You know you’re old when… Homecoming means a trip home from the hospital or nursing home instead of the big game and a dreamy date.

Our oldest is going to the homecoming dance this weekend and it means several things; some of them good, most of them bad. At least that’s my take on it through the parental lens.

Remember when you were the one getting advice from overbearing, protective parents? Now I’m the officious, defensive parent pushing abstinence and saying quirky little things like, ‘Remember who you are,’ or ‘what would Jesus do?’ which has always been a good laugh for me because what would Jesus really do if he found himself in the middle of a sea of raging hormones with house music pulsating in the background and a mob of teens doing pelvic thrusts and fist pumps in skinny jeans and strapless dresses?

What is the deal with ‘day-dates’ anyway? I went to school on an island where getting dressed to go anywhere was a production and the main event of the evening was getting a bowl full of chop-suey, chicken and taro and navigating your way through the crowd without spilling any on your flip-flops. If you’re one of the lucky few like me who has never experienced a day-date, it is a frivolous, financial black hole where young people spend the entire day flirting and acting like grown-up’s as a precursor to the actual dance. Oh, and it is somehow customary to go to dinner before the dance too. I don’t get it but I’m an old soul and none of this fanfare makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Yesterday Super Mom and No. 1 went shopping for his first ever homecoming dance. Unfortunately, No. 1 exhibits a lot of my compulsive tendencies and Super Mom’s hypersensitivity to details. He’s so excited! But true to his Matua roots he shows very little excitement when I’m around but when he’s with Super Mom he can hardly contain himself. Super Mom thinks it’s cute; I think I’m in trouble for the next decade because we have four more boys to immerse in the “Let’s Make a Homecoming King” program.

Aside from the day-date phenomenon (or debacle) there is also the great production that goes into asking a girl to the dance. We live in Utah and the culture here demands that everything you do is ‘cute’. I don’t do cute so it’s all on Super Mom to up the ante on the cute-o-meter. No. 1 and his friends had a lot of fun putting together their creative ideas to ask girls to the dance which was funny to watch because most Polynesian males (his group consists of three Poly brothers who are also on the football team) can beat the crap out of a football or a rugby opponent but we have a hard time tapping into that feminine side that brings out the creativity and tenderness. Gruff and macho = Good. Soft and sensitive = What The? So when you ask us to draw sweet little posters and buy candy and flowers or put some get up on to ask a girl to a dance we’re either going to think you’re crazy or we’re going to laugh in your face…or both.

Do you want to know how serious these people are about this stuff? One kid said he went to a girls’ house and asked her parents if it would be okay if their daughter accompanied him to the homecoming dance. I like it – direct, formal and most important, inexpensive. The answer came from her mother, “No. Go home and think of a more creative way to ask my daughter to the dance.” The kids’ response? He asked someone else. (giggles) Burn! Eat that Nutso-Mom and Soon-To-Be-Not-Going-To-The-Dance-Daughter. Why are you gonna do that to your daughter? Hmm, I wonder if someone is still sore that she didn’t get a bag of feathers on her lawn with a sign that said, “I’d be tickled to death if you’d go to the dance with me” some forty-odd years later. Wow! Lady you just killed your daughter’s social meter.

It’s all for fun, right? You’re only a teenager once so you may as well have fun being a kid and I’m all for it. While they’re out on their day-date, having dinner, dancing the night away, I’ll be in my comfortable chair with a pad of paper and a pen writing down all the reasons why mom and dad should have disowned me when I was a teen.

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