My friends with older daughters told me this day would come. I blissfully ignored them. I pretended it might not happen to me. I actually avoided the conversations whenever possible. When it comes to parenthood, denial is sometimes necessary. It’s better self medication than vodka or Cymbalta. Not that there’s anything wrong with Cymbalta. It’s just that Lawsie Mercy; I seem to be the only female between the ages of 35 and 50 in a sixty miles radius that DOESN’T take an anti-depressant, so I’m thinking they could be a little overused. Just a personal observation. Anyway. My friends all said, just wait until your daughter is old enough for prom. Then you’ll really go into debt. I laughed. Foolishly, I laughed. Until a week ago.
Teen Angel is going to prom this year, and we talked about a month ago about dresses and price limits. I told her I would pay no more than $200 for a dress. Anything above that was up to her to figure out how to pay for. She agreed. I smugly praised myself for that bit of parental warfare. And I swore I could hear my mother giggling thirty miles away.
Flash forward to last weekend, when Teen Angel and her BFF went dress shopping. I warned her not to commit to anything until I saw it. I have to do the IYACP review and the TSBNEC check. (Is Your Arse Covered Up and There Shall Be No Extreme Cleavage) About two hours into their shopping adventure she called me, exclaiming she had found THE dress.
“Are you sure,” I asked.
“Yes. Positive,” she said. She also quickly added, “Now, it’s strapless but don’t judge ‘til you see it ‘cause it’s not that low.”
“How much,” I asked.
“It’s beautiful, mom. It’s the one.”
“That’s WAY more than $200.”
“You HAVE to see it.”
And my stomach churned. And so, despite my raging sinus infection and my desire for a nap before we dragged Mama J. and Papa T. to Cracker Barrel, I hauled my butt into the van and drove across town to see the dress. The whole way out there, I thought of arguments against this dress. I was armed with all kinds of reasons, mostly price, when I walked in the door. I kept pushing away those memories of a certain blue and lace dress that captured my heart in the spring of 1982. “Be strong, Hula,” I kept telling myself. “Flex that parental muscle. You do it all the time. You’re the no-meister in this family. Just say no and be done with it.”
And I rounded the corner, and there she was, dressed in the gown, standing on the podium in front of mirrors, looking radiant. She was beautiful. She looked like a princess. “Snap, I’m buying a dress,” I said. She was right. It was THE dress. I reserved much comment while I looked it over and checked the fit. (Pardon the quality of the phone pictures.)
All it needed was a tuck here or there to contain the cleavage and a hem. We discussed the portion she would need to pay and the amount I would allow her grandmother to chip in. (I wasn’t the only phone call she made.) And I said yes. And I heard my mother giggle thirty miles away.
But the shoes and the hair and the accessories are all on Teen Angel’s dime. Definitely. No doubt about it. I mean it. Hush up, mother.