If it is the role of each generation to take their parents’ gifts and reach ever higher, Oliver is doing proud by me tonight by attending his first high school dance.
A combination of social awkwardness and more social awkwardness meant that, in the 5 years I spent in high school in Ontario, I didn’t go to a single dance there.
At the one school dance I did attend, while on a band exchange trip to Fort McMurray, I was thrown into a wall by an angry drunken young man, and this did nothing to win me over to the idea.
Fortunately, Oliver has no such awkwardness, and so is fully prepared to go places his terrified father never could.
This being a more enlightened era, he has the aid of his excellent new support worker, Drake from Summerside, and, should he need it, the support of me, hunkered down here in the Learning Centre as a failsafe. Of course social awkwardness having a half-life of about a billion years, it’s me who’s the nervous one still, cowering in the corner, hoping that nobody notices me.
All of this was made evermore feasible by a helpful meeting on Monday with Oliver’s resource teacher and the school principal where we worked to shave off the rough edges (practical things like “buy tickets from your block D teacher,” something that Oliver doesn’t have, and matters of the spirit like “will Oliver be overwhelmed and what’s our plan if so?”). They were nothing but helpful and supportive in this regard, and are to be commended for their true commitment to inclusion.
I’ve got a big stack of books and three hours to kill. The indecipherable back beat of 2017 pop music leaks through from the cafeteria. Worst case scenario, I can always hide under a desk if it gets too bad.
Postscript the next morning: the dance was great; Oliver had a wonderful time and danced up a storm; Drake was great; I had a relaxing three hours in the Learning Centre, most of which I spent talking my brother Mike on the phone.