My big girl had her first school social last night. It was a hall full of pre-teenage children and a disco (sound system I presume not a duke box or ghetto blaster) but it seems that when it comes to the party scene, nothing much has changed in thirty years. It was agony. She didn't tell me that but I could see from her face (and the expressions of others as they opened the doors at 9.15pm) when they all spilled with relief into the open air and clutches of us parents. Why bother? I thought to myself. Is it really necessary to put our youngsters through the situation where we can guarantee that peer group pressure will begin and the feelings of inadequacy are ignited.
"How was it?" I tried with the jolliest of voices as we walked back to our car.
"Terrible" replied my furious, disappointed, irritated and humiliated girl.
"Oh Darling" I stupidly patronised, feeling helpless, "At least you know for next time?"
"Yes", she stated, "because there won't be one".
I had hoped that she might go, make some new friends, gain confidence, dance a little and laugh a lot. Wishful thinking I know and highly unlikely but it is every parents hope that life is easy after all.
Ridiculous of me to wish for such a positive outcome when the world we live in delivers us into situations of complete craziness so often without any warning. It's a pity and a shame. But I am glad that she went because she learnt how utterly absurd it is to expect an amazing evening without much effort. To get self respect, happiness and that all round good feeling we crave, we need to begin by loving who we are. My girl might have written off the opportunity to make new friends by being simply asked for her mobile number but she will have learnt that it takes effort to form friendship. And that we can choose who to be friends with and who to trust.
"Did anyone ask for your number?" (Same meaning as 'Did you dance with anyone?' from back in the day)
"Yes" she said quietly, "But he walked around the hall asking for everyones number".
Another disappointment ticked on her list which can only be a good thing, I'm hoping.