At just under two months to go until my son’s high school prom I was itchin’ to get him fitted for his tuxedo. A few of my chick pals with two or three graduated kids recently had given me the go ahead to get on it. With the grad parade and prom to follow scheduled for the first weekend in June it was time to get my big kid suited up.
“He’s still waiting for his date to confirm her dress,” I explained. “Although I don’t see why that matters anyway because he’s set on having a white tuxedo.”
“They all have to agree on the dress… it’s kinda weird,” one pal said as the other two nodded.
That is weird…to me anyway. I know it’s been awhile but I really have no recollection of my grad date giving one iota of thought to my choice of prom dress. His only concern was making sure he picked out a nice corsage, gassed up a car for the night, and picked me up in time for commencement.
A few days later I insisted we get moving and my son agreed. I knew he and his date had been texting back and forth for weeks. I had assumed we were waiting on the girl.
I was wrong. What was holding the process up was my boy.
“She’s got it down to three dresses, ” he said.
“Between her and her Mom I’m sure they’re just trying to make sure it’s perfect.”
“No,” he answered casually. “ They’re just waiting on me.”
“On you?” I asked, confused. “She knows you’re going with a white tuxedo so why is she waiting on you?”
“Well….yeah,” he agreed. “But I can’t decide which of them I like the best.”
“But…but…” I stammered. ”It’s HER dress!”
“So?” he countered. “It’s MY grad!”
“So she’s waiting for your approval?” I asked incredulous. I could feel my chick power talons forgetting he was my kid for a kazillionth of a second.
“Sure,” he said, scrolling through his texts to show me images of the three choices.
All three were white, spaghetti strapped or strapless, to the knee, and form fitting. All very pretty yet all very similar in style. He seemed amused that I was quite obviously irritated.
“If some guy told me he didn’t approve of a dress I had chosen for a date I’d tell him to go pound sand,” I announced. ”She should choose a dress that she likes.”
“Mom,” my son finally said. “Just don’t worry about it.”
“Uh huh,” I said. “Sounds a bit backwards to me.”
A few days later a decision had been made from the three choices and we were on our way. The last time he had been fitted for a tuxedo was for my wedding to his step-dad. I’ll never forget his then 9-year-old self walking ahead of me down the aisle as I approached my husband. He was so small, a little boy in a fancy suit leading his mom down the aisle to a new life, beginning a journey that took us from just the two of us to an eventual family of five.
Eight years later he is a young man of eighteen, a loving and supportive big brother to his 5- and 2-year -ld siblings, a solid step-brother to my husband’s son, a well-liked and personable kid, and a good kid who hasn’t given me any kind of grief requiring a lawyer.
As I step from the car and walk across the parking lot to the mens’ store I look over and up at this big son of mine and marvel at how very, very fleeting childhood truly is. I remember his birth, his baby face, his little blonde head that would fit right under my arm, his tiny hand that my own would cover protectively. We enter the store and my voice cracks slightly as I ask the salesclerk for help fitting my son for his grad tuxedo.
“You okay Mom?” my son asks, that amused but concerned smile on his shaved face, a flash of boyhood twinkling from his eyes.
“Of course” I say. “Let’s do this.”
The salesman measures arm, inseam, chest, neck size and confirms his shoe size – 13 wide – and I struggle to keep my mind in the here and now, to enjoy this moment, this special day that now seems to have come on in a quick rush. I tell myself this is just a fitting, it’s not his actual grad day, that I should just fit myself into this precious moment with happiness and joy not sadness and tears. The wee babes grow up. This is what raising him has led to.
The end of his childhood and the start of his life without as much influence from me.
It’s funny when they’re little we look forward to each milestone, helping them with those first steps, encouraging them to speak, read, print, draw, eat their veggies, make friends, and play nice. We cheer them on when they score three goals in one soccer game and console them with hot chocolate and Tim Horton’s donuts after a 12-nil blow out in another. It’s that stuff you hope you made a little bit easier for them.
At least I do.
I snap out of my meanderings to help my boy choose between cumberbund or vest, bow tie vs traditional, and laugh along with him when the salesman explains what a ‘pocket hanky’ is.
“For show….not blow,” he explains.
And before I know it this moment too…..is gone….and I’m at the counter paying the deposit, going over the paperwork, confirming the final fitting scheduled for three days before prom.
In the car on the way home he is silent for a few minutes, texting his date to tell her his tuxedo is done, and that they’re all set.
“Looks like I’m good to go,” he says, reaching to switch my John Mayer disc to a genre of electronic music called dubstep which is a million miles away from anything my 18-year -ld self would recognize.
“You just need to get a corsage,” I say.
“What’s that?” he asks and I am reminded there are still many things I need to teach him. A soothing thought for the ol’ mama bear. Because even if you get just a moment with your kids its still enough time to show them something new. There are some words like corsage and boutineer that need to be explained not Googled.
“It’s a flower that’s pinned to the top collar of her dress,” I explain. “Her dress is strapless so she’ll need a wrist corsage.”
“I get to choose?” he asks and I nod. And he thinks before he answers.
“Cool” he says with a grin. “Where do you get something like that?”
“Don’t worry,” I say. “I’ll get you started.”
And then he’s back to his music and his texting and I settle in for the drive home. I don’t have time to be sad. These are exciting times for my oldest and I want him to be happy. I mean….it’s Grad after all and Grad should be fun. Besides…there is still a lot to do before prom night and just over a month in which to pull it off.
Speaking of fun…..next up is this month’s Dry Grad Parent meeting where the Principal will announce how the BCTF’s decision to pull teachers from all extra-curricular activities will affect dry grad parade, prom and commencement celebrations. There’s still time for the ol’ mama bear to sink my teeth into a few things to help my big kid out. Do my best anyway.
HAPPY GRAD 2012:) Play safe.
Photos courtesy of FLICKR Creative Commons members Steven Depolo and Serakatie