Going to the Prom
posted by Amy

The tickets have been bought. The babysitter has been hired. Okay, the babysitter part is kind of a lie; I've actually begged my sister Meghan to take my kids out to dinner and along with her to watch her play indoor soccer tonight, which is a little less like hiring a babysitter than I made it sound at first. Whatever. The point is, at 7 p.m. tonight, Chip and I will be making our way (by bike, if he has his way, and by car if I wear cute shoes) to Henry's school's annual adults-only fundraising dinner.

The adults-only fundraiser is a standard event around here. In fact, our three kids' three schools are ALL having adults-only fundraisers this weekend. If we were insane, we could go to DIning in Denim tonight, La Dolce Vita tomorrow, and Wine-and-Cheese Night on Sunday. Since we have neither the cash nor the time (nor the babysitters, come to think of it) for all three, we chose the one for the school we'll have two kids at next year.

Going to fundraisers is what parents do, right? (Actually, really good parents run the fundraisers, but I've dropped out of that race.) Sitting around with other parents, eating, drinking, and bidding on auction items we all donated sounds mature and adult. So why do I feel like I'm going to the prom?

Could be because it's spring, and spring is prom season. Dancing is supposed to happen at this thing, so that's part of it. Maybe it's the way, at school pickup, we've all been asking each other, "Are you going Friday night?" "I don't know. Are you?" If our kids hadn't been pulling us away from each other, I think we might have been comparing notes on what dresses, er, jeans we planned to wear if we decided to go.

Our indecision about whether to go reminds me of something else, too. I doubt I'm the only mama who remembers that the actual purchasing of prom tickets was optional, while the renting of hotel rooms for the after-party was mandatory. (With large groups, Mom. Really. I can hear you freaking all the way over here twenty years after the fact.) Guess that's not an option tonight, seeing as how we all have houses now--and children waiting at home with babysitters, those teen enforcers of middle-aged parents' curfews.

But there's a part of me that's feeling just a little nostalgic for the awkward teen boys in their formalwear, the fancy dresses we all scrounged up somehow, and that feeling, after leaving the house with wrist corsage in place and parents' cameras snapping picture after picture, that anything is possible. I'm thinking next year I'll propose they make the theme "Parents' Prom." Chip can get himself a rented tuxedo, and I'll score a thrift-store taffeta formal. His cummerbund can match my dress, and we'll color-coordinate our flowers. We'll rock out to oldies like the Pixies and Billy Idol and Quiet Riot. I've always wanted to slow-dance with him to my favorite song from 7th grade, Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," so I'm totally putting that on the request list. Maybe we'll even break curfew and head to the after-party.