Friday, May 1, 2009

Shunned as a Chaperone

I’ve committed an unpardonable parental sin – I’ve volunteered to chaperone my son’s high school dance. It’s not my usual thing, but the Freshman Spring Mixer Committee had been sending out a series of increasingly desperate emails, pleading for help. They were only asking for an hour or so; it would barely interfere with my Friday night. Figuring it was no big deal, I signed up for the early shift.

Big mistake, according to my son, who demanded in disgust, “Why are you doing this to me?”

“Nick,” I said, “They need parents to help or they can’t have the Mixer.”

“Well, it doesn’t have to be you. A thousand kids go to my school, Mom. Let someone else’s parents do it.”

“Come on, I promise that I won’t talk to you. You won’t even see me there.”

“I don’t want anyone I know to see you there.”

I’m not really offended by his loathing because I get it. The last person I would have wanted hanging out at my high school dances was my mother. But someone has to help out, right? The thought of a thousand unsupervised 14 and 15 year-olds getting their dance on is scarier than an outbreak of the Swine Flu.

I tried to get my friends to chaperone with me, but only Jenny replied to my email and her refusal was curt. “My kid would kill me!” Yeah, I can relate.

I’m committed now and it’s the right thing to do, but I want Nick to feel comfortable and have a good time. So for my shift on Friday, I’m going to dress nondescriptly, button my lip, avert my eyes, and pretend I don’t recognize a single kid there. And when it’s time to chaperone the next dance, it’s someone else’s turn!


Meg said...

My husband got the EXACT same treatment from his freshman son after volunteering to help with a fundraiser at the school! I'm referring him to this post, and reassuring him that it's normal teenage behavior. It doesn't necessarily make you feel better as a parent, though. Just think--this will be one of the few times you can outright ignore your teen in public. Be cool, mom!

Julie said...

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm the Sophomore class chaperone chair at New Trier, and fully understand your predicament! Tell Nick that because there are 1000 kids in his class, the chances of him actually seeing you are slim to none. It's crowded and you can always ask to monitor the girls bathroom door where he would have no chance of running into you (horrors!) Those hard working chaperone chairs truly appreciate your help! Once he realizes that you're not going to follow him around, ask him to dance, etc., he'll back off. Plus, this can be pretty entertaining people watching for you. You will have enough material to load up your blog for a few weeks to come!