Tonight is prom night.
Our family’s fifth prom, and our last.
My 17-year-old son is driving his date and another couple in our 1978 VW bus. They’re in for a fun night of eating, talking, laughing – and, I hope, dancing.
I remember (though barely!) my prom night, eons ago. It was fun, for sure, and I’ve been married to the boy I went with for nearly 30 years now. But the one thing I regret is not dancing at the big dance.
I was too self-conscious to dance in public when I was in high school. In my bedroom, listening to the radio? I’d dance up a storm. In my father’s den, listening to records on his hi-fi stereo? I’d kick up my heels like crazy!
But I was paralyzed when it came to dancing in front of other people. I was sure I’d look stupid, goofy, uncoordinated, and awful. So I’d stand on the edge of the dance floor, tapping my foot and maybe snapping my fingers.
I wish I had all those chances to dance to do over. Because now, I would dance like crazy.
It’s not that I’ve become a more skillful dancer. If anything, I’m probably worse. The difference is that now I don’t give a hoot how I look, so long as I’m having fun.
That’s one difference. The other difference, the real reason I would dance with wild abandon if I had the chance, is that now I understand, deep in my heart, that my dancing days are numbered. Every passing year means fewer days to dance. I have come to love dancing and appreciate my continued ability to do so, despite my having multiple sclerosis.
So, tonight, I hope my son will rock his tux. I hope he’ll hug lots of friends and get lots of kisses. I hope he’ll travel safely and use his best judgment. And, yes, I hope my boy will dance, dance, dance.