Friday, July 1, 2011

And The Last Prom

Barbara: It was way sweeter than I thought. In that I expected it to be bittersweet—our last child at her prom on the threshold of leaving home for college. But it wasn’t; it was sweet sweet SWEET!

The set-up had all the requisite drama: her years at the school had been up and down, as they are for most kids. But she is MY kid and her drama was confounding at times: she was at a brilliant arts high school, renowned across the country, not just learning the fundamentals, but acting, making films (and such films), and doing photography (what photos). I’ll let you fill in the blanks, but let’s just say there was a lot of second-guessing. Not all the time, of course, but enough of it to make her wonder often and loudly if she shouldn’t just go to another school to “start over”. The inevitable teenagers go-to. The start-life crisis, as it were. But she stayed. And, boy, are we glad she did.

Compared to this, the other drama is a bit more mundane, but it speaks volumes too. Our fashion designer daughter offered to design and make her dress. This was a huge coup for all of us: Michele got to wear an original dress that included all the elements she most wanted, Stefanie had an excuse to design another dress, and we got to enjoy our daughter in all her pretty glory (she was all set to go in a suit because she looks awesome in a suit and loves to be comfortable—and we supported her decision, but were a bit disappointed, as un-hip as that is to admit.) But the construction of this dress had its own dramas: a failed attempt to change up the bodice design, a ton of hand sewing as lace appliqués were stitched to the back and upper front corners (hard to see, but they’re there), and a few discussions (arguments?) as to the best length. There was even a night when Stefanie almost gave up completely––I’m gonna say on the dress, but I think it was dramatic enough that she might have meant her whole career choice. But, again, tenacity paid off. Stefanie remains a fashion design student, the dress turned out beautifully, and Michele felt––and looked––wonderful.

So when the big night finally came, I surprised myself with my own unabashed happiness. There were no tears, no melancholy, and relatively little nostalgia. It was its own wonderful affair, from the girls getting ready at our place before, to two lovely pre-prom parties, to saying good-night as they all got on the bus that took them to the prom venue, to opening the house for many of them to come back here after the prom and finish their festivities until the sun rose and they all crashed on every soft surface of the house (okay, one unfortunate boy found himself on the hard tile floor of our basement). They were beautiful, polite, well-behaved and still had lots of celebratory fun. The next day, I made them breakfast (at lunch time) and no sooner had they finished their last bites out on our patio when the formerly clear sky opened up and rain CASCADED down. They decided this meant it was time to shower: they stood under the torrents and got washed clean.

In the end, all of us just felt … happy. It was a great end, yes, but it feels like we’re already segueing seamlessly to the new beginning.

Deb: Isn’t it wonderful when life surprises you? I am so glad for Michele and for you and Phil that it was sweet and happy and sans throat lumps. You are right. It is a taste of what is to come. And make no mistake, you will likely not say goodbye to her in the fall without tears, but those tears will dry into a new form of life for you and she. The painful wrenching away will become a series of joyful reunions and your life will just slowly and gently start to turn into something new. I love the adult children. The children we can truly be friends with and be ourselves around and confide in and converse with. I’m glad the prom didn’t sting. It was meant to be a sweeter than honey moment and luckily for you, it was.


  1. What a wounderful post. Your daughter looks So beautiful in that dress.

  2. I agree with Lyndsie. She looks beautiful and your older daughter did an amazing job making the dress.

  3. Your words, Deb, are much appreciated as I have a young'un soon to leave the nest and am thinking quite often "There go the best years of my life." I do think I may look back on them as such, but you've made me think the future may be even better ... or different, but just as sweet.

    And Barb, next it will be ... grandchildren!!!!

  4. Thanks, girls, I'll pass on the compliments. And, Kate -- not that I want them too too soon, but I am really looking forward to grandkids!!

  5. ohmahgoodness prom!!!! It's been three years since my last one, and every time I'm in town at school and prom's going on I'm eyeing and awwing every couple that I see! great post! my proms were great and i hope your daughter had fun! p.s. LOVE the dress!

  6. Holly, I think even she was surprised by how much fun she had. It's always great when that happens, isn't it?

  7. Gorgeous Michele!

    Gorgeous dress!

    And, btw, gorgeous Barbara!

    It shouldn't be too long before Stefanie puts a red dress like this in the Heart Truth fashion show!

  8. The great thing when kids leave the nest they come back wondering how their parents got so smart. I loved it. My sons were so much more aware of my gifts of love and they were thrilled that Mom had a washer and dryer in the house and that the shower had no mold in it. Oh the joys of going away and coming home. Came back with so much more respect for me. I was almost lifted to sainthood but I had to stop them just before that award.

  9. Thanks, Rigel!! And red was Michele's choice. Stefanie lobbied for cream for a while there -- which Michele entertained, but red won. And I think it deserves to have won.

    Madge, I love this take on things too -- the added bonus of respect afterward! And. lol! sainthood! I say go for it ;)

  10. I have to say, that is a gorgeous dress! Glad you all enjoyed the last prom experience!
    By the way, Happy Canada Day! :)

  11. It is great! And red is a great prom color; my sister wore it! :)

  12. What a beautiful dress! My compliments to the seamstress. I'm glad EVERYONE had such a good time.


  13. What a FABulous prom story to share. I was there and excited with you also making me rethink my own and such a great high school to offer all the art. Beautiful family, amazing dress and love love the brunch then bodily rain shower. Can't forget those killer shoes, YAY~


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