During all my years in school, I never once got asked to Homecoming. Ever.
When I was in sixth grade, I remember Homecoming being a pretty big deal in junior high. There were a few boys I secretly hoped would ask me. My heart would beat fast and I would get excited every time one of them would talk to me the week before thinking they were going to ask me to be their date. I held out hope I would get asked because this was junior high and everyone who was anyone had a date for Homecoming!
The day of Homecoming, I held out a small bit of hope I was going to be asked to go, even though I knew it wasn't going to happen. Of course, not going to the game wasn't an option. My brother was playing and we went to every single game.
I really don't recall the game, who I sat with or talked to. However, I do remember the feeling I had as I walked into the stadium and everywhere you looked there were mums and garters and little couples walking happily to the student section.
The mums..you know, the ones with real flowers! The ones Texans are known for across the country! Girls where proudly showing them off along with two streamers where the name of you and your date were forever immortalized in sticky, glitter letters, or at least until you got mad at him and ripped them off. This was junior high and a teenage girl scored...well...it could be bad!
In seventh grade, I held out little hope I would be asked to the big game until I received a letter in my locker. You know the letter, the one folded in just the right pattern. Us kids of the 80's had that down to an art form! As I opened the letter and began reading it, I just knew I was going to be asked. It didn't have a name on the outside, so I began envisioning the boy of my dreams, the one who was going to ask me to Homecoming and buy me the biggest, most gaudy mum in the word with our names on it.
As I began reading the letter, it said, "Ginger, I'm thinking about asking you to Homecoming. I'll let you know." It was signed by a boy in eighth grade who I would NOT let walk me across the street much less take me to the biggest night in a teenage girls life. He said he was thinking about asking me? I hated to break it to him, but the answer was no. Lucky for me, he never asked. Good thing I didn't have to break his heart. Another Homecoming being in the "without a mum and a date crowd."
As if I didn't stand out enough with the red hair. A redhead and no mum in a sea of people with them? It did wonders for my self-confidence.
By the time eighth grade rolled around, I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with me. Was I ugly? Was I not likable? Did I have the dreaded cooties? I was pretty sure I didn't since I had not square danced since elementary and we all know that's where they come from. I thought I might should enter a convent since after all I was 14 years-old and had never been on a date to Homecoming. In my teenage mind, it was tragic and my feelings were hurt.
High school was more of the same, yet here I am. I'm a happily married woman who survived never being asked to Homecoming. At the time, I thought it was the end of the world. I wondered why all my friends were asked, but I wasn't. I spent a couple of weeks each year anticipating something that never happened only to be disappointed. Today, I know one thing for sure. There was nothing wrong with me. Maybe there was a boy who wanted to ask me, but he was too shy. Maybe they were afraid of my older brothers! Maybe, just maybe....they liked me as a friend and didn't want anyone to think differently.
Homecoming is a time of celebration, a time of reflecting and a time to walk down memory lane. I look back on my lack of a date for the big day with a bit of a laugh. It's just one of the many things throughout my life that have made me who I am today. It is part of my story and I wouldn't change it now for anything in the world.
To all you girls wondering if you will be asked to Homecoming next week, don't put too much time or worry into it. If you do, great. If you don't, go with friends and have the time of your life. Enjoy the game, enjoy the fellowship and walk into the game with your head held high. It's one day in a lifetime of days. You will survive not going with a date. You will survive without a massive mum that will fade over the years. You will survive and remember....you are beautiful and loved!