Speaking of travel . . . my, how time flies! One day my oldest daughter is making me a macaroni necklace for Mother’s Day and the next thing I know, I’m clasping a faux-diamond necklace around her neck for the Prom. Where did the years go, besides to my hips, butt and gut?
So this past weekend, my 16-year-old daughter attended her Junior Prom. As you can imagine from the photo I posted of her dress, she looked like a princess. (Have you ever seen a more beautiful gown?!) What was so cool about this dress is that no one else had it. It was last year’s model, hanging on a sales rack, just waiting for my daughter to claim it in the one and only size that happened to be hers.
We’re talking Fate, here.
My daughter didn’t go to Prom with a boy. (And I can’t tell you what tremendous peace of mind that is going to give me nine months from now!) But instead of opting out of this age-defining event because there really wasn’t any boy she wanted to go with, she asked her best friend from Orange County. (I like that girls today can do that with complete confidence and no fear of backlash. And while I know it is a double standard, it would be really ODD if boys did the same thing, wouldn’t it?)
Tania, bless her heart, flew up here to Northern California on Friday. My teen had seen Tania two weekends ago when she flew down to SoCal to visit her dad. And she’s going to see her again this coming weekend when she visits her dad for the next round of visitation. What’s funny about our move up here to Northern California is that she sees Tania more on the weekends now than when we actually lived just a few miles from her.
Anyway, Tania stepped off the plane with a smallish suitcase, and no hangbag. “Where’s her dress?” I wondered. We learned later that she had stuffed her gorgeous, turquoise Prom gown into that little suitcase. I was concerned about the wrinkles, but Tania assured me that the wrinkles would work their way out on the hangar. (She was right!)
They woke up Saturday morning like it was their wedding day – full of excited energy for the evening to come, and talking about their hair and nail appointments they had scheduled that day.
I videotaped them getting ready, much to the annoyance of my teenager. But I assured her that someday, she would thank me. We took pictures, and then I drove them both to the dinner and dance, which was being held at their high school. A group of selfless parents had been working on this Prom for months now, and earlier that day, had transformed the gym into a scene from Arabian Nights. They had created Middle Eastern magic, and it was an incredible sight, belly dancers and all.
Instead of leaving and going home, like I normally would after dropping her off at a dance, I stayed because I had volunteered to help the caterer serve dinner to the kids. My daughter was MORTIFIED! When she found out that I was going to be at the Prom, she said, “Don’t you EVER do that again, Mom!”
I understood where she was coming from, but I was a little hurt. I mean, who wouldn’t want their mother at their Junior Prom? I think I won back a few points when I promised her that I would keep my distance and not yell, “Hi, Honey!” from across the room.
I kept my promise, but I will admit that my eyes often sought her out in the crowd while I was clearing dishes off tables. She will never know how long I stared at her from the shadows of an Arabian Night, my beautiful vision of a daughter, laughing and dancing with her friends like a fairy nymph, her gold shoes that I had spent so much time trying to find around town, kicked off and nowhere in sight.
She will never know how full my heart was that night, and how the mental picture of her so young and happy and carefree, in love with life and so grateful that her best friend from Orange County was by her side, will be a memory that I will call upon often when she leaves my home next year and heads off to college.
Yes, I crashed my daughter’s Junior Prom. But in the end, I got what I came for.