Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Wonderland

The older you get ,the faster time seems to go, (with the exception of time spent at work of course.) I mention this because in addition to it being the holiday season, it's also the birthday season at my home. Kelsie is celebrating making it to her 6th birthday today, and Lyndzi will be turning 8 just one week later on the 18th; so naturally I've been reflecting on how quickly these incredible years have passed and looking forward to all that I will share with my family in the years to come. As a parent it is bittersweet to watch your babies grow. In some ways you want them to remain small and always in need of your help and in other ways, it is delightful to think of all the endless possibilities that lay await and all of the new experiences that we will encounter at each different stage of their lives.
I think back to when I was Nicky's age and try to remember what I was like and what I was thinking then and it's hard for me to believe that we have already gotten to that point with our amazing boy; but we have. Nicky's grade recently had "THE Talk;" and it just doesn't seem possible to me that it could ALREADY be time for that, and yet it was. A few weeks after "THE Talk," Nicky came home and was very excited to tell me that he was going to be bringing home an invitation for the 5-8th grade Winter Wonderland, school dance and I was smacked in the face with the reality that my babies are no longer babies by any stretch of the imagination.

Nicky was really looking forward to going to the dance and protective mom (ok OVER protective mom) that I am, feared this dance would be his ruination, for despite the fact that Luis and I can both bust a move; our boy has no coordination whatsoever. To say that Nicky is rhythmically challenged might be going too far, but suffice it to say that my memories of the spasmic displays that I've seen during holiday parties and other dancing opportunities were not inspiring my confidence. I wanted to coach Nicky without insulting him and so I recommended that he subtly bounce to the beat and keep his hand gestures to a minimum. Thankfully he was receptive, as I explained that I knew first hand how cruel kids could be and that if anyone found a reason to make fun of his dancing, they'd probably never stop. And for those of you who are fans of psychology and may think that I was transferring my own stuff on to Nicky, so be it.

I was teased mercilessly as a child and pre-teen and if I could do anything to help my child avoid that; psychology be damned; I'm gonna do it!! Now, don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't want Nicky to be scared to go to the dance; just PREPARED; I mean it's what I would have wanted someone to tell me, if they knew something that could possibly protect me from a world of hurt; and luckily Nicky and I have the type of relationship that he knew I was trying to help him, not hurt or intimidate him.
I told Luis about the dance and he too was concerned that Nicky might not use the best judgment about dancing and ultimately do something to embarrass himself; so we agreed that one of us might volunteer at the dance just to give him some encouragement and keep a watchful eye. I asked Nicky if he'd like one of us to volunteer at the dance and though he is usually happy to have us on his field trips, he said " That's OK; I got it." And so we had to let him go.

Nicky got dressed for the dance according to the Winter Wonderland dress code: Black, Navy, White, Silver, or Red. He wore black pants, a long sleeve, stone grey, knit Henley shirt and black shoes ~ And my boy looked GOOD!! When we dropped Nicky off, we couldn't help but notice how grown up all of the kids looked and how excited they all seemed to be. Luis even commented on different kids outfits; in particular this one little girl in a red, shiny,shirt. Leaving Nicky at the dance was definitely taking a leap of faith for us, but we drove off hopeful that he would have a wonderful time.
The 2 hours flew by and we went back to pick Nicky up. Luis pulled up to the curb content to wait for Nicky to come out, but when I saw some other moms going in; I wanted to do the same. Luis felt confident that Nicky would come out on his own but I reminded him that I had friends inside that were teachers and I could try to find out how it went and Luis responded with a typically male "Do what you want to do." So the girls and I were off like a shot.
Upon entering the building we were greeted by Nicky's teacher; who told us that the dance had gone very well and that Nicky had danced with a girl (I will call "B") for most of the night. I said that I didn't know B and his teacher said that she was in the other class. His teacher told me that so many of the kids had come up to her and said how surprised and happy they were to see Nicky dancing, because he is SO shy and she told them to leave him alone so he could have a good time and reminded them that you can't judge a book by its cover. Well, of course I was on the verge of tears; but just then Nicky came over to me and I held it together. I asked Nicky if he'd had a good time and he said "Yes," and promptly gave me my change for the evening. There couldn't have been more than 2 minutes left to the dance so I asked him "Are you ready to go or did you want to finish up?" And he said "Can I finish up?" so I said "Sure," and with that, he went back out on to the dance floor and proceeded to put his arms around the waist of the little girl in the red, shiny, shirt. Her arms were around Nicky's neck and they danced slowly to the last song of the evening. I was frozen in my place as I watched my baby dance like a young man, in the arms of this pretty, little girl with hope on her face; and Nicky's teacher leaned over to me and said "That's B." Once again I was almost in tears, but in a way they were tears of joy, because I can now look forward to a new phase in Nicky's life. He had made it through the dance without incident and was beaming with a confidence that I rarely see in him. He said good night to B, and thanked his teacher and we got into the car. I whispered to Luis that the dance had been a success and that Nicky had danced with B most of the night and then pointed out that she was the girl in the red,shiny, shirt; to which Luis replied "Well, I noticed her first."

Nicky regaled us with all of the details of the dance and it turned out that B had asked him to dance and he gladly accepted her invitation. Nicky had the time of his life and his new found confidence was thrilling. I told him that I was so, incredibly proud of him and that he probably made B's night; (because I totally can remember what I felt like after my first dance;) and I commented that he seemed so confident that he might even score a goal at soccer on Saturday; and HE DID! I actually heard one of the mom's say; "Nicky should go to a dance every friday night;" and I honestly wish that he could.
It is such a fantastic feeling to witness the growth of someone you love; whether a child, a spouse or a friend. To watch a person strive towards their potential and realize who they are, what they can do and what is out there for them. Life really is a wonderland!!!

Till next time...

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Ridiculously precious story. Even though I had heard the high points already, I was perched on the edge of my seat reading! Awww!! The passage of time is strangely and miraculously full of gifts.