a homecoming to remember

I remember a lot of things in fairly vivid detail, but recently Cort and I were trying to remember going to football games when we were in high school and there wasn’t much we remembered.

He didn’t usually go to many since our friends were all on the field and his girlfriend lived in another district. He spent time with her instead.

I went to every home game because I was in the band.  I remember marching and sitting in the bleachers until  halftime, but I can’t remember much else. I can’t remember if I changed and stayed for the game after halftime or not. I had a boyfriend who was not in band, but was two years older, so maybe my freshman and sophomore year I did? I really can’t remember.

And I remember almost nothing of homecoming. I know we had pep assemblies. I remember voting for King and Queen, but I don’t remember much from the game. As for the dance, ours was after the game in the school cafeteria and it wasn’t formal. We just showed up in our jeans and over-sized flannels and Doc Martins and pretended to know what we were doing when OPP by Naughty By Nature was played. The Homecoming court were the only ones wearing fancy clothes.

Looking back, it was all sorts of awkward.

I’ve written before about Homecoming. For a couple years, I was the adviser for Student Council. I was in charge of the pep assembly and the dance. Never again. It is so much work and it’s not my thing AT ALL.

After that I was senior class adviser for about five years. I really enjoyed that. I was in charge of the Homecoming Court/halftime of the game. I loved working with the seniors because they were so excited. That job also included planning graduation though, and I had to give up the position when I was pregnant with Charlie since my maternity leave would have me off at the end of the school year.

It’s been a huge relief to not be in charge of anything during homecoming for the past couple years; I’ve been able to attend what I want and just enjoy it.

The cheerleaders getting peppy at the pep assembly.

The cheerleaders getting peppy at the pep assembly.

This year for Homecoming, we nixed the parade and had a mini-carnival instead. I think this is the best idea we’ve had in a long time. Not only did my kids LOVE it, but so did the community.  TONS of families and kids came out…and then stayed for the game.

It was standing room only!

After the carnival and about 3 minutes of the game, Cort took Charlie home, but I stayed with Eddie until after halftime.

I knew he would have a great time, but didn’t take into account the swelling my heart would do.

{aside: seriously, I should be prepared for this by now. Whenever Eddie is involved, he sucker punches me to the heart with pride}

It all started with the carnival.

Can you find the Sluiter Kid?

Can you find the Sluiter Kid?

Eddie was so excited about the carnival! If I am honest, I thought the long lines for the games and activities would bring out a pouty face and some whining.  The boys had been up since 6:30am, after all, and Eddie had school that day too.  But my Big Guy was a great listener and waited patiently for his turn.

Two dudes eatin' wieners.

Two dudes eatin’ wieners.

After the games, we found a spot on the grass to eat our complimentary hot dog dinner. I was impressed again with how nice he sat and ate his whole dinner.  I had Charlie in the Ergo and if we weren’t walking around (ie waiting in lines) he got a little antsy, but he did a good job of eating what Cort handed to him for dinner too.

I have a Bird on my back, yo.

I have a Bird on my back, yo.

After the carnival, it was time for the football game. Cort and Charlie hung out for a little while, but since the game started at 7pm and Charlie’s bedtime is usually 7:30pm, they didn’t stay long.  Eddie was being way good though, so I stayed behind with him for the first half of the game.

He was so good. SO GOOD.

First we had to get some popcorn. He waited patiently in line and ordered our popcorns for us all by himself.

“Two popcorns, please.  Thank you.”

I smiled so big.  What a gentleman!

He was wary of all the “big kid students” who kept coming up and saying hi to us. “Them are ALL your students? That’s a LOT of students, mom.”

I think he thought every kid there was in my class. He doesn’t quite get that I have five classes, but I know a lot more kids than who are on my rosters. By the end he would hear, “HEY, MRS. SLUITER!” come from somewhere and just put his hand up to wave and yell “HI!” to no one in particular.

He adjusts to fame quickly.

Poppin' Corn, yo.

Poppin’ Corn, yo.

Armed with popcorn, Eddie really wanted to go back into the bleachers…to the TOP of the bleachers to be exact. As we made our way through the crowds, I noticed all the kids standing in their groups having drama or laughing or checking out other groups of kids.

I do remember this, I thought.

Kids there to see and be seen.  Not much has changed in the past 20 years in that respect, I guess.

It felt different to be there as a mom instead of finding my little huddle of peeps and sharing in the gossip and jokes. It’s way better as a parent.

When we got to our spots at the top of the bleachers, I fielded questions about the scoreboard, the numbers on the field, cheerleaders, and the kids behind us speaking Spanish.

“Mom. Them kids are speaking Spanish. People speak that. Did you know that?”

I had to explain to him that he shouldn’t stare because staring at them wasn’t going to make him understand them since the only words he knows are “hola” and “boca”.

“But you speak Spanish, mom. Hey. Why are their numbers on the field?”

It was like that. One subject to the next.

And it was awesome.


At halftime we watched “them pretty princess girls and boys” ride on the “fancy cars” to see who would be “picked to be famous.”

We made our way down to the fence to be in the front row.  Eddie accurately (an nonchalantly, I might add)  predicted who would get “picked” impressing all the kids around us.

He wanted to go then, so we started making our from the far side of the bleachers back to the concession area where the gate was. That’s when the band took the field.

Future Band Nerd like his mother?

Future Band Nerd like his mother?

“Mom! Stop!”

We had to stop and watch the high school band perform. Eddie was mesmerized by the drums and the marching and the flags. It made my band nerd heart so happy.

After that he announced he was tired and could we please go home.

It was after 8:30pm–and hour after bedtime–and I knew it was time.

On our way out, we were stopped a few times by students. Once we finally made it to the parking lot, Eddie took my hand–something he never does on his own–and kissed the top.

“You are my best Mommy, Mom. I love you. Thank you for having this football game and carnival at your school.”

I stopped, squatted down, kissed the top of his hand and said, “You are my best Eddie. Thank you for being you and coming with me.”

He almost fell asleep on the way home.

I might not remember much about football games and homecoming from when I was a teenager, but I will never forget the football games and homecomings from now, when I am a parent.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Eddie is such a sweetheart. I just love reading about your experiences with him, what a fine boy you’re raising there.

    Isn’t it amazing how much more meaningful it is to be doing something you did as a kid, as a parent?

  2. We don’t do homecoming. Seriously. I think US and Canada (in my neck of the woods anyways) are much different when it comes to high school sports. When we played inner city schools in Detroit, we were shocked to see the crowds.
    I think it’s awesome that you were able to sit back and enjoy it with your family.

  3. OH, the sweetness! Isn’t is fantastic when something goes so right with your kid? He’s so funny, I bet he was a great date. We’ve been seeing the middle school band march in the parking lot sometimes when we pick up the rpeschooler, so Erv has been marching so much….all over the living room, complete with pretend whistling. 🙂

  4. That last part made me tear up. What a cutie he is, inside and out. Glad you guys had so much fun. It’s so awesome to see the world through your kids’ eyes. I love nothing better.

  5. This is awesome, Katie. What a great memory for you and your boy!

  6. Such a sweetheart. I remember football games. I loved them, and I can’t wait until my kids are ready to start going to watch them. I can imagine he was in awe of everyone knowing you. I kind of feel like that when I take Cady somewhere in town. Except when it is boys. Saturday, on the soccer field, while he was supposed to be playing, “Hey Cady!” I’m not too happy with this new development.

  7. Your posts always bring tears to my eyes. You just took me to high school and back, reliving those memories and making new ones with my kids. Love this!

  8. …and he is your best Eddie.

    What a perfect memory for you.

    I LOVE this story.

  9. aww. sounds like a great night! our homecoming was Friday and I walked in our parade. I love how excited kids are about parades. 😉

  10. what an amazing time the two of you had. makes me feel all warm and gooey on the inside. I know about these moments. I really do live for them. xx

  11. So sweet – what a wonderful homecoming memory!
    I love those conversations that go from one subject to the next when there is so much fun and excitement; they are the best.