On Friday, despite coming home earlier in the day with a low grade fever and a distinct sluggishness, Briton went to his very first dance. I spent a good part of the day trying to decide what would make me a less terrible parent. Allowing my ever-so-slightly ill son to attend a dance with his classmates, all of whom he has, no doubt, already infected with...whatever he had. Or NOT letting my ever-so-slightly sick son attend a dance with his classmates where he might infect them with...whatever he had. In the end, we let him go. In part because he really was feeling better, but also because I remember, oh so clearly, my first dance. And I'm 100% sure that I would have wanted to go even if I was on my deathbed. Because first dances, they are important stuff.
My first dance was in sixth grade, so I was around a year older than Briton is now. In fact, since our birthdays fall just shy of two weeks from one another and my first dance was also a Halloween one, I'm pretty sure that he's exactly one year younger than I was. And until today, when I started thinking about first dances, I'd completely forgotten that that dance, that night, I had my first kiss. A nose bumping, cheek blushing, stolen peck behind the chairs we were supposed to be sacking. Embarrassing and awkward, as all first kisses are required by law to be. I remember that the boy in question was named Jake and that he was the absolute opposite of the type of boy I thought I would find myself with, if ever I were to find myself with a boy who I wanted to kiss. He did not read piles of books, or play secretly with the dolls hidden in the closet (at least I assume he didn't have dolls in the closet, but I never went to his house, so, you know, he could have done). He didn't play in the orchestra and wasn't in honors math and English. He wasn't, in other words, like me at all. He was, I thought at the time, "bad". Bad being relative when you are are eleven. Bad, meaning he didn't always always do all of his homework and the extra credit as well. Bad, because I couldn't even fathom disobeying like that. I thought I was being daring, romantic, to have a "bad" boy kiss me.
It didn't last long, my romance with the bad boy. I can't actually remember breaking up, or who did it, although I suspect it was him because I do remember crying buckets. But then, I always cried buckets, no matter who did the breaking up. Because I was a drama queen and we drama queens like to deliver us some drama dontcha know? And after that there were other boys that I liked. Other boys who gave me awkward kisses. And two years later (yes, when I was 13) I'd meet another "bad" boy who, although I didn't know it at the time, would steal my heart for the long haul .
All of this is to say, there was a dance. And no matter what, my boy wanted to go. And I let him. Because first dances, they are important. They shape your life, just a little, and sometimes a lot. And whether or not this first small romance of Briton's ends in heartbreak and crying (because, ahem, he may have inherited his mother's drama queen genes) or if it just sizzles away, it's the first one. Ready or not, we're here, at that moment.