King of the Freshman

The photo that launched a thousand laughs, but also launched an individual.
The photo that launched a thousand laughs, but also launched an individual.

Individuality is a big deal.

Individuality plus confidence is fantastic.

Individuality plus confidence plus the fantastic styling sense of a thirteen year old kid on homecoming court?

Well, that’s what this story is about.

I’ve seen many a photo of my husband in his homecoming court tuxedo. He’s standing with his brother Buck and his neighbor (who came over to see what all the hub bub was about because two teenage boys were dressed in tuxedo’s) in front of the fireplace in their childhood home.

My husband is beaming with pride.

That evening he would be presented as King of the Freshman court alongside his Queen and two other representatives from each class.

Eight total.

Kings and Queens voted on by their class body.

The most wonderful thing about a thirteen year old King of the Freshman Court is that he hasn’t completely lost his individuality. He hasn’t had his confidence smudged off by harsh words just yet. When his mother gently suggests that he go with a classic black tuxedo, yet loves him enough to let him make his own decision about what to wear (he was adamant), you get something magical.

The magic that is a six-foot three-inch, 170 lb., bleached out water polo haired thirteen year-old in a light grey, double-breasted tuxedo with tails and a black tie and cumber bun standing in every single picture with the most confidence you have ever seen on a thirteen year old.


He is smiling the biggest smile in that picture and hasn’t a care in the world.

Well, that is until he sees the picture.

The picture of every guy, every guy, in the official homecoming court photo wearing a classic black tuxedo. Only then did he think “Oh. maybe I should have gone with the black one.”

See, I’ve known that story for as long as I’ve known my husband. We all get a good chuckle out of that picture, but tonight when my son declared that he wanted to dress like a certain character from one of his cartoon shows, I was hesitant.

I know enough to allow him to express his individuality but as I cut up one of his t-shirts to make a vest and waited the couple of minutes it took for him to check himself in the mirror, my husband reminded me of something very important.

He said “I love that he has confidence. It’s just like my light grey tux. I knew everyone else was going to be wearing black and even though my mom suggested I wear the same, I wanted to be an individual. I didn’t want to be like everyone else.”

So, I continued to cut the shirt and help my handsome little kid style himself for his day at school. In my heart I know it is the right thing to do, to allow him to be an individual. To be himself.

And I am so proud. Like, so proud it hurts.

So ridiculously proud of his confidence.

So ridiculously proud that he knows who he is.

So ridiculously proud to be his mommy.

So ridiculously honored that God chose me to raise him.

But somewhere in all that pride, I am also scared that he’ll get hurt or feel the sting of someone’s harsh words.

That he will recoil and hang his head in shame.

And I am sure that day will come, but I doubt it will be tomorrow.

Thank goodness for that.

(Sidenote: And then when the movie Dumb and Dumber came out he thought to himself “Ooooh. yeah. wow.” The tuxedo scene – the one where they are trying on tuxedo’s and the guy keeps suggesting “other” tuxedo’s –  will always hold a fond spot in our hearts. It’s like they knew…and fine, he went with his friend Ryan Hahn and they went in a limo and they both ditched their dates. Freshman.)



Published by pytallman

Wife, mother, Christ follower.

2 thoughts on “King of the Freshman

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