Prom Chronicles

prom 3Prom talk had become a focal point of our nightly dinner conversation.   The first of Principessa’s friends to be invited to prom had no romantic story to share, but rather a comical rendition of boy meets girl.

I imagine it started weeks earlier in the mind of a boy who had never spoken to the pretty girl in class that he admired.  One day, with stomach churning, blood rushing to the face, and the room spinning, the boy popped the question, “Will you go to prom with me?”  Fear made it difficult for the boy to hold his position long enough to hear a response.  He may faint.

“Sure,” the girl answered.  “Can I have your phone number?”

The boy hardly registered the answer or the question; his ears were thumping from a pounding pulse.  The otherwise simple task of recalling his phone number proved to be too much.  The boy had exhausted himself.  Later, please.

Brave on the boy.  And on the girl.  Double brave on the girl who asked a boy and got rejected.  Prom is not for sissies.

Having survived my own proms, I enjoyed watching this one from my mother seat.  I was very practical, I thought, by not getting swept up in the nonsense.  Until the big day…

No one was more shocked than me when I welled up.  Crying isn’t my thing, especially in public.  But the sight of my first-born looking all grown up was too much for a sentimental soul.  I used to loathe the cliché ‘they grow up so fast.’  But it’s true what they say about time flying.  When you arrive at a transition point like this, your history of parenting fades so quickly, it’s as if it never happened.

I hold my hands up, one directly in front of the other, to illustrate my point to Principessa.  “It’s like the memory – no, the feeling – of holding you for the first time is here, right next to the sight of you in your prom dress.  It’s THAT close.  And THAT overwhelming.  It’s as if all those years between birth and now are condensed to mere milliseconds.

If you had asked me hours before if my daughter could matter more to me than she already does, I would have said, “No, I can’t imagine how.”  And yet, watching her walk away with a boy, she somehow mattered more.  It’s like there’s a scale from 1 to 10 and I would have sworn that she mattered to me with a 10.  But then I contemplate sending her into the world and suddenly my heart is filled with a 5000 kind of mattering.

I am in grave danger of ‘losing it’ when husband makes a joke.  I manage to pull up my big girl britches and remind myself that Prinicpessa is not gone.  She is not dying or even moving out of the house – yet.   More importantly, she is not moving out of my heart – EVER.  She has rented space in my physical world for 16 years.  But she has purchased a space in my heart for life.  In this space, she will never leave me.

This one thought gets me to midnight when Principessa returns home, sans shoes like Cinderella.  “It was like a dream,” she said.   We smiled at each other and I kissed her goodnight as I have thousands of times.  And yet, it was like kissing her for the very first time.

Happy Mother’s Day To Me

Peach,Beagle,PrincipessaDear kids,

Remember me, if you must, as the mother who bombed as the Tooth Fairy, did just okay with the Easter Bunny, and outright refused to entertain the idea of a mischievous Leprechaun.

Remember, if you must, that I ran perpetually late and occasionally showed up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Remember, if you must, that I struggled to contain my temper, cursed a little too much, and failed in the doting nursemaid realm.

But if you insist on remembering these things, remember also that I never said ‘no’ to the building of a fort, a party idea, or a wild haircut.

Remember that I encouraged you to create, even if it meant sacrificing 250 paper cups and several rolls of tape.

And know that I never lied about loving your creations – every last one- because you are a miracle to me.

You expect a lot of me, as you should; any mother worth her salt accepts this.  But she never promises to be everything to her child – only a really good someone who tried really hard.

Despite my most earnest efforts, you will complain about me to your friends, roll your eyes at me, and remind me of my mistakes in parenting.  And I will remind you that you made mistakes too.  We will laugh about it all and sit down to a game of cards, because that’s our style.

I adore you, my children, in a way that is beyond description.  I treasure what we have together.  Motherhood is the best thing I’ve ever done.  Thank you for giving me that title.

Love,

Mom

4 Things I Want My Daughter To Know About The College Search

CollegeDear Principessa,

I can tell by the glossy look in your eyes that you are lost in worry.  The prospect of college is daunting.  You wonder if you are smart enough, prepared enough, or brave enough.  You perform the tricks that your educational system demands but question its effectiveness.  You compare yourself to standards and graphs and peers and end up feeling like a bruised tomato in a tossed salad.

Take a deep breath and know that all is well. Contrary to popular sentiment, the decisions you face are not as dire as you’ve been led to believe.  It’s okay to be confused.  It’s okay if you choose a college or a career and change your mind.  That’s what growing up is all about – figuring out who you are and how you want to contribute to life.  If you’re like most people, you’ll never stop questioning yourself.  Nor should you, unless you seek complacency (SAT vocabulary word alert – learn it.)

Try to remember these things:

  1. Stay In Your Own Lane – Don’t worry about what your peers are doing. Who cares if they’ve taken more honors classes or applied to more colleges? Focus on you and the life you’re driving, lest you crash. Distracted driving in life is as dangerous as in a car.
  2. Do Your Best – This advice is often misunderstood. Your best in any given moment is not the same as your best ever. Current circumstances determine your performance. If you’re tired or stressed, your best will be different from a day when you are on top of the world. That’s just the way it is. Roll with it.
  3. Open Your Mind – Believe nothing. Question everything. Explore, discover, and reveal life as you see it. Don’t take the world’s word for it about the way things are. See things through your unique eyes. Believe that they can be different and that they aren’t always as they seem. Am I making myself clear or do I have to reference Albert Einstein?
  4. Let Your Heart Sing – Your heart has a song that was composed just for you. I know because I’ve been listening to it since before you were born. No one else can play its music – it belongs only to you and it’s always in perfect pitch. The more you tune into your heart’s song, the better the world can hear it. Go ahead, let it sing, the world has been waiting.

You asked me if I would be disappointed in you if you made certain choices about college – choices that might not be in line with my own desires.  Are you kidding?  The only thing that would disappoint me would be if you made choices based on ‘shoulds.’  It would break my heart to watch you trudge through life, defeated and demoralized, because you didn’t care about yourself enough or know yourself enough to hear your calling.

I want three things for you, my daughter: Joy, Success (by your own standards), and Love.  I want you to love your life.  I’ve wished these things for you from babyhood and promised myself that I would help you find them.

You, Dear One, are a magnificent specimen of life.  You don’t see it yet, but you will, in glimpses or grandiosity, and I will be right here cheering for you.  I will always be your biggest fan.

Love,

Mom

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