There was enough angst to make even the strongest parent weak with emotion.
I got out of there as quick as I could.
When Sydney brought me my card, she mouthed thank you and walked off. When I left, I mouthed you're welcome and waved goodbye. She mouthed goodbye back and waved.
It doesn't take a thousand words between us to express the most. Just with our eyes, we said:
I am here for you. I will not embarass you. I will be unobtrusive and stay in the background while you hug everyone else's mother and father and ignore me. And, I will not be hurt about it. And, tonight, when your friends are not around, I'll tell you how proud I am of you.
Today is the last day of Middle School. It passes so fast. And, it takes forever. And, I'm getting to watch a child "become" so many things. And, when I'm not shaking my rapid fire finger at her for being a big idiot, I can see the good things that she is.