To everyone else, it's just a very lovely capture of another milestone reached in the life of a teen. To me? It is one more bittersweet reminder of just how quickly the years have gone by or how they're sort of speeding up and beginning to make me feel a little like throwing up, even.
Long story, short: I've been working a lot of hours, lately. Like, if I'm not sleeping...then I'm pretty much working...and the kids have been awesome about helping out...I mean...as much as can be expected, their being kids and all.
Which means there's a lot of debating on whose turn it is to: change the dishwasher, feed the animals, switch the laundry, walk the dog, take out the garbage, mow the lawn, and forget to take something out of the freezer for dinner.
Okay, that last one was probably me, but one of the really GREAT things about raising teens is when THEY start remembering things for you.
"I'm taking Heather to get shoes for the prom, after I pick her up from work."
Then they get old enough to drive and can take their siblings to work and stuff -- that's just all sorts of awesome, right there.
"Don't forget, I get out at 12:55 today, so we could get my hair and makeup done!"
Even longer story, short: seniors are let out early on prom day, which is also all sorts of awesome, except the buses still run on a regular schedule, so I glanced down at the timestamp on the spreadsheet I happened to be working on and...DAMMIT...but spreadsheets can be evil little time suckers.
"I'm leaving now!"
My oldest daughter was working (because, you know, eventually I'm going to need to allow her to have a life, too) so I was left in charge of picking up my middle girl.
"Mom, you'll never make it."
Here's the thing. My middle girl does not drive. The vocational school she attends is 30 miles away and it does not have a driver's ed class, but since she was hoping to go to a city college, she was perfectly okay with putting off getting her driver's license for a while.
"We'll get there in time, don't worry."
20 minutes later (give or take a minute, or another 20) I pulled up to the school, she got into the car and then 3 weeks worth of stress (both hers and mine) boiled over, words were exchanged and, well, it wasn't pretty.
30 minutes later, we walked into the hair salon all puffy-eyed and emotionally spent.
To her, the last 3 weeks, of what should have been an exciting time of announcing college decisions and preparing for her senior prom, have become nothing more than 21 days, 504 hours, and 30,240 minutes of disappointment.
To me? It was yet another reminder of just how far I have come to feeling like an absolute failure at all the things...especially, not knowing how to make my kids happy...anymore.
"Mom, she forgot her eyelashes."
I watched my daughter's eyes move from her reflection in the mirror to mine, as our hairdresser asked the make-up girl to take me to the beauty supply store, a few doors down.
My hairdresser is also a very good friend of mine and she has a teen, enough said.
"I picked these, they sort of flare out like wings, I thought these would look cool."
My daughter nodded her head.
"Yeah, I like those."
We both stared at the fake eyelashes for a few more seconds, before our eyes met and we smiled at each other, at the same time...even.
My oldest daughter got there soon after that and we both sat there together for the next 90 minutes, while folks continued to fuss over her sister, both of us content with watching her enjoy each and every minute of it.
And then it hit me, as these sort of parenting-type things often do, like a brick upside the forehead.
"Why don't you go home with your sister, while I settle up the bill."
Parenting teens is sort of like being strapped into a roller coaster...all day...every day...and whose success SHOULD be measured simply by our ability to walk away without a) throwing up and with b) all your body parts still attached.
"Nah, I'll just wait and ride home with you...Momma."
Then again, we could all just throw our hands up in the air and screeeeeeaaaaaaammmmm...allllllllllllllll...the...frig...waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay...dowwwwwwwwwwwn.
Happy prom day, Heather. I love you. I'm glad it turned out to be a good day, after all.
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