May 13, 2015
Prom Dresses are Over.
I had a little life realization last week. At a consignment store in town. I was dropping off some clothes, and decided to take a moment to browse. Everett was happily gnawing on a pacifier, all strapped onto me in the Ergo, like my bitty baby kangaroo, and I decided, "why not just flip through the spring clothes?" Because, well, when do I ever go to clothing stores these days? I'll answer that for you. NEVER.
So there I was, flipping through garments, touching all the gently used fabrics and imagining their previous life before they found their way here... then something caught my eye. Across the room. Something glinting in the sunlight that streamed through the dusty windowpane. Prom dresses. Kind of loud ones. I walked toward the section and just took a moment. Took it all in.
Oh, the ridiculously saturated colors, all primary shades of pinks, blues and purples. The sequins and glitter and taffeta and insane cut-outs (is it just me, or are prom dresses much skankier these days? It's probably just me. I've probably become a total prude. Alright alright. I was always a total prude.) But it hit me in that moment, staring at the gowns.
I'm a mom now. I don't go to the prom anymore.
It doesn't occur to you the day you buy your last prom dress that it's the day you buy your last prom dress.
When I was in high school and college, there seemed to always be some formal event on the horizon, a reason to keep an eye on the prom dress section of the store. Homecoming, winter formal, prom, graduation, etc. And just a few years ago, I was the wife of a business school student, and again, there seemed to always be a reason to be dress shopping. Dinners, cocktail parties, formal celebrations - I often found myself trading dresses with friends, pulling out old prom and homecoming dresses, and shopping the outlets around prom season. It's been a lot of years of "prom dress shopping". And standing here, in the middle of this dusty consignment store, I was suddenly aware that those days were over. I wouldn't prom dress shop again unless it was going to be with my daughter. Gulp. If I ever have a daughter. Okay lets just be real. IF I EVER GIVE BIRTH AGAIN.
You see what I mean. It was kind of a moment.
Everett just kept gnawing on his pacifier. Chewing. He chewed on my face a bit too. He's seriously teething.
Some things in life are stark and weird and silly, all at once. It might seem insane to some of you that I found this particular moment impacting. But I did. Because my role in life has transitioned and I'm not just a teenage dreamer anymore. And I'm not just a single lady anymore. And I'm not even just a married chick who is fun and fancy free. I'm some combination of the old me, fused with being a wife and the newest element of being a mother, and it takes a minute to get the hang of it. It takes a minute to embrace the new while still clinging on to the best parts of the "old" me. But the very craziest part of this whole scenario is that I still feel like a teenager in my head and in my heart. I SWEAR I'M EIGHTEEN IN MY HEAD. Eighteen, excited about the future, sort of nervous about what is to come, armed with that heady rush of "anything is possible!" I am still that teenaged girl, shopping for my "dream prom dress"... aren't I?
The reality is no. I'm literally (and physically, geez) beyond that season. Not only am I past prom dress shopping, but I bought my wedding dress 8 years ago and it hasn't come out to play since it's inaugural wear. I am not eighteen. I'm not. But I am not over.
I have entered the mom phase of my life. And this phase is here to stay. I will never un-become a mother. But that doesn't mean that I've lost my flavor, my lust for life, my relevancy and my right to party. Prom dresses might be over for me. But the eighteen year old that knew how to get down? I like to think she's still somewhere inside, two-stepping or foxtrotting or Irish dancing to the beat of her own drum. But perhaps in slightly more comfortable shoes.