Prom Date

By Beth M. Wood

Prom Date

Back in 1990, my classmates took their high school crush or their closest guy friend to prom. I was dating someone who was away at college, and didn’t want to go with anyone else. I never thought I’d get a second chance to go to prom. But here I was, 25 years later, doing my hair, applying my make up and thinking about the night ahead. Never in a million years could I have guessed that someday I’d get to go to prom, and with a date who means so much to me.

I’d fallen for him from the first moment I looked into his honest brown eyes. It was love at first sight and it’s a love that’s lasted almost 18 years now. He loves me too, but I’m certain he doesn’t fully comprehend how unconditionally my love is given. I smile at the thought as I secure my earrings, slip into my heels and walk down the hall.

My date is waiting in the living room. As I look up into his familiar, handsome face, I’m struck again at how quickly the years have gone by. He is dressed impeccably in a gray suit; shirt pressed, cufflinks in place.

“I’m ready!” I say to this most precious date of mine. My son.

As Connor leads me into the ballroom for Senior Mom Prom, I’m taken back in time to another date – our first – sixteen years earlier…

He is just two years old, and we are on our way to see Disney’s Tarzan. It’s his first time going to the theater. As we walk in, his head turns every which way, round eyes taking in all the lights, colors and sounds. He’s not much for big crowds, and squeezes my hand a little tighter. I wonder if he’ll ever outgrow this fear. We find the theater and choose our seats, Connor climbing up into the booster seat for little ones. When the movie begins, he hides his eyes in my shoulder through the first scary scene. Then, as the story unfolds, his eyes widen and he leans forward, offers me his popcorn and shares his soda.

I remember him taking my hand after the movie, the easy way he held onto mine as walked to the car. I remember holding the door for him as he climbed up into his car seat and reaching over to buckle his belt. I remember keeping the music low and talking with him, glancing at his cherubic face in the rearview mirror as he talked to me the whole way home. He’d peppered his comments with pointed questions, “Which one did you like Mama?” Tilting his head the same way he still does today. “Did the fire part scare you too, Mama?”

I’m sure I tucked him in that night. And although I don’t remember my exact words, I’d like to think I remember brushing the hair back from his forehead, planting a kiss in the same spot as always (it’s a wonder there’s no dimple there after eighteen years of kisses), and thanking him for a wonderful evening.

It’s been a long time since we’ve spent a Saturday night together, just the two of us. When I think about all the years we’ve spent together, add up all the days – all the soccer games, all the dinners, holidays, birthday parties and celebrations – I can’t think of another Saturday night I’ve had him all to myself. There’ve been mother/son brunches, of course. And trips to the mall; bookstore excursions, stops at Starbucks. Even when he was sick a few months ago, just sitting up in his bed with him to watch a few episodes of Friends is a memory I’ll treasure. But a date with this boy, this young man of mine, is something I’ll cherish always.

The ballroom is filled with senior boys and their moms. Many of the moms have grouped themselves at tables, talking, while their sons are on the dance floor, enjoying the pulse of the music and the energy of each other’s company. My son and I are with a handful of his friends and their mothers, dancing together, taking breaks to sit and talk. He doesn’t leave me for more than a few minutes. He’s a gentleman, this date of mine.

As we walk out of the ballroom, he reaches for my hand. I take it, a bit surprised. And he holds it easily all the way to the car. He opens the door for me, holding it as I get in, shuts it behind me and walks around to the driver’s side. He pulls out into traffic and keeps the music on low, talking with me all the way home about our night – the music, his friends, the pictures. Before we walk into the chaos of a busy house, I pull him into a hug and thank him for a great evening. This time I’ll remember exactly what I said. This time, I’ll remember brushing back the hair on his forehead, and kissing him goodnight in that same precious spot. This time I won’t wait another sixteen years to make a date with my son.

These years have flown by, with ups and downs, mishaps and milestones of raising this boy and watching him become a man. In the words of Garth Brooks’ lyrics, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” And I’m so incredibly grateful not to have missed this incredible dance. I may have missed my first prom, but back in 1990 I never could have known that the greatest dance of my life – being a mom – was yet to come.

About this writer

  • Beth M. Wood Beth M. Wood is an award-winning marketer, freelance writer and mom of three. Her social media addiction pays the bills and steady copywriting gigs feed her shopping habit. She blogs about marketing and social media at bethmwoodblog.com, digresses about life and parenting at bethmwood.blogspot.com and tweets @a1972bmw.

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10 Responses to “Prom Date”

  1. Phyllis Fredericksen says:

    This is brilliant! What an insightful memory.

  2. Tammy says:

    What a touchingly beautiful story! I have tears in my eyes.

  3. Rita Mueller says:

    Beautiful Beth, what a lovely tribute to your son and to his amazing mother.

  4. Your story made me tear up. These are the memories that last a mama a lifetime. Your boy has a tender, special side that will serve him well with other women. What a gentleman, indeed. Love that dimple image.

  5. This is such a beautiful story and it says so much about the both of you. Very special.

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