Immigrant parents, more than any other parents, learn almost everything from their children. Talk of embarrassment for the kids!
I should be, by now, well trained in the fields of school rituals – very, very different from the French rituals, which are by essence inexistent at school – but you see, so far, I have learned from my daughters.
Now I am going through the same rituals with my son.
In this aspect, I wish we all had boys.
Boys are so much cooler when it comes to Winter Formals. It doesn’t mean they don’t know what they like and want.
My son was peculiar with the jacket he wanted, but settled for a less expensive one and said no to a shirt he liked when he saw the tag price and realized he wasn’t finished growing at all – his generation has understood the 2008 financial crisis!
This morning, I freaked out when I remembered that I never asked him about his tie or pocket square – my son taught me the appropriate name this morning.
“Don’t worry,” he said, slurping his bowl of Cheerios. “I have enough ties.”
“But doesn’t it need to match the girl you are taking to the dance?”
“That would be my date.” Another slurp of cereal. “Don’t worry. Her dress is black and her shoes blue. I can go both ways. Anyway, we aren’t very formal.”
“Okay, then.” I sipped my coffee. “What about pictures?”
“Oh, you can drop me and take pictures. That would be totally fine.” He stood up, taller than my 5’7’’ since August. “You can even stay for dinner.”
I swallowed my coffee the wrong way. His sisters made complicated plans to make sure neither Dad nor Mom would be in the vicinity.
“Also, remember,” my son said. “We have dinner at my friend’s grandmother’s home.”
“What friend?” I’m lost in the number of people who are friends, now that Facebook has made all of us friends.
“Don’t worry. She’s a friend.”
I figured that my son has seen me worry a lot: his favorite, or at least most frequent line, is “Don’t worry.”
“Oh, I don’t worry,” I say.
“My friend figured that dinner at her grandmother’s would be cheaper than any restaurant in town.” I’m telling you, these kids got the message right: they are the savers their parents weren’t.
“After dinner, her grandmother and her mother will drive us to the dance, so you only have to pick me up afterwards.” He smiled. “You and Dad can go on a date.”
“So,” I said to end the conversation on a perfect note. “Do you want me to iron your shirt and your pants?”
“That would be cool, but we’ve got plenty of time.”
His sisters were already soaking in a bubble bath at 10:00 a.m. on Winter Formal day.
“Don’t worry,” my son added as he trudged to his room. “The girls have thought of everything.”
And I really stopped worrying.
My son was right. The girls who are his best friends are not only on the honor roll but also great organizers and deciders.
It doesn’t freak out my son at all. I know he has an advantage. Because he has three sisters, he is non judgmental. But his male friends are the same.
Even when they go to Winter Formal, they aren’t conventional anymore.
To the writers out there who are working on a contemporary Winter Formal scene involving a boy character, feel free to borrow anything from above.