Our family relocated to New England almost three years ago. I moved here first, spending almost three months solo while Sue sold the house, the kids finished school, and I dove into a new job while looking for a place to live. We knew that moving the kids at this point was risky, but that better schools and an overall better environment was worth the trade-off. The other major driver was that my company was going under fast and, as the primary breadwinner in the house, needed to secure a job with a company that actually had a future. Taking a couple of young adults that had spent their entire formative life in one area and dropping them in a new town 500 miles to the north was going to be tough on them.

The move has been very good overall. We’ve adjusted to the extreme weather changes, the school system, and the fact that three years later, we are still the “new” family in town. At least we thought we had until this week.

Our daughter is having her Junior Prom this weekend. She is incredibly resilient when it comes to finding friends and developing bonds with those friends. She has been the primary support for a few of those new friends since she didn’t have any of the history that comes along with the majority of these kids growing up in the same small town (3 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school). Most have gone to school together for 11 years now, she joined them 9 years into that journey. As with many American towns, there is a portion of high school kids that drink and a portion that smoke weed. There are also a portion of kids that do neither – mostly because they have decided not to (not because there isn’t ample opportunity). Our kids are both in the “do neither” camp.

So with the prom comes the inevitable after prom parties. There will certainly be both booze and weed at a bunch of those, and likely a few serious automobile accidents. To help “protect” our daughter, we told her a month ago that she could hold her after prom party at our house. We would clear out the beer from the fridge and the booze from the basement bar. The kids have access to the in-ground hot tub, the TV, food, and a place to crash. Keys would be collected and they could have a great time. All in all, about 25 kids were expected to show – that is until late this week.

It seems that being the “new” family in town meant that parents didn’t know us, so were stepping in and rescinding their kids’ previous acceptance and redirecting them to different parties where they knew the kids. At least one of those parties will have booze – the kids have been told to “smuggle” it in – but that is apparently not a concern to some of these parents. You see, the parents have known each other for 11 or more years, so can overlook the transgressions of the kids because of this history. So even though the party here will be safe and the kids will have fun, the parents have determined that their kids won’t really be at risk elsewhere because of the history with the host parents – good, bad, or indifferent. At some level, it would make sense if we had the same history, but at another level, it sucks for my kid being in the house that simply doesn’t have the history here. The real rub is that the former “friend” of our daughter is really nothing but a bully, manipulating the situation so she is in control. The parents of others are completely blind to the bullying that is going on.

So we’re dealing with our child facing the reality of having a very disappointed prom evening – and leaving a bad set of memories for her only high school prom. The one thing that she has going for her is that in less than two years, she will be in college, at a campus where the playing field is level once again. While our daughter is the ultimate survivor, I wish I could wave a magic wand and make this high school crap just go away.

On a final note, my wife said yesterday that this was the first time she regretted moving north. While there would have been other issues had we stayed in Virginia, this simply wouldn’t have been one of them. We were established with a large group of friends – parents of our children’s childhood friends. Here, we’re still the new family in town, even after three years.

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