‘Love fiercely. Because this all ends.’
We experienced a rite of passage at our house last weekend.
Our 12-year-old son attended his first official teenage social event… the dreaded ‘junior high dance.’
Navigating with him through three days of:
“I am NOT going!’ –
“Should I go?’ –
“This is stupid!!” and finally
’Ok. I’m going. What should I wear?”
had his Dad and I feeling exhausted, but when all was said and done… he and three of his buddies not only decided to attend, but also decided to embrace the Halloween theme and go in costume.
Two days before the dance, boys and parents met at the costume store and the group of boys quickly split off from elders as they began to search for what they might wear.
The first item of interest they found was an adult version of a classic skeleton getup that was dubbed ‘Skeleboner’… yep – this anatomically correct skeleton was exactly what he sounds like … (the packaging actually said ‘includes faux phallus and air pump’… which begs one to ponder why they would name a costume Skeleboner and then say ‘faux phallus’ and not ‘faux boner’…but I digress…)
Luckily, as the boy’s giggles subsided, there was a noticeable change in direction as their pre-teen induced excitement was replaced by the safety seeking neurochemicals of childhood memory… because the Skeleboner with air pump costume they were enthralled with minutes prior, was suddenly replaced with a quartet of brightly colored onesies — of the Sesame Street type.
Yes, on their own, in less time than it would take to look the word ‘phallus’ up in the dictionary, they moved one giant step away from adult content and one small step toward those ‘sunny days sweeping the clouds away’.
When all the purchases had been made there was one Bright Red Elmo, one Oscar the Grouch, one Cookie Monster, and for us…. Our very own Big Bird…
Laughter and synthetic costumes aside… isn’t this what we all do when life demands that we get vulnerable? (as in attending our first dance) — Don’t most of us first stand behind a façade of swaggering bravado (Skeleboner) before we retreat into the truth of our vulnerability (a plush onesie?)
To my surprise, he actually wore his costume to the dance. I was fully expecting him to strip down to his snazzy street clothes long before his night was over, but when 8pm arrived as we scanned the room for our boy…. there he was, fully encased in his bright yellow Children’s Television Workshop vestment. He had chosen to spend his first formal evening of adolescence zipped snugly into the remnants of childhood. He was showing no interest in sprinting toward maturity… and I can’t say I blame him.
Whether we are children working toward adulthood, or adults working at figuring out how to do this thing called life- growth is hard… and when we are given a choice, there is nothing wrong with staying where we feel warm and safe… and leaving growth for another day. It always arrives- whether we feel ready for it or not.
After the dance as we walked through the parking lot toward the car I could hear Big Bird tugging on his zipper and by the time the door closed on the backseat passenger side, our feathered friend was gone – replaced instead by a moppy haired blonde boy in an Adidas t-shirt, pulling the seatbelt tight across his chest.
‘How was it?’ I asked.
He answered with the perfectly non-annunciated word grunt language of an almost teenager… the one where they say ‘I don’t know’ without using their tongue or their lips … I was going to rephrase my question and ask again, but when I glanced back at him, his attention was gone from me, stolen by the text message that had just arrived to his phone. He was laughing as his fingers tapped out a response. He was immersed in a world that had no place for his Momma’s curiosity. I was struck at how Childhood had squired him through the dance, but adolescence had walked him out into the parking lot.
It was quiet in the car as the four of us pulled away from the dance and out into the future … my hubby driving, the moppy haired blonde boy texting, me swimming in Momma thoughts, and Big Bird… laying silent in a heap on the floormat.
“Love fiercely. Because this all ends.’
#mommaisamystic #rxforthesoul #childhood #cherishthemoments #ritesofpassage #longdaysturnintoshortyears