Her First Dance
One Friday night began my next phase of motherhood.
We rushed home Friday night. There was hair to curl, makeup to apply, and dress shoes to dig out of the closet. No being late, her date would be right on time and she must be ready.
This Friday night was special.
The curls were placed lovingly one by one with a hot iron into her flaxen hair. I pulled it up high on top of her head and secured it with bobby pins. Only the front was loose in tiny ringlets to match the cascading curls on top. The mascara wand pulled long virgin lashes up into dark curls framing the bluest eyes this side of the Red River. A tiny bit of blush and candy-colored pink lips and I tilted her chin up to survey my work. She looked beautiful, no longer the little girl who wanted to play Barbie and Polly Pocket and babies. Instead, before me stood a mesmerizing young woman growing up entirely too quickly for her mama to believe.
She pulled the flowing yellow dress out of the closet. The top skirt was gossamer thin and soft, and fit her figure perfectly. It swirled gently above the floor as she walked. All that was needed was an extra special touch. I pulled her great-grandmother’s pearl drop necklace from my jewelry box and fastened it — Perfect! A spritz of perfume, high-heeled Mary Janes fastened around wobbly ankles, and she was ready to go.
There was a knock at the door. Her date had arrived. She was waiting in her room to make a grand appearance.
“Let me get her,” I replied with a grin, disappearing down the hall to fetch the princess as her coach and prince were there to take her to the ball.
She walked with the grace of a woman into the living room and twirled for her date.
He smiled and I could see he had something hidden behind his back. She noticed it, too. As he lifted his arm, a beautiful corsage of tiny white rosebuds and baby’s breath appeared. It matched his boutonniere.
“For you,” he offered and leaned down to strap it on her wrist.
I snapped pictures, watching the two of them, with a little wistful sigh choked back. He looked handsome in his long coat and dark tie, his own blue eyes bright and sparkling as he twirled her once around the floor. This is how it is supposed to be, I thought to myself.
This is what I’ve always wanted for her — these moments.
“You look beautiful, Jade,” I heard him say.
“Thank you, Daddy,” she answered shyly.
He opened her door for her and she climbed up into the big truck. They waved at me and were gone, off to the crepe paper decorated gymnasium full of other young ladies and their fathers. Dad and daughter, first dances, family as it should be regardless of where we sometimes get lost. I know all too well that tomorrow it will be too late to make up for missing these moments and making memories.
Their youth and my days as a young mother will be over.
I stood there at the screen door for a few minutes after they pulled away, just remembering the years I watched Jade dance on her Daddy’s feet, the nights we tried to teach the girls this dance or that, the slumber parties where little girls with squeaky voices made up dance routines to Brittany Spears’ first hit song. I was sad to realize so much had already passed and was now just a faded memory. As a tear slipped down my cheek, I felt an arm go around my shoulders and a chin rest on the top of my head.
“Ready to go eat, Mom?”
I smiled and reached my hand up to rest on his arm, another reminder of fleeting childhood. Knowing tonight would be bittersweet, I’d promised to take my oldest out to eat and then look for a new bed that could carry him through high school and on into college.
“I guess I’m ready, son.”
And I guess I am, not just for dinner but for the inevitable first dates, first cars, first years at college, and last goodbyes to childhood.