I have said this phrase at least 20 times in the past two weeks, and every time it has been related to this weekend's homecoming festivities at my child's high school. I have never in my life been involved in such a cluster of over-the-top madness as that which surrounds this event.
I know I was born in the Dark Ages. I realize that times change and that kids today do things differently than we did when we were in high school. But I gotta tell ya, I really think these particular changes... well... they bite.
Here's how the Homecoming thing went when I was in school: We went to the game on Friday night. The dance was Saturday night. We bought/wore one outfit, our dates picked us up, we ate at a restaurant - usually with other couples - then we went to the dance. At the dance there was a photographer hired to take our pictures. Yes, I know they were cheesy pictures, with the backdrop created by the yearbook staff, or the cheerleaders or the student council. But they were our "Homecoming Pictures," and I still have them in a box in my closet. The only other pictures taken were the one or two snapshots our parents took at the door before we left the house.
It was simple. It was organized. It was fun.
What I'm dealing with now is unorganized, stress-inducing overkill.
Here's what happens at my child's homecoming, plans created, no doubt, by mothers with too much money and time on their hands.
The game is on Friday night (thank Goodness). Not much difference here.
The dance is on Saturday night, which still would be great, if it weren't for the added nightmare associated with it. Keep reading.
My child's school requires, as best they can, the kids to go in groups. A friend of mine who works for the school explained it to me this way - it's a whole lot easier to get in trouble when it's just the two of them... one boy and one girl. I get it... that makes sense. And it also seems like it would be more fun for the kids to be with their friends. So they make plans ahead of time to go with either one or two more couples on Saturday night.
Somehow, however, my child ended up in a group that started as three couples. But unbeknownst to any of us, one of the boys (who I do not know) has, since the creation of The Group, invited three more couples. I don't know any of them, and they are sophomores. And now my child (a freshman) belongs to the Largest Homecoming Group in History. I am still not sure how we are to get these teens everywhere they need to go, since none of them drive.
On Saturday, the kids put on the first of two outfits you buy for them for the event. We call this "The Going Out to Eat Outfit." Then they somehow (this is still fuzzy as of today, two days before the event) meet "their group" at the "Picture-Taking Place" (chosen by the parents). So the parents take their pictures in "The Going Out to Eat Outfit." Then the parents are to drive the group to the restaurant to eat. Since the parents should not be within a 100 yard radius of the kids as they enjoy their meal, we all anxiously await the call from their cell phones which tell us when they need to be picked up.
Once we have picked up the kids from the restaurant, we take them to "The Clothes-Changing Place" where they put on the second outfit we have to purchase for them, which is a semi-formal dress, complete with shoes, jewelry, etc. Then we take the kids back to "The Picture-Taking Place" where we once again take their pictures, this time in "The Dance Outfit."
Side note: One of the moms in the group told me that she still has not developed a single picture taken at Homecoming. Her son is now a senior. Just sayin...
Once the second round of pictures is taken, the parents finally drop the kids off at the dance, and then return to get them when it's over. I am told that some groups change clothes YET AGAIN and go hang out at somebody's house. This will not be happening for my child. I have already told her she will be coming home post-dance. We will re-evaluate when she is a junior or senior.
One of the moms and I got together a couple of days ago to try to organize this debacle and figure out who will be getting whom where. We had a pretty good plan. I was instructed to call the third mom of the original group of three couples and run it by her. We both just KNEW she would be thankful that we had put forth the effort to arrange everything since, to our knowledge, no one (parents or kids) had yet taken the time to do so.
In our plan, though, we totally skipped the whole "Taking Pictures in the Going Out to Eat Outfit," agreeing that it was slightly silly, and that the kids could simply take their cameras to the restaurant and take "party pics," which would no doubt be a lot cooler on facebook anyway.
So I called Mom #3. She completely freaked out, mostly because we skipped the first round of pictures, and she has "had two children already go through Homecoming at this high school, and THIS IS JUST THE WAY WE DO IT!!!!"
Oh. My. Stars!
Are you kidding me? SERIOUSLY?!?!?!
So now it's back to the drawing board. I thought this whole Homecoming thing would be fun, not just for my child, but for me, too. But four years of this just might kill me.
This is one time that it might be best to go back to the days of old. I may not be "hip" anymore, but I guarantee you that in this particular situation, the old days really were the good days.
Simple. Organized. And fun.