Some moments just happen to catch us off guard.
That’s what I came to realize this past weekend, as my first born was preparing for his Junior Prom.
Truth be told, as we journeyed through the motions, I actually found it both fun and exciting, as he and his girlfriend humored mom a bit and allowed her to participate in some of the shopping and small details.
Now veterans of this chapter, perhaps that is the norm. What I’ve come to learn, however, in this chapter of teen life, is that it’s fully uncharted for yours truly. While my children and I maintain a pretty close and special relationship there still happen to be moments of “mom, really?” as I allow my “momness” to be revealed.
So as Editor Marg Jackson chronicles her new chapter as Grammy, I’m still wrapping my mind around her beautiful daughter now being in the role of mommy.
I digress for a moment.
The reality is, what I came to realize Friday evening, as my guy and I traveled home from a nice dinner out was, I truly wasn’t actually prepared for this moment. Oh sure, my son’s attire was well in place and ready to go, flowers had been ordered and evening plans were well in place.
What hit me however, was after quite literally decades of watching my family and friends prepare for this moment for their kids, our moment had now come. For the better part of the past decade, for sure, I have admired all the beautiful children of my friends all dolled up and off to prom via social media and text; and here we are.
Truly taken aback by my emotion, I shared this with my guy. He being a guy, replied as simply as one would expect, “I think it’s cool babe. You know he is 17?” And while I knew he was right and had journeyed through the same chapter with his two children, it still truly surprised me … my baby was heading off to Prom.
Perhaps it’s the things which we all know will soon follow: senior year, senior photos, all the senior things and holy cow is it possible … college??
All that being said, I would be remiss if I did not equally acknowledge how thrilled I was for he and all the students of Oakdale High for not just getting to have a prom, but the ability to have one that looked “normal.” Coming out of the two years we have all weathered it was just so beautiful to not just see all the kids gussied up, but to see their beautiful smiles and faces – one hundred percent of the time.
More specifically, there’s extreme gratitude that our seniors have regained so much of what they missed for two very important years of high school. Thank goodness for being on the other side of that.
And so come Saturday, the surrealness of it all, became very real. Suddenly the children that I had watched through this chapter, including Marg’s daughter now turned mother, was now my own. As he materialized with his girlfriend dressed for the occasion, I somehow held it all together. Gratefully her mother (whom I had just met in person that night) was right at my side. So my tears of both joy and pride stayed at bay.
This was my boy and not only was he handsome, he was a gentleman and well … a man.
I’m still not truly sure how this all happens so fast. How these sweet little toddlers who once had chubby little hands they’d place into ours, transform into these young men who kiss us on the forehead as they go, but there he was.
Photos were indeed taken and pleasantries exchanged, but this was truly a memory I’ll remember forever. Just as I remember life just days before each of my children’s birth and the acknowledgment of my world changing, somehow this moment gently awakened me to what’s to come, as well as where we’ve been.
I’m not sure I’ll ever truly be prepared for these memorable moments and how I’ll react. What I do know for sure is I am incredibly grateful to have them to share with friends, family and a few of you.
This life, so fragile, yet so big and so wonderful when we take the time to not just be in it, but live in it fully.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.