It is Homecoming weekend for my high schooler and I dread his requests for after-dance parties and sleepovers. Surely I can use exposed COVID contamination as a negator for this party.

I see the mass communication happening in grunted code through my child’s phone.

The phone that I bought and support monthly vibrates, flashes, and intrudes upon the sanctuary of our home. Of course I am not a part of his social network. I feel estranged and isolated from my motherly bonds. Time has done this to me. Progress. Technology. I loathe them all. When did I feel so old? I fester with resentment that I cannot enjoy my child’s senior year for all of the mischief they must be hiding.

And then I drift back to this story swirling in my mind of my first kiss. Ah, I remember…

There was no certain occasion that we were having a party, our mode of communication was paper notes we prayed would not be intercepted and read aloud. Like my son, we meant to be clandestine from our parents.

“Up north” basements are standard and usually housing for old furniture and dank laundry rooms. Basements were the “bonus room” of the 70’s and 80’s. Before heading down to the basement we chatted with my friend’s parents and indulged in nutritious snacks that lacked the preservatives of today: Cheetos, Pepsi and Husman’s potato chips. You see, there was business at hand: Spin-the-bottle.

I recall maybe six or eight of us sitting in a circle on the shag rug… Surely there were at least three boys. My younger sister one of the girls. We spinned and kissed and spinned some more. The night was heady! These were real kisses, with open mouths and tickling tongues. My maturity level soared. I was desirable, beautiful, kissable!

I was very proud Monday morning sharing with middle school friends my new level of experience.

There was no new romance forged from that night for which to brag, but I knew I was now  more mature from my newly acquired french kissing skills.

In high school years later that same group of church friends were sharing a long bus ride home. We reminisced about our escapades over the years and we reflected on that night.  Turns out, we were all new kissers in that basement. No one recalled who started the game, but we all admitted to our nervousness and willingness to participate. We laughed at our younger selves. I still find sweet memories in recalling that night. I was safe, loved and secure moving towards the adult world.

I look back at the level of contamination that night and wonder did anyone pass along Strep throat? We didn’t rely on any technology and yet we still found secret ways to  spread the word. I admit now that I wasn’t kind to my baby sister when she became flustered from the kissing and her glasses fogged up. Our parents may have rested easy that our party included “good church friends” but we still pushed boundaries and headed towards temptations. Perhaps my son is doing just the same: pushing boundaries and heading towards temptations. I hope his friendships allow him to feel safe, loved and secure as he moves  towards the adult world.

Turns out, the fruit never falls far from the tree.