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We survive our first prom...

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I'll say it here, right out loud. I never went to my prom. Neither did my husband. We, two self-proclaimed geeks, have a social butterfly daughter. Pretty, athletic, smart and funny, this girl has always easily made friends, won sporting events, and has gone through her life embracing everyone and everything with a caring heart. There's an easy explanation for this. She's adopted. She didn't get the double geek genes from her parents. Lucky escape.


So it was some months back that she first broached the subject of prom. It was February and the love of the moment lived across the state. He was some guy she met at a track meet. Our girl is a medal-winning discus thrower, nationally ranked. She had found herself a thrower boyfriend and approached us with the the idea that she'd like to attend her school's prom with him.


Thus, we trekked on over to Portsmouth, NH to someplace called Madeline's daughter and began the search for the prom dress. She found one--cost $400. I said no. I said no, even knowing that having a dress like that hanging in your closet could boost your self-confidence for months. I said no, even when the grandma offered to buy it. I said no even when the kid offered to pay half. I just couldn't see us spending that kind of money on a dress. Not in these times. Well, not in any time, actually.


So we searched and found a pattern similar to the THE dress and I found fabric on ebay that ALMOSt matched the fabric on the dress. The waist of the store-bought dress came to a point and was lined with rows of bugle beads. The fabric was zebra striped with a lovely border of tropical flowers on the bottom.


The fabric I found was so much like the dress...except no border of tropical flowers. It had flowers randomly scattered across it, though, in colors of pink, yellow and blue. Thank goodness for ebay. I found a zebra-striped beaded bag on ebay for ten bucks. For the beaded waist, I spent many nights sewing bugle beads with alternating stripes of black satin ribbon. It looked pretty good when I got done.


We found shoes at Payless on clearance--and got them even further marked down because one of them needed some glue. Add an evening stole original price $50 from Coldwater Creek that I got for $7.99 and she had the outfit ready to go. A friend's mom did her hair. She bought a hair clip and we glued feathers to make a nice little hair decoration, and since the theme was midnight masquerade, I found myself gluing similar feathers to make a matching mask--the elegant kind on a stick for evening wear.


Even as I prepared, I worried about the whole idea of my daughter going to a prom. My neighbor had remarked the other day that it was like putting your name in a death lottery. "Someone always gets killed doing something stupid prom night, " she remarked.


Our community is already reeling from a fatal accident three weeks ago in which two 16-year-old classmates of my daughter were killed. The driver of the car is still in critical condition and doesn't know his best friends are dead. We've already been talking about driver safety, not speeding, and remembering to wear seat belts. We'd attended their funerals and I'd held my daughter's hand as she cried and promised me to never drive too fast.



But prom raises the specter of underage drinking, which usually happens at the after-prom parties. We worried about the parties Katy would decide to attend. We were concerned about the distance her boyfriend was going to have to drive.


And then.... a month ago, she broke up with the boy. She announced, "Don't bother finishing up the dress, mom. I'm not going." So I left it laying on the sewing table and didn't finish it.


But three days before prom, she told me, "I decided I want to go, Mom, can you finish the dress?" She asked a friend of hers, a boy from a track team in a neighboring town, but not a thrower, a runner. They weren't going as a romantic duo, just as friends who wanted to have fun. They each paid for their own ticket. This wasn't a real date, they insisted. (He did give her a good night kiss, though, I peeked, LOL)


So there I was, scrambling to put the finishing touches on the dress on Friday afternoon for the Saturday prom. The straps on the halter dress were not quite right and it took me four hours to get it right, then re-sew the little beads we had picked for the trim. As it was, I still needed to make little thread loops for some buttons on the back on Saturday morning.


Well, the evening long-awaited became a day long-to-be-remembered as I snapped photos of Katy and her friend--and they headed off with another couple of friends to the nursing home to see my mother before they headed to prom. The staff and residents at the home were thrilled to see them, said they looked like movie stars, and clapped as they walked down the hall to mom's room.


Katy was to be home by midnight --and even though the prom ended at 11, she and her friends had time to go to an all-night diner and have pie on the way on home and still make it here by then. They were tired and happy and her date called his mom to say he'd be home soon, which warmed my heart toward the young man considerably, I must add.


When he left, I asked Katy about the after-prom parties. "Mom, I didn't make myself available for those. You know what they do at most of them--and I know for a fact that there will be alcohol at many of them and no parents at some of them. So I didn't go. It was more fun going out for pie with my group."


She told me about the crowds of kids and how everyone was dancing with everyone else and laughing so hard. "Mom, the principal told me I looked fabulous and I danced with my science teacher Mrs. Beach. It was crazy and it was great and I'm exhausted!"


With that, she headed off to bed and was soon asleep. But I, all keyed up with the worry, and not able to calm to down, sat for a while in the living room sipping chocolate soy milk pondering how blessed I am to have a daughter home and safe after the prom--home and safe and happy.

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