I am eternally grateful that we snuck by on the cheap with the first two girls - that's the middle daughter (in the middle) wearing my early 80's disco diva dress. You can see by the expression on her face that the girl has attitude. With the third daughter, we managed to keep a firm, though somewhat weakening hold on the budget - from her first prom (less than $200 total expenditure) to her last prom, in which she went all out.
Being the baby in my own family, I remember my mother’s excuse for everything I got away with (according to my older siblings). “I’m old. I’m tired,” she said summarily dismissing the ranks. Oh, how true. It becomes so easy to choose your battles when you are road-weary from traveling that path before.
I am enjoying a window of respite from this season of high emotion and high priced necessities before my first born grandchild is ready for her first prom. I admit, I’m a little (okay a lot) excited about dress shopping when the bill is on her father.
Of course, this grandma might be tempted to fork over the extra dollars for that dress she just has to have or she knows she’ll die. Ah, the payback is rich! For now, I am thankful to sit back and observe this season of young adult passages.
Like all grandma’s who sit in their rockers thinking their thoughts, I can’t help but wonder at how things have changed.
Several years ago in the autumn of the year, a college administrator sent a memo to his staff reminding them of the things the incoming freshman had never experienced. The list became somewhat famous, and now current versions can be easily found on the internet. Here’s my spring passages version ~
The young folks shopping for proms and graduations this year have never known a world without malls and chain stores. It’s unthinkable that they might wear their sister’s or cousin’s prom dress from two years ago. And they can’t believe that dress shops never“registered” your dress so that no other girl at your school would show up in the same one.
They have no idea what polyester is or what leisure suits were and have never danced with a man in stacked heels as high as their own (thank the goddess for small favors!).
They can’t imagine being restricted to going to prom as couples only or arriving in their parent’s four door sedan. They wonder if we didn’t have limos in our days.
Their feet never danced across the floor of a crepe paper festooned gymnasium. They rent ballrooms and receptions halls and drink punch (we can only hope it is only punch) in engraved stemware.
They’re dumbfounded by the suggestion that one or two poses are enough for graduation portraits. What about the sports pose, the sexy pose and the outdoor pose? What about touch-ups to remove glare from glasses, pimples on noses and flyaway hair? What about the Photoshop special effects – black and white drama with pseudo hand tinted accents?
They expect full scale receptions for graduation parties, complete with music and dancing. If they were given a suitcase (the classic gift from my day with the hint that it was time to move on being apparent) they would expect it to be the “gift box” containing their tickets for a graduation trip to Cancun.
Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “The only constant in life is change.” Bob dylan expounded on this theory in his song The Times They Are A-Changin’. As Dylan so aptly sates, we parents and grandparents can either keep up or get out of the way:
“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
and don't criticize what you can't understand.
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.
Your old road is rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand,
for the times they are a-changin'.”
. . . . . . mid
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