My eldest had his Senior Prom over the past weekend. Even me, wordy-loving-you've-broken-the-word-count me, cannot tell you in words how much I love Prom time.
Sure the kids are dressed fancy and look sharp. Sure the hair looks perfect and everyone is showered and fresh looking (huge plus here, for anyone who has ever stood nearby or down wind from a sweating teenager - the fresh part of this is like a nice, fat bonus check.) But truthfully, its less about the prettiness and more about the smiles.
They (the kids) generally look so happy and good-natured at Prom time. They smile readily, they give out playful ribbings and take them back with bouts of laughter. They clean their cars (or their parent's car or their grandparent's car or some stolen car) and just put all-around preparation into the day.
And then they walk around smiling because they know they look good. They've put in the time, they've put in the work, they actually took more than 78 seconds to get dressed.
If you have a tot or a young'un (that's old person from the sticks speak for child/ren under the high school age) then mark your calendars - this is something you have to look foward to.
Prom is the Lion King Pride Rock moment for you as a parent. Even though they're usually too large by that time to hold under the arms and raise up for all to see - you get to have that without the back strain.
Also, if you have yet to foray into the teenage years you may not yet understand the current happy-go-lucky child living under your roof gets mysteriously replaced by an Ogre when they turn into teenagers.
They don't smile that much.
If they do it makes you worry. (What have you done? Did you try drugs? Are you drunk? Let me see your pupils. Did you have sex? OhmyGod you had sex. I'm going to be a Grandma. I'm too young to be a grandma!! I wear Pippi braids dammit!)
But on this day, this wonderful Prom day, they will spiff up, clean up, dress up and then promenade about for everyone to see.
And they will even smile.
And you won't even worry about it because you will be so busy smiling and snapping pictures and being chest-swelled-with-pride proud of this kid of yours that you'll just take your Pride Rock moment and go with it.
To all the parents out there who had a child celebrate Prom over the weekend, I hope today your eyes look a little more crinkly-around-the-edges because you were also smiling so much. (And I'm not just saying that because my eyes look very crinkly and I don't want to be the only haggard looking parent around.)
And to all the parent's who've yet to have a child go through and to the Prom stage - let me be the first to say it, "Your kid looks great - you should be proud."
Now take your proud moment and relish in it. Lord knows you've earned it.