Last night was our high school’s homecoming dance. My daughter went. “Yeah, so did mine” is what most people may think. I didn’t want her to go…in fact I waited til the morning of to fully agreeing to it. She started talking about it before school even started this month. I would put it off by saying “We can talk about it later” or “We’ll see”. Deep down I did not want her going. She asked one kid to go – it was a boy she knew randomly, no connection with. In fact he has been down right rude to her. But SHE had the guts to ask him. He said “sure”. Friends of his snap chatted about it – took pictures etc. Not because they were happy for him, but because they were making fun of him for saying yes. The next day my daughter touched base with him about the dance – he replied by saying “uh, yeah I can’t go with you – I’m gay”… he isn’t gay. He was yanking her chain from the get go. As a mom I wanted to rip his head off. But I didn’t. My daughter says “I’m going anyways” – again I replied with my standard “we’ll see” so I could put it off in hopes she would change her mind and not go.
Yesterday morning I agreed to her going. My gut was yelling “NO!” and my anxiety about the whole thing was still there. We went to Kohls…looked at the 3 choices of dresses that had some shimmer to it (I refused to go to the mall and spend all kinds of money on a dress). We found one that fit and looked good, was on sale and I had my trusty 30% off coupon….we found some cute jewelry and BAM! Done.
Let me back up a little…and explain my reluctance of her going to this dance. She struggles socially. It is no secret, I write and talk about it often. It is something that breaks my heart and makes me so anxious on a daily basis. She has not been invited to a birthday party, a friend’s house, a sleep over or any type social event with kids her age since 6th grade. Even before that I can count on my one hand the number of times she had gone to someone’s house or invited to a party. The kids she calls “friends” at school are kids that tolerate her, let her hang around with them. Not true friends by any stretch. But she doesn’t see that. When nice genuine people do seek her out, her anxiety of a new situation overwhelms her and she says “no thank you”. She would rather be around people that treat her like crap because she knows what to expect vs. a new pleasant experience. As a mother, it breaks my heart to see all this.
But this weekend I saw things differently. Friday night my hubby and I went to the football game. Our first high school game – weird I know. Our girls were mortified that we were going. “You can’t sit by us”, “You can’t sit in the superfan area”, “Don’t embarrass us” – a whole list of rules that WE needed to follow. I broke it to them gently that we were sitting with other GROWN UP friends, had no desire to sit in the hormone drama filled teen area. We did however tease them and say we hoped we would get on the kiss cam. (no, our school does not have one, but sometime they are gullible!). Part way thru the game my daughter comes over to where we are sitting to say hi. She say “I got kicked out of my seat by some jerks” and with a smile says “Just wanted to say hi – I’m going back over” and left us with a skip in her step and a smile on her face. She loves going to the games….She goes by herself – no plan of meeting people. Just goes alone to be part of the fun – no worry in her or anything. Something I couldn’t do…even as a grown up. This somehow made me feel better about her going to the dance.
The night of the dance I helped her get ready. We did her hair, makeup – the whole works. My husband and I changed our anniversary reservation so we could drop her off at the dance and then go out. She looked beautiful. Did she have a date? No. Did she have a certain group of kids she was going with or meeting up with? No. She was going 100% alone and was excited about it. Again something I couldn’t do. We get to the school to drop her off and then head out to celebrate our anniversary after a long tiring stressful week and the school doors locked, it started at 7:30, not 7. Call and cancel our dinner reservation…sit in car and talk about all the kids walking up waiting etc. Finally 7:30 comes…she gets out of the car and walks up to the school excited and face beaming. I have never felt more proud of her. My daughter showed me her strength, courage and determination. She has anxiety issues and SHE… DID… THAT. I look at the pictures I took of her and am in awe of her. She is my hero. She went and had a fun night. I am so proud of her and my heart is full. Of course I wish she knew what a REAL friendship looked and felt like, what it feels like to have a boy like her but for now she is fearless. That will carry her far. I see my beautiful daughter in a different light and wish so much that her peers did. That day will come, I don’t doubt it. For now I am going to hold on to this feeling and hold her extra tight.