Ladies, you remember back to your high school prom shopping day’s right? Remember the stress, pressure, and sometimes tears that went with finding the perfect prom dress. Maybe your mom joined you on the prom dress hunt and, pulling a frilly, apricot and lime green colored, lace embellished atrocity from the rack proclaimed “oh isn’t this pretty!” And maybe you responded with an exaggerated eye-roll and a snarky comment that loudly proclaimed (and in front of other mother-daughter shoppers) that your mother had the lamest taste EVER! Well, that hell known as prom dress shopping visited my life last week…but fortunately it turned out to be a little piece of heaven for me.
Prom dress shopping is one of those mother-daughter rites of passage that can be a wonderful bonding experience or an ‘I want to dig out my eyes and strangle you at the same time’ experience. Some mom’s have been known to come home from the prom dress shopping drama and not want just a glass of wine to calm their frazzled nerves, but an entire bottle of wine with a straw! But when it goes well, it can be the most special mother-daughter time, one that offers a preview to the ultimate mother-daughter shopping experience of all time – wedding dress shopping.
Looking back to my own prom dress shopping extravaganza I remember being a giant pill to my mother. I had a vision in my head about what the perfect dress should look like and there was no changing my mind, no compromise on my part, and the most unpleasant of all attitudes – no consideration for cost. I threw a hissy-fit in the mall when my mom suggested the dress I wanted was too expensive and maybe we should keep looking. Considering all of my drama you would think that I had picked out something suitable only for the haute couture runways…but no….I picked out this little beauty!
Yup, that’s me circa 1981 with my dapper date – whom, by the way, I bumped into four months ago at an event and nearly dropped on the spot. But I digress. The dress! The atrocious dress! What was I thinking?
Fast forward to April 2012 and find me, now the mom, in the mall with a teenage daughter. She had a fairly clear idea about what she wanted and, unlike her bratty mother, was considerate of price. She carefully, thoughtfully, and conscientiously looked through the racks and selected a couple of lovely choices. I have learned to not show too much enthusiasm towards any dress that I like because it is certainly the kiss-of-death so when she came out of the dressing room in dress #1 I stood there with eyes wide open at my beautiful daughter. She carefully considered the dress and deciding it may not be the one, asked me to go back into the store to bring her a dress we had both seen earlier and had admired. She tried it on and we both lit up! It was beautiful. It was perfect. And it was on sale!
For her there was no lace embellished, gunny-sack inspired, hoop-hiding hideousness. She had the good taste to select something timeless and classic.
As we lingered with the elegant image reflecting back at us in the mirror I realized that mother’s don’t accompany their daughter’s on this important shopping adventure simply to exhort their dress selection opinions (although that can sometimes be the case). We are there to witness the coming of age of the most important female in the world to us. Witnessing the prom dress selection process is nearly as important to us as witnessing their first baby steps. After all, in some ways it is their first steps…into adulthood. And, maybe most importantly it is a step closer to being more than just a daughter, but a friend as well.
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