Why I said No to the School Dance

Just now-less than three hours from 6pm Drew informs me that “Meet the Pirates”, which is a school function, Pirates being their school mascot, is tonight and there is a dance after and that she wants to go.

Slowly the story plays out:

First she says she’s interested in the sports.

It starts at six, but the first two hours are “sport stuff” and then the dance is at 8-10:30.

Then she says “I did want her to make friends? Right?”

Ten thirty isn’t that late! We’ll be up!

Then it’s Her boyfriend invited her. Her boyfriend!? (Heart palpitation) SHE IS 12!

Friday nights are always sleepover nights with my parents for the kids. Three kids means that one night a week I get to be alone if I’m not teaching a class. No husband. No kids. Nothing. The house is perfectly quiet. I fold my laundry. Yes, that’s what I do. I pile it up and food laundry for hours. Really. It’s one of those things that I apparently need. On the nights I schedule classes (which will be he next four Friday’s consecutive) I’m so happy to not worry about being home early. I like Friday classes bc it means I get to finish teaching, answer all the questions, maybe eat dinner- even, gasp, eat it alone in a restaurant. I’m not worried about getting home before bed time or rushing to take over for my folks. Sometimes I invite someone from the class. Sometimes I just sit there alone and when a waitress takes my order I leisurely say whatever I want. I don’t order breakfast at six pm just bc Story loves breakfast and it’s always too big for her and we can share. I can order a salad bar and not deal with holding her sweet as sugar hand while I balance a plate and steal her extra crackers. I order a late coffee and sit there and watch people and make no conversation at all. I don’t look at meal prices and add up- this times five equals….yikes! I just sit there. Sometimes I get my phone out and scroll. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I get it to go and sit at home….alone…in silence. Sometimes I watch five episodes of something and make popcorn instead of ordering out.

I know there will be a day when I’ll wish I had a little one to steal the chickpeas from my salad. I know I’ll miss the cartoons in the background while I fold six(teen) loads of laundry. I know I’ll miss her sweet little snuggle bottom curled against me at night sleeping so sound. I know I’ll miss that beautiful twelve year old face of Drew’s, still slightly plump with baby fat, begging me in the rear view mirror, “Please Momma! Take me to the dance!” I already miss Lennon’s tiny high pitched voice, “ONE MORE TIME!” when I swung him high on the swings, his blonde hair flying in the wind. He’d laugh that baby laugh and squeal with happiness. Sometimes I want to shake Drew and say, “come on! It’s going by too fast! Stop this silliness! You do not need a boyfriend!” There will be other dances. There will be other boyfriends. There will be other things like this and I’ll have to deal with them soon enough.

Now Lennon’s voice sounds deeper every day and last week someone called Drew by my name. She and I are relatively the same height and weight and Lennon outweighs me and is taller already. So tonight is the first school dance of the year and despite all the begging and pleading I said no. Not bc I need some alone time, which I do, but bc it’s going by too fast.

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