This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The High School Dance

Our 15 year old boy attended a dance a few weekends ago. Growing up is so tough!

He's been dating a girl for the past 6 months or so, although doesn't want to acknowledge anything. They go ice skating and visit each others' houses, but he insists (at least to me, his mom) that they're "just friends." The girl's mom and I get together sometimes for coffee, not because of our kids but simply because we like to chat together.

A few weeks ago the mom mentioned (not hinting, just telling me) that her daughter was "really hoping" that our boy would ask her girl to the dance. Next I heard that our boy was taking a different girl. My husband told me that apparently the first girl had gotten tired of waiting for our boy to ask her and accepted another invitation. I emailed the girl's mom to say hi, and between her and my husband, the "real" story came out.

The first girl, a week before, went with another boy from her church to the boy's dance at a nearby school. The boy, the mom assured me, was just a friend.

I strongly suspect our son interpreted the girl's going to the other dance to mean that she likes this other boy.

The second girl, whom our boy took to the dance, apparently asked him if he'd take her. Knowing his psychology, he probably said yes because he didn't know how to get out of it. He mentioned later that he didn't really want to go, although he did seem to have had a good time when I picked them up.

The first girl stayed at home that evening, studying chemistry. (I think the mom is right that the second boy didn't mean anything to her, since if he did she would have asked him to her dance). Does this sound like a soap opera?

The girl's mom was very nice about everything -- she said these things happen, and would I like to get together with her next week?

I have no idea how things will work out for our kids, or if they will, but really it's just a small incident in the process of growing up. My husband and I will continue to gently advise and guide our young man, interpreting for him why events may mean different things than what he thinks. I wish someone had noticed and cared a little to help me at this age -- it would have saved a lot of heartbreak. But be that as it may, these are typical hurts for this age. We can't be unequivocal in telling our son what to do like we did in the past, only suggest ideas and love him.

I had terrible dreams that night. That dance brought back again the bad memories for me of this part of my life and a little later. I did significantly hurtful things to several boys, and was significantly hurt as well. At the time I didn't realize how odd my actions might have seemed, even though I realize now that some were unconsciously self-protective. Others were naive, and a few just selfish.

One boy who I dumped I loved, and I believe he loved me, although at the time I didn't appreciate how rare and fragile a thing love is. It took a very long time for me to find someone else: my husband, with whom we have two children. He is very different from the first boy, but we are happy.

Some might think it strange that I still occasionally remember to regret what I did so many years ago to that boy. I wouldn't change my life, because I love my husband and children and would never trade the present for the past. It's just that, even now, I wish I could directly apologize to the boy simply because I treated him cruelly at the end (although I didn’t appreciate this). I'm sure he hated me. But then I think, he probably doesn't hold onto these things now. Water under the bridge, and all that. My nightmares after the dance are about ancient history.

But that history still lives within me. My dreams occasionally remind me. Years ago, when I became a Christian, I wrestled to really, truly, forgive those who had hurt me, but I wonder if I ever forgave myself. I reflect on this in the middle of the night. Over the years I've thought of that other boy every now and then. Maybe we'll see each other again in another life.

Would directly apologizing to him help? I don't know. Is it worth it to even try?

Gee, I just wish I could say I'm sorry, without its being a big deal. I send him (and his family and dear ones) the best wishes I have.


  1. I tracked down someone I'd hurt about fifteen years after the fact. I wrote a letter in which I accepted entire responsibility for the dissolution of the friendship, said I understood if he could not forgive me, but asked for his forgiveness anyhow.

    He replied that of course he forgave me and that he'd been party to the goings-on too, and asked how things were.

    We didn't have a long correspondence or anything. Our lives are very different now. But do keep in mind that while your maturity level increased over time, so did his. It might be worth looking him up online and seeing what he's doing, praying over it for a while, and if his online footprint indicates a fairly well-adjusted human being, maybe making contact and offering an apology.

    But with prayer, because obviously if you think it would just open old wounds and not resolve anything, it's better just to leave things quiet and pray from a distance.

    Those are my two cents.

  2. Jane, thank you. I've been haunted by him on and off for a long while. I look back and realize many of my cruel actions at that time stemmed from deep unmet needs of which I wasn't even aware, but thinking back I'm just sad because much of it was avoidable. I so wish someone (a parent? another adult?) had taken a little time to talk with me and help me figure out, where was my head.

    You have such an encouraging story with your friend! Thank you so much.

  3. Mrs. Deardon,

    Don't overlook the possibility that the boy you remember loved you just as much as you loved him, and the likelihood that he would be glad to hear from you. It isn't pleasant to keep imagining the worst. Maybe if you could find his email address and send him a link to your blog post it would be a subtle way to open the lines of communication and provide some "closure" on the situation. (And if he turns out to be a serial murderer it may be excellent material for some future posts!)

    -- Juram Reese

  4. Juram, thank you. It's so helpful to have objective feedback with a painful, buried situation. I haven't even mentioned this situation to my husband because I don't know how to approach it with him. It's not like I think about this boy often, just that many years later, when I do, I cry.