If you read my blog called “Confessions of a No Prom Mom” around this time last year, you know I was slightly lamenting over my oldest daughter’s decision to not attend her senior prom. I know it’s their prom and not mine, but I wanted to have the experience and memory of my kids attending their senior prom just like I did. Thankfully, my youngest daughter Fahrelle, who was a junior in high school at that time, committed to attending her prom the following year. I had been waiting anxiously to have a mother-daughter prom experience. The shopping, the dress selection, hair, make up, shoes, pictures…..awww…all the makings of a perfect experience for a girly girl like me. I was finally going to get my fill! Fahrelle made good on her PROMise this past Saturday.
Although I couldn’t wait for her prom time to come, I was soon ready to see it go. In fact, I was becoming the “so over this prom thing mom”. What happened to all my prom excitement???? It dwindled in the process of planning all the details. Ironically, I enjoy planning, but this time….ehhhh not so much. The stores were overcrowded with moms and daughters just like us, going from store to store looking at limited selections or overwhelmingly large selections of prom gowns, dealing with sometimes rude (or maybe just overworked) retail assistants, standing in line waiting for a dressing room to open up, trying to find a great dress for a great price, yada, yada, yada. Then there was the online internet hunt for a dress. Wait, did I mention Fahrelle and I often clash over fashion choices? That only prolonged the process.
To my daughter’s credit, she did a lot of work for several weeks, researching online for hours to find a prom dress and then texting me photos of the dresses. She used this texting method in an effort to keep the prom dress search rolling on her own as I was consumed with travel and my son’s basketball games. I picked apart every dress she texted me, thinking “will it look the same in person as it does on the computer?”, “is the online company reputable” and the fearful thought “we gotta nail it because these dresses are non refundable”. She scrutinized the dresses I texted her as well, only her responses were very brief (just like a teenager), “mom, that’s ugly”, “uh unnnn”, and “nope”. We did this for weeks until we ultimately got burned out. Finally, we went back to the stores, and then back online again. By this time, prom day was fast approaching and I had called off her attending the prom at least once (or maybe twice). We worked through all our frustrations, got back on board, rushed to get the dress we selected (which happened to be one of the first dresses we liked on our first shopping outing. We allowed our fear of commitment and the hope that something better and less expensive would come along to keep us on the hunt.) That store could no longer order the dress, so I ordered from an online store. It was scheduled to arrive via UPS just a few days before the prom and it DID. I was praying I could get the needed alterations done in time. *Wipes sweat from brow*. There was no room for error. Everything had to work right the first time!
And then there was the very important DATE factor. With no boyfriend as the obvious choice for a prom date, the selection process for the guy to escort our daughter to the prom was just as grueling, if not more grueling, than finding the dress. Hey, not just anybody gets to take our girl out for the evening. We needed a background check, credit report, birth certificate, etc. Just kidding. Fortunately, she was pickier than we were! The prom date conversations were hilarious, as we vetted the next president of the United States, uhhh… I mean her potential prom date. Nevertheless, as the dress ordeal came together, so did the prom escort ordeal. We got a parent and daughter approved young man to share this once in a lifetime occasion with her.
Prom day had a little drama of its own. My daughter experienced chemical burns on her arms and back from the hair removal product we used on her for the first time. (NOTE to you and reminder to me: NEVER experiment with your appearance on the day of a major event). That put a kink in our schedule that adversely affected the arrival time at the hair salon, which affected our arrival time to the makeup studio. Thankfully, our hairstylist and make up artist were so accommodating. Everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING), worked out just fine!
As I sit at the finish line and reflect back on this prom process, I cannot help but think of all the things in life we get so excited about the “IDEA” of experiencing. We have some fantasy-like thoughts about what our wedding day will be like, our marriage, our dream job, buying our first home, etc. All we can see is all the good, all the joy, all the fun times that will be wrapped into that experience. We approach it with such naivety, just as I did with this prom experience. But then, once I got into the thick of things, the shopping wasn’t as effortless as I had imagined in my head, the days out scouting for the perfect dress were longer than I liked, I invested more money upfront than I originally intended, and I felt like throwing in the towel a time or two. In essence, it took COMMITMENT to walk out the prom process, and COMMITMENT usually involves you COMMITTING more along the way than you ever intended to COMMIT when you started out. Commitment costs, but commitment pays.
This past Saturday, we got to see the reward of our commitment. Our daughter was beautifully dressed for her senior prom with the perfect prom date by her side, and all the agony of the process was a thing of the past. Then God blessed us with so many beautiful surprises along the way as we walked out our commitment. We did not have to pay a dime for a few of the prom expenses we had planned to pay for. Although the process was agonizing, in the end it was all worth it! And guess what? Whatever process you are committed to will be worth it as well. That vision you had at the beginning wasn’t all wrong. There will be good. Lots of good. And truthfully, if you saw the struggle upfront, maybe you would not have committed to go throughout the process. Keep that vision, no matter how impossible it may seem to accomplish. It will propel you forward. Focusing on it will keep you standing firm when the negative distractions come that make you feel like giving up. It’s worth fighting for. The PROMise will come and it will be worth it!
I love to hear from you! Did this post encourage you at all? Have you ever seen the benefits of not quitting during the process? Do you love prom stuff like I do? Thanks in advance for taking the time to share.