Dance, Babies, Dance

It was a rainy spring afternoon and I was beside myself with excitement.

I took extra care in my appearance, squeezing into a ridiculously tight green corduroy skirt and shrugging into a matching oversized green sweater. I fluffed my spiral perm until my hair resembled a glorious poofy triangle and lined my eyes with bright aqua green eye-liner I borrowed from one of my girlfriends.

I was twelve years old and about to attend my very first spring dance in the darkened gymnasium inside my junior high school.

To the adults around me, I probably resembled a ridiculous raccoon wearing a bad leprechaun costume, but in my mind I was half-woman, beautiful and ready to slow dance with the first sweaty palmed boy who asked me.

Sadly, I spent most of my time standing next to the gym wall watching all the other sweaty teens sway to the music. Sometimes I danced in a big circle of friends as the boys raced around the gym trying to snap the bras of all the blossoming girls around them.

I didn't have a bra to snap so most boys ignored me. I was still flat chested and pretending it didn't matter while secretly praying to God every night to grace me with a rack Dolly Parton would envy.

I never got that coveted rack, but I did get my slow dance with a smelly, awkward boy.

His name was Jeff and I had known him since grade four. He played hockey. He went on to play in the NHL. (If only I could see into the future...I'd have played my cards better. Heh.)

I was standing by the exit, trying to look cool and ignore the scent of desperation and body odour I oozed like pheromones from an elephant in heat, when suddenly Jeff appeared in front of me and asked if I wanted to dance and pulled me out onto the dance floor.

I don't remember what song was playing, but I remember the flashing lights from the d.j and the heat radiating from his sweaty skin underneath his thin tee shirt.

I remember placing my hands on his shoulders and wondering if I had sweat stains in my pits and praying he wouldn't notice if I did.

I remember the weight of his hands placed on my waist and wondering if he would accidentally touch my bum.

I remember wondering if I could convince myself to like this boy, whom up until that moment, I had no interest in at all. I was pathetic and desperate and wanting a boyfriend. Any boy with a pulse and testicles would do as long as he didn't have a pizza face.

(Thank heavens for high standards.)

We swayed to the music and suddenly one slow dance became two. I was in teen heaven. I was in the arms of a boy who wasn't too geeky (even if he wasn't one of the cool kids) and he wasn't trying to stuff me into a locker.

Next thing I knew, a couple of kids approached us with a stop watch and a dangerous glint in their eyes. Jeff nodded to them and before I knew it, he was kissing me.

Or, rather, he was slobbering all over me. Saliva was every where and he tasted like pepperoni pizza. My heart was racing like a dog chasing after a rabbit and I couldn't decide if I was thrilled or repulsed. I didn't get a chance. Before I knew it he was pushing his thick nasty tongue in my mouth and trying to eat my tonsils.

Just when I thought I was going to faint from lack of air, he released me from his vacuum-like kiss and wiped his slobbery mouth with his hairy arm.

My lips were chapped and cut from being ground mercilessly into his braces and I had saliva all over my very red face.

I couldn't look him in the eyes, as I was half mortified, half repulsed by what I had just participated in. Still, I wondered if I could like him enough to let him be my boyfriend.

It was hard to think while my lips throbbed and the taste of pepperoni pizza lingered on my tongue.

The circle of kids who stood around watching us trying to gnaw one another's faces off, clapped and announced we went at it like two hungry puffer fish for twenty-three seconds. Jeff smiled and I blushed and the crowd moved on to target the next awkward couple who danced in front of their path.

Jeff and I finished our dance and then my girlfriends rushed to my side and into the girls bathroom, while peppering a million questions at me.

"What was it like?"

"Did he stick his tongue in your mouth?"

"Do you like him?"

"Is he your boyfriend now?"

Jeff later asked me out, but I couldn't get past the feeling of his metal mouth grating my soft lips like cheese in a grater so I said no.

And I have never eaten pepperoni pizza since.

Thus was my initiation into the world of teen romance, spring dances and french kissing.

Looking back, it was a time I wish I could block out. Almost as much as I wish I could block out the memory of losing my virginity. But that's a story for another day.

Flashbacks of wet chins, thumping music and the taste of pepperoni all flooded back the moment my darling children stood before me with hound dog looks on their impish faces, pleading for me to allow them to attend their very first spring dance.

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I immediately said no and my daughter yelled that "I am so unfaaaaiiir!" and then huffed into her room to cry a river of broken tweeny-hearted tears.

My son just shook his head, half relieved not to half to attend and half disappointed that he wasn't going to get the chance to snap some chick's bra.

How could they be at this age already, I marveled? Just yesterday, it seemed, I was potty training and washing out sippy cups. I wasn't ready to relinquish this part of their childhood and face the reality that my children are chaffing at the bit to grow up.

My husband pointed out the fact the dance was for 10-13 year olds at the local community hall and would be well chaperoned by teachers and parents.

He reminded me that he had some of his best childhood memories at those dark, sweaty functions in the very same hall and he didn't grow up to be some over-sexed horn dog who knocked up the first chick who would have sex with him.

That's when I pointed out, YES YOU DID, YOU ASSHAT!

"Ya, well, not at age eleven. And it worked out in the end, didn't it? Loosen up woman and let them have a little fun. Besides, it's a night free of listening to them bicker over video games," he urged.

That's when I hung up on him and vowed to find a good divorce lawyer. It's easy enough for him to give permission, I thought to myself, he's not here to actually see the aftermath. Bugger.

But listening to my daughter pout through her dinner and mope around the house while my son acted all put upon and hound-doggish, was more than my mommy heart could take.

I snapped like a dried twig and caved to their wishes.

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She's thinking of romance and he's wondering if they will have rootbeer available. I love my kids.

Suddenly it was rainbows and moonbeams under my roof as my children rushed around to get ready for their big night.

Me, I was still trying to swallow the pepperoni vomit that threatened to spew out.

My babies are growing up and I am powerless to stop it. I am simply not ready to know that my daughter is swaying in the dark with some sweaty palmed punk while my son runs around trying to find a victim to slobber all over.

My head just exploded into a million pieces and splattered my computer screen as I typed that sentence.

So I did what any good mommy would do. I sucked it up and took a million photos. I inspected the premises, talked with the chaperones and publicly humiliated my children by threatening every little boy and girl I came across to keep their mitts off my children.

I stalked the parking lot, giving the stink-eye to all the preteen demons who made eye contact with me until the dance chaperones found a willing father to lift me up and forcibly stuff me into my vehicle.

Apparently, I was freaking out all the kiddies.

Still, as I drove away, while the chaperones blocked the door to make sure I didn't change my mind and charge back into the building, I felt a twinge of pride. My kids are growing up. Just like they should be. Even with me as their mother. Doing everything in my power to screw them up.

Later that evening, I picked up my children. They were red faced, sweating and smiling so hard I feared their faces may crack. I noticed my daughter was now sporting lipstick and eyeliner.

Flash back to my own tween heaven. Good times.

Fric and Frac chattered happily about the dance and who danced with who and I smiled grimly and kept my mouth tightly shut, just happy to note there was no visible signs of road rash on either of their faces or dried saliva.

Halfway home, Frac piped up and asked why I was so quiet. Was I upset they went to the dance?

"Oh, I'm not upset at all. I'm thrilled you all had a great time," I honestly answered. I was. I really was. My babies are growing up and I'm dealing with it.

(Picture me later that night with a bottle of red, dealing with it.)

"I'm just making mental notes about all the kids you danced with so that I can terrorize them the next time I see them," I cackled like a crazy woman.

"MOOOOOM!" they cried in unison.

"Hey, it's all part of growing up. You get to go to spring dances and have fun, and I get to stay at home and polish up Daddy's shot gun." I smiled at them.

"It's a win-win for everyone."


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Enjoy your kids while they're little. Because before you know it they're getting ready for dances and telling you to hurry up and take the damn picture already.