It was the Friday before Halloween. I got to school feeling silly in my Dia de los Muertos makeup and flower headband, but as soon as I walked in the building, I didn't regret a thing. Lots of kids were dressed up. Even better, lots of teachers were! If we're talking percentages, I think more teachers actually dressed up than kids! It was awesome. There were clowns, hippies, 80s throwbacks, Thing 1 and 2, the Queen - even High Fructose Corn Syrup. At the end of the day the teaches got together for a picture. I felt hope about how things could be, a faculty united with our principal and working towards the same goal. It felt good.
That night, there was a social in the school cafeteria. A social is basically a school dance that includes games and arts and crafts for the kids who aren't into dancing. I realized that after I told someone about the social and she looked confused that this was probably one of those things we do only in Amherst.
Anyway, I signed up to chaperone because my daughter asked me to - as a member of the leadership committee she was one of the planners. We got there early to help set up. At 7, we opened the doors and kids started pouring in. Some were in costume; some were in jeans; one wore 5 inch high stilettos; a few boys had doused themselves in cologne and slicked their hair back.
I had been a chaperone at so many socials that it didn't even dawn on me that it was my daughter's first one in middle school. She appeared happy to be there, not nervous at all. The DJ, our school's own Mr.Hunter (who owns all his own DJ equipment), knew exactly what to play and when; he couldn't have been more tuned in to the age and the crowd. By 8 PM, almost every kid there was dancing. I thought back to my days of school dances, where the girls would dance and the boys would play air guitar on the sidelines (Allison and friends, remember?? Boy, things have changed). I am always amazed that so many boys at our school get right in there - and many of them have great moves!
At about 8:30, all you could see was a feverish, sweaty mass jumping up and down. DJ Hunter played song after danceable song, and when "Apple Bottom Jeans" came on, even the teachers and principal watching the crowd of kids couldn't resist the music anymore. We all got low, low, low.
As the night ended, I felt joy - Joy that my daughter's first social was a success; joy that I could be at the social with her and she actually spoke to me several times and was happy I was there; joy that kids were having good fun together, for a few hours putting aside all the issues and insecurities they have; and the same sense of hope I had felt earlier that day. It was an awesome way to end the night and the week.