Friday, April 25, 2008

Hopping in our socks

It was the sock hop tonight. The Spring Fling at our kid’s elementary. We have a second, fourth, and fifth grader. The dynamics are fun to watch.

First off we have the fifth grader who has dressed for the occasion, in what for him is the best clothes he has. A pair of athletic pants, a long sleeved under armor shirt, and a Broncos jersey. His long blond hair falls like to his eyebrows, over his ears and down around his collar. From a friend he has borrowed an over sized ball cap and a pair of wrap around shades. He is ultra cool. He doesn’t talk to the girls. He folds his arms and leans back to strike a pose when I take his picture. No smile. At the end of the night he goes through an elaborate ritual handshake with two of his friends and I do my best to hold back a smile.

Second, we have a fourth grader. She is chatting and squirming and looking everywhere but at the one slice of pizza that’s in front of her. She races from one end of the room to the other in one long giggle. Dancing in a circle with her friends and desperately trying to follow the line dance some friends’ older sisters are doing. I can see flashes of the teenager she will be. For once all of the girls are being friends with no nasty looks, just crazy laughing and careening at top speed toward and away from the boys.

Then we have a second grader. There are no pre-hormonal dynamics going on here, just plain old fun. A little spastic break dancing, a lot of running, and at least three half drank sodas. He and his friend each take one side as they stare into the multi colored light ball that is spinning at the front of the room. Then they race to the back of the room to join up with some other second graders, boys and girls alike who are getting in line for the limbo.

Three or four enthusiastic moms dance all night amid the kids. Most of the rest of the parents sit at the lunchroom tables sipping soda and yelling conversations over the music which has quickly shifted from sock hop to hip hop. One or two parents have dressed for the occasion. Mostly it is those who would be emulating their parents with 50’s gear. Those who would have to mimic grandparents to reach the 50’s haven’t bothered.

It’s a ritual which is becoming fun now that the kids are old enough not to completely melt down at the end of the night. It is still difficult to get them out the door, to the car, into the house, and calm enough for bed without tears but miraculously it is done. And as I finish these words they are all asleep.

Good night my sweetest of peas.

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