All eleven of us were sitting around the dinner table last week when it dawned on me--it's that time of year again.
"Ben, isn't Prom coming up soon?"
"Saturday night," he said, gulping down another bite of Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Noodle Bake. (Love that stuff.)
"Aren't you going?" asked Captain Fun. Not a surprising question coming from the Captain.
"Wasn't planning on it."
The Fun in Captain Fun took over. "You should go, Ben. It is your Senior Prom."
"You're going to regret it," I said. "I didn't go to my prom, and I regret it." I know about these things, even though my nickname lacks the word fun.
Ben explained himself. "I wasn't even going to mention it after the car and the choir trip expenses."
Ben put a ping in the 12 passenger van a few weeks ago. Okay, a little more than a ping. Call it a mega-ping to the tune of $2000.
"I want to buy you a ticket, Ben," insisted the Captain. The conversation lingered over dinner; the other siblings chimed--or clamored-- in (the Sims kids have been known to raise their hands at the dinner when deemed necessary).
Mom Dot chimed in, too. "I just want to see you in that tux with that high voltage smile of yours."
The Captain talked him into it. I wrote the check, but Ben left it sitting on the counter the next day. Time was short, but he vowed he would buy one.
That night while we were in the throws of March Madness, the doorbell rang. No one was there. I confess I blamed Silas. One of his pranks, I thought. (Sorry, Silas.)
Then Dorothy noticed something. An envelope. Taped to the door. With BEN SIMS written on it.
Ben wasn't home. We oohed and ahhed. Mom Dot held it up to the light, then shook it and said steam might do the trick. She then suggested opening it in a way that looked like an accident.
When Ben got home from work the kids mobbed him, smashing the envelope into his hand.
He opened it with an audience--there's always an audience at our house. $200 tumbled out. Ben read the anonymous note:
Your love of God and people is refreshing in this day and age. It has come to our attention that you may not be attending your prom. Please use this money for Prom (or however else you may seem fit).
Ben was touched. And I don't think he would mind my telling that he even got a little teary.
"What a witness you are, Ben," I said.
But there was even more to it than that, and I knew it. This, like so many other things that have happened during his final year of high school, was an answer to a mother's prayer.
I know you moms understand the sort of prayer I'm talking about. The kind of prayer that you pray when friendships are slow to form, when not everyone is nice, when things get hard. When your kid goes to three different high schools in four years, you worry a little. And you pray a lot.
So I started praying somewhere along the middle of his junior year. Lord, please take care of Ben. Give him a fun senior year. He is such a people person, Lord, just send him some fun.
Then last September he got voted onto the homecoming court (but that's a blog for another day). And this spring he was voted Most Outgoing of the senior class. Then someone anonymously paid his way to Prom and wrote him a note he will never forget. What's more, he got voted Prom King.
"Be anxious for nothing," Philippians 4:6 tells us, "but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Pray for, with, and about your kids. When they are little, when they are teenagers, when they are grown. Pray about the big things. Pray about the little things. Pray about everything. That's what it says. Everything.
Even the Prom.