The week that was chock-full of melodrama and uproar caused by a certain posse of High Schoolers--mine included--came speeding to a close on Saturday, culminating in the Countdown to Kickoff...er "Prom". But wait--first, 3/4 of Team WestEnders had a little something called a DNA Day 5K to check off our list. (And yes, this was on the calendar waaayyy before Derek got recruited into attending the dance, because we're not THAT nuts....almost, but not quite...) So we got up, prepped with our usual pre-run routine...oh, except for Derek, that is. You see, he was tired--his own fault for not bothering to adjust his bedtime the night before--and opted to sleep until the last possible minute. Then, even though he absolutely knows better, he chose not to properly hydrate or eat anything before the race (when I prompted him to maybe have a banana and some juice, he shrugged and nonchalantly threw out, "I'll be okay.....I've done stupider things!" Yeaahhh, son, not exactly the most impressive argument, there.).
So, not surprisingly, we had to deal with some...issues: for example, Derek suffered a cramp during the race. And although it was cool-ish, it was also suuuuuper-humid at start time, which may explain why, at around the second mile, my legs began to feel like blocks of lead. The course is a familiar one that goes through UNC's campus, meaning I anticipated the hills. But by the time we arrived at what I knew were the last two inclines, my tank was officially EMPTY, and I had to slow down to a walk for a minute or so before picking it back up to finish. (Derek passed me again during this period, having recovered enough from his discomfort to at least cross the line ahead of me. Brat.)
Therefore I ended up with my slowest 5K time to date, as expected. However, a cheerful Riley greeted us with the news that he had come in...4th overall....with a total time of 20 minutes and 14 seconds. Holy Speed Demons, Batman! Which meant that he won the 13-and-Under Boys group, got his name called during the awards presentation, and was given a nifty medal. We were congratulating him and admiring his swag when they came to...Old...er Females category and I heard a shocking announcement over the PA--my name...pronounced correctly, even. What the WHAT? I was wondering "how on Earth did that happen?" when I came to the conclusions that 1) It must be a reeeealllly small field, 2) Perhaps I was the only one in my age range? (Hold on--I just looked it up, and there were, in fact, 5 of us, so I was "faster" than several other women...whoo hoo!), or 3) I did....ahem...."move up" this year, so now I'm at the younger end of the...Mature Ladies Who Run, so maybe that explains it.
Fortunately, we didn't have to suffer in suspense, as Derek actually ran into Mac at the florist. You see, his mother had driven him there on her way to take the Schnoodle (no, I'm not making that up--it's a real breed...sort of...) to the vet and have the unauthorized object...handled. (No, I don't wanna know...). But she was understandably peeved with Mac, so she'd dropped him off and told him to find his own way home. Then along came Derek, at his time of need, to drive him back to our house-- thereby ensuring that her punishment would be entirely ineffective, and he would suffer no unpleasant consequences whatsoever from his actions. (Eh, sometimes parenting decisions backfire--what can you do?) When quizzed, Mac clarified that the button had, in fact, fallen off by itself, meaning that the tux was out of its wrapping awaiting his mother's repair. She was going to sew it back on when the dog snuck into the room and snatched it. (Well...okay. It's still ridiculous, but now I at least understand what happened.)
After Mac left to presumably return to his own home and face the music...play video games....whatever...Derek and I were chatting over lunch. He mused, "I'm gonna have to figure out how to get my hair to behave." (Background note: he and Riley are pretty regular every-8-weeks haircut guys, and they're slightly overdue. Not totally shaggy, but on the way there. Most importantly to Derek, he gets what he calls his Superman swoop--an s-shaped curl that flops over onto his forehead, that he despises. It's adorable, of course, but it bugs the heck out of him...) I started to offer a solution, such as helping him gel it...but as I opened my mouth he cut me off with a mischievous glint in his eye and a half-smirk and firmly stated, "I'm not COMBING it!" Right. Well, that level of...commitment...removes, oh, approximately ALL of our options, son. I presume you're going to get it to do what you want...using the power of your mind? Fine--good luck with that!
Next we moved on to: the donning of the formal wear! This was obviously an occasion for each of us to fulfill our special roles: Husband to assist...and me to document. And seriously, it took all of about 10 minutes to get him fully suited up and ready to head out (since, you know, he was insistent on eschewing the oh-so-retro comb in favor of the modern Jedi-hair-control method). He was meeting the whole gang of attendees at his buddy's (Lou, the one who volunteered him for Prom duty in the first place) date's house for photos.
Here's where I have to digress for a moment and mention the closest thing to an actual...altercation...that I believe Derek and I have ever experienced. When plans for the evening were being arranged earlier in the week--including the gathering at Evelyn's home and a scheduled trip to UNC's arboretum for "formal pictures", I'd interjected to ask at what point I'd be allowed to join in the photo parade. My precious child stared at me, aghast, and replied, "Mom! You can't follow me to Prom! That's so embarrassing--no other parents are going to be there!"
I gave him the "you've got to be kidding me, mister" look, and pointed out several truths to him: first of all, I 100% guarantee that most, if not every single other mother, at least, wants to take pictures as well; second, I don't intend to trail along after you like a Private Detective, snapping surreptitious shots that I'll later use for blackmail (Hmm...unless that becomes necessary--perhaps I'll reserve judgement for now...); and finally, the stern "your father and I have been nothing but supportive, understanding, cooperative, and helpful during this whirlwind you've brought into our lives, and all I'm asking for in return is a Couple. Of. Freaking. Pictures. My voice might have been rising as I delivered this last section. There might have been a bit (or a LOT) of hand waving. I was getting altogether pretty worked up, but he just shook his head and stubbornly insisted that it was a terrible idea, and would cause him irreparable mortification, blah blah blah.
Fast forward to the gala night, when, as it turns out, ALL THE PARENTS joined their offspring at Evelyn's, to happily point cameras and snap away at their beautifully dressed progeny--none of whom, by the way, appeared to be the slightest bit put out by the commotion or attention. (I exercised remarkable restraint in not saying, "I told you so..." Ha! Just kidding! It was impossible not to point out that he'd gotten all hyped up over nothing...especially since this is such a rare occurrence for him. To his credit, he took it with good grace...)
I got to meet Derek's partner in this whole affair, who proved to be a lovely young lady. I appreciated the opportunity to view the neighborhood goofballs--who I often encounter in dirt and/or sweat- covered athletic clothes--all cleaned up and outfitted in their finery, and I must say they looked utterly dashing. The ceremonial pinning on of the boutonnieres was both amusing and nerve-wracking as sharp pins were jabbed toward our sons' chest regions (no flowers were harmed, nor blood shed, thank goodness). And can you believe it, through all of this: no tears?! (I know--I shocked myself by remaining calm and non-weepy. But the way I look at it, I'd better start practicing now, because there will be plenty of these kinds of moments in the coming year...deep breaths...)
From there, the couples moved on to the aforementioned pix-among-the-trees at UNC, then to dinner at a local restaurant, the dance itself, and...undetermined after-plans (which Derek reported as being a very low key "drive around a little, then hang out and talk at someone's house until curfew"). After all the craziness--and a good deal of uncertainty--leading up to it, Derek commented that he had, in fact, enjoyed himself...and was glad he went. Now all that's left to do is return the tux...and then we can all also return to normalcy for a while (until the Next Big Thing....but we've got a few weeks, so let's make it count!)