Prom Night At Our Place

I am definitely not a person who is into cliques.  As a result, I’ve never been much of a joiner of clubs, groups, or anything that labels.  I even resisted junior proms and senior balls as a teen.  I don’t think at 16 I was thinking that I was being ‘true to my authentic self’; I just knew that something didn’t feel right, and prom wasn’t the place for me to be.
As a middle school teacher and survivor of the teenage years I know the damage kids can do to each other by labeling, stereotyping and making exclusive groups.  As a mom, however, I was really pleased to be nominated as the “cool” place to hang out and prepare for the junior prom.  As it turns out, kids in our town don’t need to have a date in order to go to the prom-what progress since my high school days!  As a result, I had ten sophomore girls arriving to my house in waves to primp, polish and prepare for the first big dance of their young lives.
With iPod speakers blaring the young ladies began to polish toes and fingers in anticipation of the slightly tippy, strappy sandals most would be wearing, despite the 30 degree weather outside.  It was an amazing sight to see that their texting ability wasn’t slowed down a bit by wet paint on their fingertips!
Next, the hair.  Straight locks are out this season-with coordinated teamwork worthy of a football playbook, one after the other the girls strategized the curling process to result in Taylor Swift-worthy tumbling tresses.
Then, the food.  In-n-Out was the request-what girl doesn’t need a big burger and fries before dancing the night away, right?  Washing it down with sparkling cider served in my great grandfather’s tiny crystal wine glasses surely added class to the menu!

Dresses?  Can anyone say micro-mini?  Sheesh…these girls tugged and pulled to ensure no accidental wardrobe malfunctions! Some of the dresses were very, ahem, sophisticated.

The boys arrived next.  Surprisingly there were a few ‘dates’-the sophomore boys seemed to wait until the last minute to ask the girls.  Were they building up courage, or hoping that their last minute plea would be desperately accepted?  Maybe they were just traditionalists trying to do prom the old fashioned way.  Regardless, there didn’t seem to be any problem with only four of the ten girls having escorts-aside from the fact that none of the girls really knew how to act or entertain them while they waited.  Standing awkwardly in their new suits, squeaky shoes and fresh haircuts, the boys waited patiently in the living room for the ladies, while mamawolfe acted as a human buffer between them and the hallway to the bedroom.
Finally, the photos.  With flashbulbs that would challenge any paparazzi, the girls dazzled in a variety of photo combinations.  Yes, there were the awkward groupings of those with dates, those who had been friends since elementary school, the whole group, and the shoes to show off the pedicures.
After all the memories were captured and we all piled in cars to drive to the high school, one of the girls commented, “Wow, you must feel really popular, mamawolfe, to have everyone want to hang out at your house tonight.  It’s the place to be!”
Her comment stopped me cold.  Popular? Not the word my adult brain would use.  Special?  Definitely.  Recognized?  For sure.  Thrilled?  Absolutely.
For me, this year’s prom night was so much more than all the pageantry.  Sure, watching my little girl transform into a young woman before my eyes was beautiful.  Feeling the excitement, the anticipation, and the energy was contagious.  But what prom night really taught me this year is that belonging happens in many different ways.  The girls learned that they don’t need to be joined (literally or figuratively) with a boy to have fun.  The boys realized that if they ask, they have hope.  And now I know that I don’t really need to join anything to be important in my daughter’s life – by being myself she and her friends feel comfortable. Actions speak louder than words.  My house really is the place to be.
What more could a mom ask for?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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  1. Dear Brenda, Just another commonality between mama bloggers! I like your idea about the senior ball…as long as there is food and music and interet movie connection teens can make a fun party! I agree about having the kids where I can see them-it’s good for all concerned!

  2. This post had me smiling from ear to ear – one because I am not a joiner either – at all. She writers was big step for me… You also had me here because last year I did the same thing… all the girls over and the night of the senior prom I had 10 couples come back to my house and spend the night (yes I stayed up all night and made sure there was no drinking or OTHER). 10 pizzas, three dozen donuts, bags of cookies, and anything else that was eatable, and some 15 hours later they all went home without a wink of sleep. I always prefer it when the kids are under my watchful eye.. Wonder pictures and memories you have made for both you and your girl.

  3. Oh, how fun to be the hang-out house! Sounds like you were a great mama-host! Thanks for linking up this week at the Super Sunday Stumble and for having a sumble button on your page–what a difference that makes! I’ve stumbled this post. Hope to see you next week!

  4. Hi Michael Ann-glad you liked the post. The girls all had a fabulous time!
    Thank you, Erin. I know it was a night I surely will not forget either!
    Hi Laura-I agree-not needing a boy gives them self confidence!
    Hi Terri-Yes, they do grow fast! I savor every moment.
    Hi Lisa- Aren’t girlfriends great? I always have so much fun with mine!
    Hi Amber-thanks for the great comment. I think having my kids and their friends WANT to be at our home is the best thing ever! I hope you get to experience that, too!

  5. Oh I love it! Prom was always awkward to me. I went my junior and senior year, somehow I managed to have a date, but it was one of those, “I need a date, and you’re my friend will you go with me.” So it helped take some pressure off, but in our tiny community, once you show up to a formal date with someone they all think you are dating, so then it becomes awkward.

    I love that those young women had enough confidence in themselves to be able to go to the dance without a date, and that hey could all have a wonderful time. I”m so excited for you being the “cool place” to hang out! That is how it was for my Husband and his friends…they were always at his house, as was his brother and sisters and their friends. I talked to him mom and she said, that they love having the extra kids around, but more than that, they feel wonderful that their kids are comfortable enough at home to bring their friends over, and that the kids feel comfortable enough to always go over there. Plus she said, she’d rather the kids be there where she knows what they are doing, than being off who knows where doing who knows what.

    I hope as my kids grow up, our home will be “the place to be”.

    Loved visiting!
    your VB Friend JadeLouise Designs

  6. My daughter is in 10th grade, so she won’t be attending the prom this year, but her and her friends went to the Homecoming Dance together, with no boys. I love the fact that they realize they don’t NEED a boyfriend to a school dance.

    Stopping by from VoiceBoks!

  7. Jennifer,
    I felt like I was right there with you watching those girls. What a special time you made it for those girls, a night I’m sure, they will never forget. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
    Congrats on being a Featured Member of voiceBoks too!

  8. Jennifer, you captured ALL the feelings and thoughts I have had about prom. I love how, as an adult, you gain a whole new perspective. I LOVE that these days they do not have a date to go to Prom or any of the dances. Wish it were that way back in the day!

    Your daughter looks beautiful!!!

  9. Hi Sharon~yes, it’s not like the 80s at all! Although I might rather have my girl in floor length than micro!
    Hi Anne~ 4 bcomes 14 faster than I imagined…enjoy the innocence!
    Hi Mommy LaDy~I think no dates takes a ton of pressure off, and they have way more fun!
    Hi Susan~your comment made me laugh. I think about locking her up=that’s partly why I’m called mamawolfe!
    Robin~ Glad you had sense to dump that dude! He wasn’t worthy!
    Hi Kristina! Yes, it was exciting. I love having everyone over-most of them went to my school and were my students, too!

  10. What an exciting night – for you and your daughter! It must be wonderful to know that not only your kids but their friends also feel comfortable to be themselves in your house 🙂
    Thanks for sharing,
    Kristina 🙂

  11. Sounds like fun! I have boys so I don’t get to do the dress shopping, hair styling and makeup stuff! =( As for MY prom date… we had broke up 2 weeks before but went to prom together anyway. We were miserable. We took pics , stood around rolling our eyes at each other until I told him I wasnt playing his games any longer! So he took me home. He then went out and “partied” with another girl. Oh yea THAT’s why we broke up! He was a high school cheat! Ohhhh high school drama, gotta love it! LOL

  12. How blessed and fortunate a woman would open up her home for hormonal and insecure kids to get ready for such a memorable event!
    Your daughter is gorgeous. Lock her up.
    Merry Christmas! Susan

  13. You’re daughter is absolutely gorgeous. And during my time, my friend’s and I prepared for prom in our own homes. Guess we do things differently. But I bet it was fun for you to watch the young ones get ready.

    I have about a few years til prom time.. My son’s only 4.

  14. How cool that everyone wanted to be at your house to get ready! What an honor! I went to my Junior prom with a date. He was dull, and we left after we took pictures (which was the first thing we did when we got there–granted, we had to wait in line an hour!). My Senior year I went with two other girls. It was the best time ever. We danced, laughed, and had the best of times because we didn’t have to worry about entertaining one boy and could do as we pleased!

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