For Stacey, it was a fight with her best friend.
For Christina, it was her first kiss that “almost broke” her face.
For Contessa, it was the custom prom dress that ended up way too short.
For Cathy, it was the theme – Stairway to Heaven.
For me, well, I don’t have many school dance memories. I only went to one – a junior high school Halloween party.
I dressed up as an elf. I loved the green boots my mom found for me. And I remember dancing with one boy, but I don’t remember his name or feeling anything about it.
But here’s the thing … no matter where you fall on the school dance memory spectrum – whether you went to every one or none, whether they were pure bliss or filled with dread or disappointment – you remember something about them.
They are a rite of passage that makes a mark on us, in some way. And for parents whose kids are gearing up for this season of soirées, they can bring that all back. Plus, a lot of worry.
Worry over your kids having sex before they are ready or doing drugs or drinking. Fear that they won’t have a good time or, God forbid, they have a Carrie-like hazing. Concern about the plain ol’ to and fro of it all. Who’s driving? Where will you be? What time will you get home?
The key to battle all of this parental panic is right here. This month’s cover story is a comprehensive guide to navigating school dances for a variety of ages, not just prom. From tips to trends, we’ve got answers.
One thing that we can’t help you with, though, is the fact that prom in particular isn’t just a rite of passage for kids – it’s one for parents too.
Maybe it’s seeing them all dressed up looking older than they are, more worldly. Maybe it’s the extra-long leash we give them, letting them stay out later (or even all night), letting them make their own plans. Maybe it’s seeing them with their prom dates, a foreshadowing of them finding a mate and starting a life of their own. Maybe it’s all of these things.
But it can hit you in the gut – this realization that your child is practically an adult. And you’ll have a whole other set of memories come rushing back – not of kisses and corsages from your school dance history but of the kisses and cuddles from your little boy or girl who is almost grown up.
It’s bittersweet, so one extra tip: Keep tissues nearby.