Last night, after talking to my friend Ange, I offered to attend the senior school dance as a chaperone so I could hang out with her and my two oldest children.
I was so impressed with the kids, their friends, and the few parents who didn’t roll their eyes at me but actually stopped and chatted, that I just had to share my experience with you.
Steph and Daniel both won prizes for their costumes. That was pretty cool, but the thing that REALLY knocked my socks off was how unafraid they were to have fun and hang out with their weirdo mum.
I manned the door with some mums I had previously never met, then I took up residence at the water table with my friend Ange.
And. Then. I. Danced.
I danced the Macarena, I danced to hip hop and AC/DC, and my children were out on that floor or hanging out with me during EVERY SINGLE SONG.
Daniel is at an age where most of his friends were too cool to boogie. One of his besties hurt his ankle so sat the entire dance out on the sidelines. He checked in to make sure his friend was all good, and then he got his teeny, tiny bootie out there on the floor and he carved it up.
Now we have raised our children on a healthy diet of strange behavior, generous smiles, big belly laughs, huge hugs, heartfelt honesty, and ferocious attachment to having fun wherever we are. We get looks of fear and dismay at supermarkets as we dance and sing through the isles on a Saturday shopping trip.
We try not to offend or upset anyone, but being so very different and sticking out can and does earn us haters.
The kids have witnessed this as we get told off by old ladies, grumpy strangers, and people who are uncomfortable with our laughter or behaviour.
Daniel also confided in me at dinner last night, just before the dance, that he remembers sitting and playing his DS quietly places when he was young and we were just out of earshot, and overhearing people talk about how terrible I am. How loud I am. How sorry they feel for our kids. A big old mixed bag of hate and vitriol that his young ears are only now starting to process after years and years of being subject to it.
I sort of want to fit into society. But I also sort of want to push my little people out of their comfort zone and into a place where they can live out interesting, kind, connected, impactful lives without worrying about what other people will think. Also, always doing the best they can to not hurt anyone or be too offensive (I fail at this rather a lot, as I am sweary and abrupt).
I really feel the kids have struck a nice balance. They pride themselves on being weird or geeky. They are not afraid to try things and fail, and they are not afraid to stand up taller than the crowd to defend someone, question something, or have some fun.
And oh my goodness they are kind. They are kind to people who are not always kind to them, and they feel empathy toward people who are often cruel to them. They stop and question even their friends if they are feeling as though someone is being cruel or nasty.
I Love that.
And I hope as they grow older they can continue to embrace the open arms and joy we share every single day in our home and out in public, because while the haters are gonna hate, I am quite certain that we are spreading some serious smiles and sunshine around as we go about our daily business and laugh and smile and shake our bodies to the music.
Here is a collection of pictures of the kids being dragged from pillar to post around the globe, and finding joy in most of these situations.
Have a great weekend.
Thank you for reading.