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Junior Prom: A Note to My Son

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Well, we’re here. Junior Prom. How is that even possible? And is there any chance at all of prepping the child who is currently experiencing a case of the Terrible-Seventeens? Probably not, but I did give it a go:

To my son as you head off to your first prom.

Driving yourself. In a tuxedo. With a beautiful girl.

I’m fine. Everything’s fine.

As much as I enjoy having these conversations in person, face-to-face, so we can both enjoy the teenage ooze of “get me out of here,” pen to paper seemed better as I know you have a case of the butterflies. No, I know you’ll never admit that, but as your mother, I know.

Still, asking you to sit on the couch for three minutes while I pontificate … I’ve opted to show mercy.

Junior Prom!

I’m not sure which is more crazy – that you are old enough to go to your own prom or that this will be the first of only two proms offered to you. As in … it’s already your second to last prom. Weird that a first should also come with a great feeling of finality and that more life-changing events are approaching rapidly.

I’m fine. Everything’s fine.

Take this night seriously. For you, it may not be a big deal … but much like weddings are a lifelong fulfillment of fairytale dreams for the bride … prom is a magical moment for the female set. Right now, your date is home prepping and primping and planning. She is high with anticipation, wondering just how perfect this night will be.

No, it does not matter if you are actually dating each other (or not, as a teen, you aren’t giving anything up), this night will still matter more than anything in the world to her at this moment.

Tell her she is beautiful. Open her door. Pull out her chair. Make eye contact with her from across the room with a smile that tells her she is the prettiest girl in the room. Allow her to parade you by all her friends, quietly acknowledging that the two of you are, in fact, the cutest couple of the night.

Do not be distracted by others tempted to pull your attention away from your perfect date. She chose you for this momentous benchmark – give her no reasons to second guess.


Proms are events that girls talk about well into womanhood – even me. I remember what I wore, yes, but I don’t remember where it was, what we ate, or what we did after. I do remember who I went with. Just a friend, but one who gave all of his attention to me – making me feel, for the first time, like more than just that smart girl who did flips.

I felt pretty. I felt special. I felt the room looking at me.

Proms offer entry to other benchmarks for many young ladies – a first handhold, a first slow dance, a first kiss … perhaps more. I know you are a thoughtful, kind, and caring young man.

Be respectful, be gentle, be honest. Be safe.

I cannot think of anyone more lucky than your date this evening. To have such a sweet, generous, handsome YOU on her arm will make her the envy of so many others. She really will be the luckiest young lady tonight. You are a treasure.

Apologies for the plethora of photos that I will take in a few hours. Apologies for the tears that sneak out of the corners of my eyes as I try not to see you as so very grown up. Apologies as I follow you around the house in the days to come, hoping to get a story or two while you recover, groggily, from this first milestone of a night.

Apologies. It’s just that I love you so very much and it’s a bit emotional for me to see you exploding into such a lovely young man.

Have the time of your life tonight.

I know I have as I watched you grow into the wonder that you are.

I’m fine. Everything’s fine.

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