White roses, black ribbon and why our soft spot for Da Bears is a whole lot squishier

From Yahoo Sports – possibly the sweetest Prom story ever.  We couldn’t have come up with a better way to wrap up the season than an eighth grade Cinderella swept off her feet by a brand new Bear with a big heart.  Much respect to Mr. Thomas for being a mensch and for, as he was quoted on the decision to follow through all the details including the corsage,  “keeping it traditional.”

Bears rookie J.T. Thomas takes young lady to eighth-grade dance


J.T. Thomas(notes) was drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Bears, but the lockout leaves him without much to do right now. The athletic, hard-hitting linebacker out of West Virginia University is still in Morgantown, keeping in shape and spending time with his family.

Every day, Thomas helps his 7-year-old brother Jared get home from school. Riding the same bus as Jared is an eighth-grade girl named Joslyn Levell, who happened to grow up in Chicago as a Bears fan and now lives in Morgantown. Joslyn has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair.

With assists from the bus driver and J.T.’s stepmother, Thomas got on the bus one day to say hello to Joslyn. They hit it off immediately. From NFL.com:

As J.T. met a Bears fan in his hometown, Joslyn explained to him that she’d had a rough week because all of the boys she asked to the dance declined. Thomas melted.

“I hugged her and signed a few things and we talked for awhile and she cried a bit,” Thomas recounted. “I gave her a hug and told her everything would work itself out.”

It did. J.T. asked her to the dance himself.

“I was nervous that by the time I reached out, she might have had a date and would have to turn me down,” he said.

Joslyn gladly accepted the invitation.

“After so many people turned me down, this was so big especially, because he asked me instead of me asking him,” she said.

How’d the evening go? Check out some of Thomas’ tweets from that evening:

Can’t wait to hit the prom tonite at Suncrest Middle School

I wonder who’s gonna DJ tonite at Suncrest Middle

Why am I getting nervous for an 8th grade prom??

At Suncrest Middle 8th grade dance…it’s jumpin in here!!!

The DJ is slowin it down…couples only!!

Joslyn later said it was the best night of her life.

Thomas intends for his new friendship to continue, too. If things work out for him in Chicago, he said he’d love to bring Joslyn and his family back to Chicago to see him play for the Bears.

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My Little Etiquette Shop: Prom Posies and the Problems they Pose

It’s that time of year again, when you’ll see groups of teens looking awfully snazzy overtaking hotel ballrooms all over the country.  The occasion? You likely remember it well: Prom.  As this year’s crop of Juniors and Seniors gets ready to boogie down in their gowns and tuxes, we thought we’d tackle 2 of the etiquette questions that pop up when kids venture out into the wonderful world of social events. Have others? Send ’em in! We’ll revisit prom in a future blog post.

Succulent boutonniere suitable for wedding or prom
Boutonniere using succulent - perfect for prom or desert wedding

Q: Who orders and pays for the flowers?

A: Each date buys the others’ flowers (corsage or boutonniere as appropriate).  Mom, feel like taking over for your busy teen?  We actually recommend letting  your son or daughter handle this on their own.  It’s an important step for young people to learn how to operate in the world – making Prom arrangements with local businesses is a great start. Encourage your teen to order flowers, and to communicate with their dates to find out what they are wearing so that everything coordinates nicely.

Q:  What do I do if my date arrives and the flowers don’t match my outfit? Or are really ugly? Do I have to wear them?

A: Whatever those flowers look like, smile, say thank you, and put them on.  This is someone who you liked enough to go with to the Prom, and they are giving you a gift. Do you really want to crush them and start the evening off on a negative note?  Not good form. The exception to this rule is if you have allergies. If your corsage is going to make you sick, by all means thank your date, and explain that you’ll keep it at home to admire later due to your sensitivity to the particular bloom.

Corsages and boutonnieres have come a long way. Gone is the single rose and baby’s breath that was the mainstay of every prom and wedding in the eighties, replaced by succulents or other unexpected elements. The scratchy elastic bands have been replaced with silky ribbons and stretchy pearled bracelets.  Some girls even carry a small handheld bouquet.  Let your floral professional create a special memory for your big night.

Stay safe everyone!