I've had several calls this week asking how things went this past weekend. I had to stop and think about what I was being asked and, not having an answer, I was questioned further, "You know...the Prom??" Oh, yes. The Prom. I have to admit, I should not have had to struggle for the answer. As much as this was an evening and weekend for our children, it was something I won't soon forget either. It started about a 1 1/2 months ago when I was away at our National Sales Meeting. I had just gone back to my room to freshen up before dinner when the phone rang. It was my daughter who was shopping with her best friend. "Hi Dad," she started, "I just found the best dress for Prom." There might be a father somewhere that was unclear about where this was headed, but I was all over it. I was just about to ask the most important question, when she continued, "Yeah, and it's long and white but has all these cool colors, they're pastels by the way, and it's kind of strapless but not really because it has," she was saying until I interrupted.
"Britt, send me a picture." She assumed, rightly so, at this point that she had me in 'daddy' mode. She sent the picture and the dress was very pretty. I'm her father. It was pretty. Period. I know females could give a far better description, however I saw it as a pretty dress that she wanted for her prom. I then asked the price, proceeded to drop the phone, regained my composure, and told her what other fathers did - "How do I pay for it? I'm in Florida." She assured me the lady would take a credit card over the phone (shocking, huh?) and handed the phone to the owner who promptly took my information. Problem #1 solved. I then listened, over the following weeks, how plans were being made for their weekend. I knew the girls that would be going - Britt's closest friends - and did background checks on the boys. Okay, not really...but you'd all understand if I had.
I arrived in town the evening before prom and spent sometime with Britt and Mack, her recent 'bestie'. We decided we'd see each toher the following day before they began THE preparations. Again, being a father, I could only imagine. I wasn't disappointed. it was actually very sweet of them to allow me to tag along as they did. First, Britt called early on Saturday morning and asked if I wanted to go to breakfast with them. I met them 30 minutes later at the Silver Diner and they proceeded to lay out their entire game plan for the evening. I think that was when the flashbacks began. Watching them, listening to them took me back 35 years in an instant. I had to laugh as I remembered this very evening so many years ago. I pushed the memories aside, though, to be firmly aware of their grasp of the event. After breakfast, it was time for makeup. Okay, that wasn't part of our pre-prom ritual, but I'm sure the ladies remember. The girls let me follow along to the mall where the Clinique Crew applied their wares. That's just baout the time dad headed for Starbucks and promised to see them for pictures. I left as the girls, dressed in sweats with their hair pulled up, began the process.
Fast forward about 5 hours. I arrived at the home where everyone would meet for pictures just as the other parents arrived. There were far more of us with cameras in hand than there were those deressed in gowns and tuxedos. We parents are a funny bunch like that, though, aren't we? I walked in the house to find my daughter so I could get a photo or two of her alone. I was......I cannot think of the proper words. Proud? Amazed? Taken aback? All of these things, I think. My little girl, suddenly, was not. This was not the cute little thing that used to sleep on my chest, nor was it the girl that ran outside with her hair frazzled and matted to her forehead in the summer. No, this was someone else. Someone all grown up and beautiful. Her makeup, so eloquently screwed up by the lady at the Clinique counter, had been reapplied by Brittany...and she did a stellar job. her hair was curled and twisted and up on her head and simply...perfect. We took pictures of the four couples inside, outside, near a fence, under an umbrella, pinning their flowers....all of it. 122 pictures in all. I wanted more. I remembered so many years ago when we had our pictures taken, went to dinner with our dates, then partied the night away after at someone's home. 35 years later, the tradition continues...though father's are more apt to bring firearms along to these sessions now. I will say this about the ladies with whom I went to school - they were beautiful girls that have gotten more beautiful with time. That's because we've gotten to know them more personally. The girls today, however, are NOT the girls we went to school with....which, again, explains our brandishing firearms to keep these young men in line. Yes, that is a joke, but only slightly. The good news is, everyone had a great time and they allowed us, as our parents did a generation ago, to take the walk down memory lane. The most special part of the day for me was when the kids were leaving for dinner. Brittany, without being asked or prodded, turned to her best friend Mack and said (as she took my camera bag from my hands), "Here hold this and hold my jacket. Now, take a picture of me and my dad as we walk toward the cars." With that, she stuck her arm through mine and leanded into me a bit as we walked away. Not sure she'll ever know how much that meant to me...or how much I was wishing, at that very moment, that her sweaty hair had been plastered to her forehead and she was six again. I love you, Britt...and I'm glad you had a great time.
Until next time..................