My Sons Decide Whether to Attend the Homecoming Dance

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by Betty Vertin |

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It’s homecoming week here in Nebraska. Our local high school has its homecoming football game today, and the dance is tomorrow.

I love homecoming. It’s a time of fun and excitement. The crowd at the football game always seems full of extra energy. The kids get dressed up and have fun at the dance. The entire week is full of homecoming activities.

I have two sons in high school. Max, a sophomore, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and Chance, a freshman, does not. Chance plays football and will be part of the game. He also has a date for the dance. Max is not on the football team, but attends all the fun events to cheer on his brother.

During the games, Max sits with his dad and me instead of in the student section. He even plans to wear one of his brother’s football jerseys to school today for Jersey Day, and he wore his dad’s Hawaiian shirt on Tuesday for Hawaiian Day.

I’m writing this a couple days before Friday, and so far, Max hasn’t planned to ask anyone to the dance or to even attend. I thought I heard a touch of longing to be part of the dance when he realized his little brother is going and taking a date. At that point, I told him he could ask someone, too, or even go stag. Max shook his head and proceeded with what he was doing, like it didn’t matter.

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I haven’t brought up the topic since. I’m unsure about what to do, and have decided it’s best to follow Max’s lead and support whatever choice he makes. I plan to buy Chance a new pair of dress pants and will ask Max if I should pick him up a pair. I want to show him that it’s perfectly normal to either go or stay home. I never went to the homecoming dances in high school and still really enjoyed homecoming week. I also want to encourage him to try something, but don’t want him to feel like he’s missing out if he doesn’t want to go. I know the last thing my kids think I am is cool, but I am desperately trying to play this cool.

I am so not cool. I know many kids don’t go to these types of dances, but as a Duchenne mom, I worry extra. I don’t want his disease or his wheelchair to be the reason he’s not going.

The transition to high school has not been the easiest for Max. I know that asking a girl to the dance would be intimidating. I keep telling myself that both things are typical of many high school kids, even healthy kids with full mobility. I know that not attending a school dance is part of one version of a typical high school experience.

My heart is wrestling with this. Is Max having a normal high school experience, or is Duchenne creating obstacles? It’s so hard to know. It’s hard to take my “mom emotions” out of the picture and look at this in an unbiased way. I just want Max to have fun.

If Chance weren’t going, I wouldn’t think extra about it. In fact, until a few days ago, he had been planning to play in a baseball tournament and not go to the dance on Saturday. Why is it so hard to avoid overthinking it for my DMD kiddos?

I need to keep telling myself that I’m trying to play this cool. I plan to casually ask Max if I need to pick up a pair of pants for him, or if he needs money to buy a ticket, and act like his answer is what I’d expected.

If he doesn’t go to homecoming, I will ask him to go to the community theater for a show on Saturday. They’re performing “Mamma Mia!” that night, and Max has been looking forward to going. That way, he will be doing something he enjoys, rather than sitting at home thinking about what’s happening at the dance — not that he would do that.

It comes down to Duchenne being a journey I wasn’t prepared for — one that comes without a map. So, here’s to me doing my best this week, and to all of you doing your best, too!

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Comments

Toni Walker avatar

Toni Walker

Nice article …. It’s hard when he may not see his peers in a wheelchair and even he seems confident on stage in acting roles, it’s hard to navigate Dancing as a family with your own homecoming may be the short answer. Hard topic but best way to discuss is to get it out there Thank you

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