Last night my step-daughter and oldest daughter went to their prom.
There were the usual concerns in the breathless anticipatory hours: dress, shoes, hair, make-up. The day before, my daughter decided her original dress revealed too much, and texted me to ask if she could exchange it. Text is the medium of communication of choice these days, I’ve found, and become adept at it myself, for that reason.
“Course,” I texted back. “B comfortable n happy!”
So she found another one, at a different store: the perfect pink concoction. And last night a bunch of parents were invited to a pre-prom soiree hosted graciously by the parents of a young woman in a delicious gold-print gown.
Present was a group of about 12 kids, young adults, who stood with splendid, nervous grace while an assemblage of parents snapped thousands of pictures. With my usual thought to backups and redundant systems, I brought two cameras, in case a battery died. (One did!) We parents were in a poignant, jovial mood and joked with the kids about the Hollywood red carpet.
It wasn’t just my daughter’s sudden and shocking maturity that caused a lump in my throat. These are great kids, some of whom I’ve known since they were 4 years old. I remember one young man as a skinny little boy in leggings. Another young woman climbed the monkey bars in the park while her mother read the newspaper and I chased my oldest daughter, who was 6. Now they are all going to college in two months. They stood before us in their finery, which made them look even older than 17 and 18. Where did the time go?
And how does it redefine parents when their children leave?