Last night, my 18-year-old daughter walked into my room wearing a backless, red velvet evening gown. She stood in front of the cherry wood swivel mirror, admiring and critiquing the color and style, idly tugging at the material in an attempt to make it fit better. She walked back and forth, twirled, stood with her back to the mirror, and asked what I thought.
What I thought was, “Oh my God, she’s a woman.”
Of course I already knew this, but this was one of those pivotal moments where it hit me with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
One of the things I’ve recognized about being a parent is that you see the passage of time through your children. As Reb Tevye sings in Fiddler on the Roof, “I don’t remember growing older, when did they?”
The thing that made this moment even more powerful was the fact that the dress she wore belongs to me. There she was, beautiful, with curves and everything, wearing one of the sexiest gowns I own.
Isn’t having a grown-up daughter something that only happens to other people?
Many of my recent posts have been related to feelings of sadness and transition, in part because my children are now young adults and my role as Mom has all but disappeared. But with every hurdle cleared, I’m closer to letting go, and more proud than nostalgic. I’m seeing clearly how well I’ve done as a parent, because the reality is, I’ve raised two exceptional human beings.
And perhaps as importantly, I appreciate the freedom that accompanies having children who cook their own food, do their own homework, and drive themselves to school.
Actually, on most days, life’s pretty bitchin’.
So, this Saturday night, my daughter will attend her Senior Prom, wearing my velvet dress, inking a significant page in her personal history.
As I watched her glide around the room, marveling at her youthful beauty, I envisioned the day when she’ll longingly think back on this prom weekend as she watches her daughter model her sexiest gown.
Even though that day will be years from now, it’ll be here as fast as you can sing Sunrise, Sunset.