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Fifth grade formal, 2 new dresses, and a twinge of jealousy


My big girl graduates fifth grade this year. My kid is smart and part of me knew she would graduate, no problem. With all the drama this year, for a brief moment, I was a little concerned.

Yet we made it. Jo made it.

So part of being a Big Bad Fifth grader, other than a new-found pre-teen attitude and smelly armpits, the kids get some serious Love Dumping throughout the year.

The senior trip to Club Getaway, the Trout Release in a chartered bus, Graduation Ceremony in a rented auditorium, class shirts and yearbooks, and a senior formal.

My daughter, the tomboy of all tomboys (*sniffle* just like her mama) announces to me she needs a new dress for Graduation and a dress for the Senior Formal.

After picking myself up off the floor from the shock of my daughter wanting a dress, some small part of me squealed with delight and some slughtly less smaller part of me groaned. I was happy she wanted to actually look like a female for these events. But I groaned becuase I personally detest clothing shopping (I know!) and even more so dress shopping. Yet here we are, facing down the challenge of finding not one but two! Count them- two!- new dresses.

Now, among other things, a daily argument is how Jo manages her hair. She has amazing thick wavey-curly blonde hair. We are attempting to grow it out but it is turning into a slow and painful process. It always looks like a big blonde bush sprouted and flopped over to cover the top half of her face. How she can see anything is totally beyond me.

I see my oppurtunity. I strike.

“Sure baby. We can get you a new outfit or a dress. However the deal is you let me pin your hair so you really look amazing.”

She agreed. Begrudgingly. But she agreed.


Her auntie offered to buy Jo a dress for the senior formal so I would only need to buy one for the Graduation. Within about an hour, the two sat, thick as thieves, and ordered an adorable tunic-style dress with red and blue designs. It looked almost Native American or Latin American. I never saw that coming. She was enamored, though so I was happy for her.

We visited the local secondhand shop and found a peach prom dress right in my budget. It was unique enough that she definitely didn’t need to worry if any of the other girls would have it too and it looked stunning. I nearly died when I saw it had a slit in the back nearly to her bum but I let it go and comforted myself with the fact that her purple graduation gown would cover it. And, call it bragging if you must, but I spent less on that formal gown than her Auntie spent on her tunic dress. Yeah, I got it like that.

Graduation Day came and Jo donned her peach gown. She grumbled the entire time I put her hair up but she looked stunning. I was so proud of her and my heart broke at how grown up my little girl was looking. (It’s a mom thing.)

The following week, it was time for the Senior Formal. Once again she pulled on her dress and complained while I rolled her hair. Once again, I could not believe this was the same little premie I had brought home all those years ago. It hurts your brain, it really does!

So off she went. The belle of the ball and Chris and I ambled home.

The next morning I saw I had missed some messages from her Auntie. Jo went with her uncle and cousin to a fancy (fah-ncy!) restaurant for dinner after the dance and had gone for a walk in the rain. She declared she was the luckiest and the happiest gitl alive and that it was the happiest day of her life.

I almost cried.

Yes I was so thrilled she had been able to go and have a dream night like nothing she had had before. A year ago, that wouldn’t have been possible. And I did concede that fact when her Auntie reminded me how much my hand was in her having that night was just as much theirs.

But I admit it. i was jealous. I had wanted to be there. To be the one to give her the best night of her life. Instead they were.

But at the end of the day, my baby girl was happy.

And that was more important.

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