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Corsages and Chaperones

“Please, Mom, don’t let her do it,” Emma begged.

“It says right here that anyone can volunteer to chaperone the dance as long as you don’t have a criminal record and you’re not a perv,” I said. “I’m not either of those things.” I pointed at the paper containing the 8th grade formal dance information.

“Surely you realize that we live in a small town and anything you’ve ever done as a child will be remembered for the rest of your life and brought up frequently when you meet your classmates later on in life,” Layce said. “This includes Emma and her 8th grade dance. People will remember her crazy chaperone. She’ll never live it down.

“No one brings up the fact that you took the principal’s car for a joyride. All the way to Tulsa,” I retorted.

“Yes, but I moved. I don’t live in that town anymore.”

“You stole a car?” Emma asked her eyes big.

Layce glared at me. “I didn’t steal a car. I borrowed it.”

“Did you hotwire it?” Emma asked.

Layce glared at me again. “No, he left the keys on his desk and I took the opportunity to appropriate them while he was gone.”
car keys

“What were you doing in the principal’s office?” Emma inquired.

“I was getting a Student of the Year award,” Layce said.
student of the year

Emma and I both rolled our eyes. Everyone knows those awards are given out during a school assembly.

“Back to the topic at hand, I want to chaperone the dance. I seldom get the chance to have parental experiences because I didn’t come along until Emma was ten. I missed a lot.” I was seriously guilting them, but I wanted this bad.

“Are you going to wear the bunny ears?” Emma asked.

I was standing in the kitchen wearing the bunny ears. Sometimes a person just feels like putting on their bunny ears.

“Well, of course, they’ll go perfectly with my bar mitzvah suit.” I meant the tux I found at the thrift store that had been tailored for someone petite. It fit me perfectly. “Or I could wear my Bob Barker suit.” Another thrift store find—a small, green suit that also fit perfectly. “But the bunny ears won’t look as good.” The suit was a light green.

Emma put her hand in her head. “You can’t let her do this to me.” She gazed at her mother. And then she seemed to have an eureka moment. “Unless I can wear my white wig with my gray beret and the purple fox tail.”

“For the love of God neither one of you are going to the dance like that. I’ll never live it down.”

“You’re no fun,” I said pouting.

I didn’t get to chaperone but I did get to be the photographer. After the dance we lined up with all the other parents to pick up their kids. I wanted a picture of Emma with her boyfriend (he shall go unnamed to protect the innocent.)

“I don’t know how you’re going to get a picture with this line of cars,” Layce said.

“You’re going to stop and I’ll hop out real quick and get a photo,” I replied, scanning the crowd for Emma.

“This is a round-about line. You can only stop to pick up your kid not get out of the car to take pictures.”

“That rule doesn’t apply for school dances.”

“You do realize you’re breaking the Social Contract?” Layce said.

I should never have told her about the Social Contract. It requires that one doesn’t lie, cheat, steal or otherwise break the rules for purely selfish reasons—it’s the basis of a civilized world.

“I believe there is a clause in there that states one can be inconvenient during once-in-a-lifetime sentimental moments involving children.” I spotted Emma and her boyfriend. “Stop right here.”

I grabbed the camera and leapt out of the car. I’d forgotten I was wearing my house slippers. I got my pant leg caught on the door handle. It hiked my pant leg up to mid-thigh. Emma was mortified as I disregarded the wardrobe malfunction due to time constraints.

“What’s wrong with your pants?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I said as I pulled the errant pant leg down. “Now hurry, stand next to your boyfriend (who still shall remain unnamed), we’re the breaking the Social Contract.

I glanced over to find boyfriend’s mother taking photos as well. We smiled at each other. “I finally found a corsage in town,” she said.
wrist corsages
I looked puzzled. What the hell was a corsage? Was she referring to fancy undergarments? And if she was why was she telling me? Emma must have seen my bewilderment.

She held up her wrist. “See, isn’t my CORSAGE beautiful.” Corsages evidently were a bunch of flowers all squished together to make a bracelet.

“Oh, right.  Yes, it’s very nice,” I said.

Emma got in the car and banged her head on the back of the headrest. “Oh, my God. That was horrid.”

“We’ll get through it,” Layce said soothingly.

“I can’t wait until next week when we go for high school registration and we get the tour of the school,” I said.

“You can’t ask a bunch of questions, promise me,” Emma said.

“Well, some questions at least. I think it’s my duty as a parent to inquire of fire exits, how often are the fire extinguishers are checked, if there’s an evacuation plan, how a lock-down works…”

“Mom….please,” Emma said.

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about,” I muttered. They had no idea about the outfit I planned on wearing. It was going to be a surprise. I think they’ll be pleased.


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