It started with a red ball gown in a prom store in February. We loved it. She loved it. I was willing to overlook the price tag, but the style was discontinued and they didn’t have her size in stock. I was heartened, a simple ballgown would be easy to find. As we loaded in the car after the mall, I made the crazy suggestion that I could just make the dress for her, if she wanted.
Off to the fabric store for two patterns (wherein I “mashed together” two patterns to give her the bodice and skirt she wanted) and bought an entire bolt of taffeta and yards upon yards of tulle.
And it was a nightmare. And less than a week ago I was on my phone at 2am trying to decide if I could get a prom dress to my house by Saturday. But, I soldiered on and on riday, less than 24 hours before Prom, I sewed on the hook and eye and tacked a misbehaving part of the bodice and I’d done it.
And she was beautiful and grown up and for the first time I wasn’t sad about it. I was, and am, excited for her. When you are a parent, for many years their life is your life and yours is theirs. You expect, and receive, detailed report from teachers about what they did, what they’re learning, how they behaved and how they felt. And slowly, things change. The Princess’s life is beginning to cleave from ours. She is doing and experiencing things completely separate from Big Daddy and me.
That was hard for me, for a while. Our lives were so intertwined. My sun rose and set around her (and then her sisters). I woke when they woke and slept when they slept and cuddled when they wanted to cuddle. I cooked when they were hungry and played when they were bored. I felt unsettled when they went off for school and waited for them, like the dog, at the door. But that’s different now and her life is beginning to emerge from ours. She will always be of us, but she is becoming more herself. Our family tree is beginning to branch and she will make her own bough.
I didn’t cry at all until the end. We were leaving the Promenade and Baby Bee, who at first was laboring under the idea that the Princess was leaving home for good and had to cry about it for twenty minutes, made her way to her sister and said with all sincerity that the Princess was the prettiest girl in the room.
And, she was.