Monday, April 24, 2006
Weekend Perspectives
Since it is quite easy for me to write three hundred words about the view from a park bench, putting a whole weekend into one essay might prove difficult. Telling you about the weekend is much more complicated than writing a travelogue. It was not just about a wallflower attending her first formal dance. It was also about a mother discerning if the most difficult decision she has ever made concerning her child was the right one.

Being in close proximity to my ex for three days also made it about putting my former life in perspective. I am happy to report, I made the right decision on that front many years ago – and also that the ex and I are now well practiced for the future graduations and weddings we’ll have to share. No bloodshed occurred. All sarcastic commentaries remained in my head where they belonged (a greater accomplishment than me winning the war with a pair of pantyhose.) And, I must have phoned home twenty times, elucidating my renewed appreciation for the character of my other-half.

The school sits in a tiny Midwest town established during the civil war era. The military ball is likely the town’s bread and butter as well as its bane. Hundreds of families arrive for the weekend, filling its hotels, restaurants and beauty salons. By Saturday evening, the outsiders are bedecked in tuxedos and expensive gowns and limousines share the streets with pickup trucks and tractors

From the outside looking in, it probably appears affluent, snobbish and show-boaty. But the reality is that most of the attendees aren’t much different from me. They didn’t aspire to send their children to a military academy. Their year has been marked by worry, stress, sacrifice and financial strain. And for many, like me, the weekend becomes a celebration of the turn-around their child has made—one gigantic sigh, full of relief and pride.

The highlights . . .

My Son:

A kid who once made slouching and slacking an art form has transformed into a young man in who takes a leadership position in his unit and is the first to come to attention when his commanding officer approaches. Yet he retains the goofy sweetness that makes me love him and his teachers forgive him,

The Ball:

While I remained true to my wallflower nature, I witnessed both my children stepping onto the ballroom floor for the first time, a bittersweet, yet prideful moment.

I must wear my wallflower on the center of my forehead. I about fell off my heels when another cadet’s mother approached me and asked, “Is this seat taken?” and followed-up her question with the statement, “I hope this is the wallflower table because this is sooo not us!” We became companions for the night – not surprising to our sons, who have become best friends in the last few months.

The Military Parade:

Lately, my life is about finding parallels in unexpected places. An older gentleman sat next to me in the stands and, while I was enthralled with the parade – and amazed by my son’s role – he provided a running commentary of each happening on the field and the military meaning behind it, complements of fifty-five years of attending the annual event. At the parade’s conclusion, he shook my hand and I thanked him for sharing the parade with me. He told me he was a Word War II Navy veteran. Given my history, and my son’s recent identification with the grandfather he never knew, I suspect the Universe had something to do with the seating arrangements.

He walked away before seeing the tears streaming down my cheeks.

And, of course, it was a gleeful moment when I returned to my hotel room, shed my pantyhose and pulled 52 bobby pins from my “up-do.” Still, I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year.

(You can find more photos of the weekend here)
Rhonda Ruminated at 11:38 PM | Permalink |

14 Ruminations:

  • At 4:19 AM, Blogger Mia

    I'm so glad it was a touching experience and that you survived the pantyhose escapade! Did you dance with your son?

    He looks very handsome in his uniform. I know you must have been beaming with pride all weekend long.

    Thanks for sharing your weekend with us!

  • At 7:12 AM, Blogger Charlie

    I believe the wallflower is sprouting some buds.

  • At 8:50 AM, Blogger Nikki

    I'm so glad it went well for you. Your son looks so fine in uniform.

  • At 9:11 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    Mia: Yes, I was beeming :) And, no, I didn't get to dance with him. I did, however, get to take his arm and be escorted through the receiving line while he formally introduced me to all the big brass. He held doors, pulled out chairs and brought appetizers and punch to the table. I have a month of etiquitte classes to thank for that.

    Admiral: You might be right.

    Nikki: Thank you. He cleans up well. By 2am, when I ended up chaperoning the hotel after-party, they all looked (and acted) like normal teenagers again.

  • At 11:41 AM, Blogger Attila The Mom

    I'm so glad it went well! I kept expecting you to report something like getting the back of your dress caught in your pantyhose and inadvertantly showing off your granny panties. ;-)

  • At 4:47 PM, Blogger HeatherRainbow

    That's awesome that it turned out so well! ((Rhonda))

  • At 10:42 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    Atilla: I didn't even snag my nylons (though, of course, the minute I finished wrestling with them and finally got them on, I had to pee.)

    Heather: Thank you!

  • At 3:16 PM, Blogger St Jude

    Hey Attila, less of the 'granny panties', remember I'm one. I'll have you know my knickers are very fetching, lacey, racey and definitely over 18s only. (It's a good job I live with a grandpa then.)

    Sorry Rhonda, I have been rude butting in like that. I think your young man must be very dashing, and you must be so proud. You see girly can be fun sometimes. By the way pantyhose are why I always go for the stockings. No fights when you need to wee!!!

    I have given far too much away this evening, and no I am not pickled. so if it's ok with everyone I'll just sidle on out of the back door.

  • At 4:49 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    You see girly can be fun sometimes.

    I won't admit it . . . ever!

    By the way pantyhose are why I always go for the stockings. No fights when you need to wee!!!

    If stockings are what you're wearing in your profile picture, I'll put them on my shopping list for next year. I'll take that figure, too.

  • At 5:01 PM, Blogger St Jude

    Go girl, go. They are actually cuban heeled stockings. You will never want anything else ever. Well apart from a waist cincher!

  • At 7:02 PM, Blogger Lady

    Enjoyed going to the ball via your blog.

    Son is way too handsome to be only 15....look out the girls will be swooping in on him.

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger Sven

    Sounds like it was more than just a good time. Thanks for sharing.

  • At 12:07 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    Lady: thanks, I'm happy for the company. And, the girls are not only already swooping - they are dive-bombing.

    Sven: Yup . . . it was definitely a proud mom moment.

  • At 7:50 AM, Blogger sume

    Ahh, now see it wasn't all that bad, was it? Admit it, you liked it even if just a little bit. :P

    You must be very proud of your son. It's cool to make friends through your kids. That's how I've made so many of my friends over the last year. I get along well with the parents of all my kids friends. Strange but maybe not!