I remember the moment vividly. I was wearing my brown wide whale corduroys and my first pair of high heel clogs. "Another One Bites the Dust" was playing on the turntable in the gym. The girls stood awkwardly whispering in one corner. The boys stood just as awkwardly in the opposite corner.
After about two hours of standing around, one of the girls suggested we dance together in a group instead of waiting for the boys to ask us to dance. So that's exactly what we did. And we finally had some fun just before the dance ended. Even a few of the boys got bold enough and entered the dance floor near us.
Fast forward 30-plus years, and my oldest daughter and her friends are getting ready for their first middle school dance. I hosted a pre-dance pizza party for 15 girls - all classmates from elementary school. After about an hour of dressing, primping and eating, the girls wanted me to turn some music on so that they could "practice" for the dance. In no time at all, they had formed what amounted to a conga line in my living room with their hands in the air and big smiles on their faces.
The best part was that these girls are all very different. Some wore dresses and skirts, others wore jeans. The styles ranged from sequins to sneakers, but their differences were overshadowed by their common bond.
As the mothers picked the girls up at the dance Friday night, they came out in groups, smiling and laughing, full of stories about what had transpired. Not unlike my first dance experience, the girls reported that there were streamers hanging from the ceiling, soda served and multiple chaperones walking the floor. Some girls had danced with individual boys. But, for the most part, the girls stayed in groups, as did the boys, and they danced the night away as friends.
The looks on their faces told me everything I needed to know. They had a ball. Apparently, they figured out the prescription for fun a whole lot earlier than my generation did, and I'm glad.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.