a son not going to prom brings back icky high school memories

Prom is this weekend, but my son isn’t going.prom

He’ll be the first of my four kids to not go to the annual senior dance that is somewhat of a rite of passage. He’s never been to a high school dance either, so it’s not like he’s had his fill of them, and I think he wants to go, but none of his friends is going and thinks it would be awkward if he went. His not going is bringing up feelings I had thirty-some-odd years ago when I too didn’t go to prom. And it’s unsettling.

I had wanted to go to prom. I grew up back East and moved out West with my family before the start of my junior year. It took me quite some time to get accustomed to the differences on the left coast, but by the end of senior year, I had made some friends, not many, but a few, including two guys I hung out with in Honors English. I was hoping at least one of them would ask me to the senior prom. But no, the invitation never came. In those days, only couples could go to the prom, no singles and no groups of friends. It was a male and a female couple. I’m guessing the rules do not hold up today, nor should they.

My other kids all went. My first daughter was asked by a handsome, popular young man. My second daughter went with a male friend who was actually a grade behind but was taking extra classes to finish out his senior year as a junior. My older son, an athlete, went with the cute cheerleading captain, and they then started dating. But my youngest, whom I’d always pictured as going, being that he’s well-liked and, having sisters, is pretty comfortable around the opposite sex, is not. My husband and I as well as his brother and sisters have encouraged him to go, but here it is, four days away, and it’s become pretty evident that he’s not going.

I hope it’s not something he regrets, as I do. Difference is, as a senior, going was out of my control. I had to be asked. He, however, could have asked a girl or just gone with friends, but I guess it doesn’t mean that much to him. Fortunately, my kids aren’t ones to need to be with a member of the opposite sex to feel validated. Of the four kids, three of whom are adults, only one is dating someone right now.

Come next week, I’m sure seniors will be buzzing and Ben will hear stories of how great prom was. I would guess he’ll feel a little let down that he didn’t go. And I know I will be. In fact, I started talking about prom to him and my friend’s daughter way back when they were in the second grade, joking that they would be going together one day. Trouble is, by senior year she had had a boyfriend, and it wasn’t my Ben. But he is OK with the way things are. He will find something fun to do, and I will reward him with some sort of treat, considering the great amount of money he’s saved me by not going. For a seventeen-year-old, he’s pretty mature. I wish I could say the same for myself.

a little job offer and plenty of anxiety, to boot

I was offered a part-time job. Now, what?library shelves

Back in December I was given the opportunity to take a test for a possible library job. I took the test and, apparently, did very well. I know the Dewey Decimal system and having for years put titles of books in order on paper as a proofreader and copy editor, I could do it in a flash. The test was on knowledge (having to put three sets of fifteen books each in order by Dewey number, author name, or subject matter). It was timed too and I was finished in about four minutes. In my testing period (there were four testing periods of about fifteen people each), I was about number four to turn it in. I was asked to come back for an interview too, as were a dozen or more others.

At the interview, conducted by two librarians, one of whom is the supervisor for the aides, I did fairly well. I goofed on maybe one question, but the rest went pretty smoothly. I learned a few days later, however, that I didn’t get the job, and I assumed it was because of my age. The woman interviewed before me was about my daughter’s age. The librarian did mention, however, that another position would be opening up in a few more months. I went on with my life.

Fast forward to late April, and I receive a call asking if I’m still interested in the position that just opened. I ask if I can think about it and the librarian gives me a day. I kick myself for having picked up the phone, wishing I’d let it go to voicemail. Not having answered would have bought me a little more time, I thought, and an excuse to put off deciding, feigning I never heard the message. But I had picked up and I had spoken to the librarian, and I needed to make a decision.

That was my daughter’s birthday and the entire family went out for dinner. I ran the scenario by my younger daughter, who said she’d love to work in a library and wouldn’t it be great to be around all those books? She had worked at a bookstore full-time for nearly six years and had moved on to a better job at a publisher. So she gets me. The hours wouldn’t be great. I’d have to work Wednesday through Saturday, including one nighttime shift ending at 9, with an occasional Sunday thrown in, but the hours were four or five at most each day. The driving would stink, but after thirty-plus years at home, I figure I shouldn’t complain.

I called the librarian back the next day and told her yes. I start this coming Wednesday. I’m nervous, as everyone is when starting a new job, but a little excited too. It’s a beautiful environment to work in and it will get me out into the world. Once the first-day and first-week jitters are over with, I can see myself enjoying the job immensely.

I always have the option of quitting, especially if the commute is horrendous or the job takes me away from my family life too much, and the money just isn’t worth it. I am taking it to supplement my freelance editing career, and it will be nice during the famine editing months to have a little steady income. I’ll probably spend the equivalent of one shift’s worth of money on gas weekly, a drawback, indeed, but I’m hoping the benefits of the job will outweigh the negatives.

As a friends suggested, I will take it as an adventure, test the waters, and drop anchor if the water’s too choppy. I’m happy I have that option. Sometimes in life you have to sink or swim. I choose to brave the waters.