Month: April 2016

Prom & Parenting

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There is no mercy for a brother who grows up with four sisters of various ages. He hears conversations that probably make him cringe and aside from his sisters constantly talking and asking him questions, he gets a lot of questions from me as well. It’s no wonder he likes to practice playing his electric guitar often and loudly. I would too. I always tell people he will be an incredible husband one day or decide to become a priest.

When Prom was still several weeks away, a teenage girl stopped by our house. She was not even at our home to see my son but that didn’t matter to my youngest daughter. Our visitor was not even two steps out the front door when my 8-year-old said, “Ooooh, she’s cute! You should ask her to Prom!”

My daughter didn’t say it as much as she squealed it loudly. In our house we call this her “outside voice.” She tends to use this voice inside much too often. She struggles with volume control. I’ve tried to encourage her to tone it down but I’ve not been very successful. My college age daughter loves to point out these parental failures.

My oldest daughter, who is now a sophomore in college, feels it’s her duty to evaluate my parenting skills anytime she is around the family for more than a few hours. Her favorite line is, “All I’m saying is you parent differently now.”

I choose to not add fuel to the fire because in some ways I completely agree with her. I do parent differently now. It’s because I’m about 100 years older than I was when she was in elementary school. I don’t have the same amount of energy and things don’t bother me as much. Not to mention, had I discovered the fabulous taste of Riesling wine a few years earlier, she would be benefiting from the results as well.

It came as no surprise (well, maybe a little) when my son said he was not telling us whom he was asking to Prom. He made it very clear my husband and I would know after the fact. I thought he would at least tell me. This was not the case. Luckily he told two of his sisters – the college age one because he needed her help with his plan to ask the girl – and his 15-year-old sister, probably because they go to the same school and he figured she most likely would find out anyway.

I was grateful he confided in his sisters but thought I would burst waiting to find out who it would be. My only reassurance was from my teenage daughter who said, “Don’t worry, mom. You like her.” That did make me happy.

My son even refused to tell my husband and I the “when” and the “how” he was asking. I’m convinced he could totally work for the FBI and never give up information.

The day finally came. I was aware it was happening only because he asked me for money. Shockingly he’s my only child that rarely asks for money. It was a dead giveaway. After an excessive amount of sticky notes that spelled out “Prom?” on her car, a poster that said, “Take note, you should stick with me at Prom,” and a bouquet of flowers, we are all very happy she said yes, otherwise I still don’t think he would have told me.


First published in the Atchison Globe 4-23-16