"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Monday, March 14, 2016

Dressing Up

Gillian went to her Junior Prom on Saturday. As she begrudgingly posed for the obligatory pictures before heading on her way I couldn't help but think about how quickly time passes. It wasn't too long ago that she was happily posing for pictures in her Easter finery, thrilled as only a toddler can be with her long purple dress and satin gloves. 

She still loves any excuse to get dressed up in fancy dresses. However, she no longer likes having to pose for pictures. Still, I did get her to let me snap a couple with the promise that one day she'll thank me for insisting on documenting the moment with a photograph. Despite her beautiful smile, she won't smile with her mouth open because of her braces. Some day...

She told me she didn't really care about going to Prom, but I'm glad she went. Her boyfriend is already graduated and couldn't take her because of school rules, so I didn't think she would be going. Her date, a friend since Kindergarten, unexpectedly asked her, and she said yes. I was actually quite proud at how skillfully she handled a potentially emotionally fraught situation. She treated both young men very respectfully while at the same time asserting her independence and freedom to do something she wanted to do, all while respecting both relationships that matter to her in different ways. There was zero drama, and anyone who knows teenagers knows there could have been! I know I couldn't have handled the same situation so maturely at her age. 

Here are some pictures from that day. It was was a full day of fun for the group of 24 friends that went together. During the day they all went to play paint ball, followed by group photos in their finery, dinner, the dance, and then going out for ice cream after. 
Doesn't Gillian look like a little kid in this picture?
I love the contrast of this vs. her all glammed up three hours later.
Because it's not real unless it's documented on Snapchat. 
Guess which hand is Gillian's? Yes. She's the 17-year old with the perfect manicure. 
When I asked her about it the next day she said she had fun but didn't really understand why everyone makes such a big deal out of Prom. I mentioned that not everyone lives the charmed life she does, so having the chance to get dressed up and have a fancy night out is really special to many. I laughingly reminded her that most high school juniors hadn't been to the black tie gala fundraiser for the local art center just the week before! I took her as my date that night to one of 'the events' in our town. It was a good night for us together, and a much needed one. 

Last year my talented young artist and fashionista saw the gold foil trimmed invitation to the art gala and breathlessly asked if WE would be going together to her "favorite event." Never mind that she'd never been. She absolutely COULD NOT WAIT  to attend her very first black tie art auction benefit. She planned her outfit months in advance and talked for weeks about how excited she was to go. Then crisis hit. The very day of the art auction last year we had some very serious behavior come to light and I had to make an extremely difficult parenting decision. A hard consequence was in order and I had to tell her she couldn't go with me. We both shed many tears that day. 

Thankfully, this year there were no tears, and Gilian finally got to go to the art auction. She gave her prom dress a practice run and I wore one of my favorite vintage gowns. We both love an excuse to wear a pretty dress! Like mother, like daughter. Most of all, it was a night for us to be together, a treasured opportunity that becomes increasingly rare as she gets older and is building her own life. 

Me and my girl. 


  1. I honestly don't know where the time goes. I think the love of dressing up goes back quite a few generations. I love Gillian's dress.

  2. You both look fabulous! I'm glad she was able to skillfully negotiate those dating waters. Her dress is lovely and so appropriate. I see a lot of things and wonder "what were they (or their mothers!) thinking?!" And the photo of the two of you is terrific!


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