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Update: Send me your prom pix! Click here to submit a picture.  Be sure to include some details or a back story.  I’ll post them along with my old prom pictures that will likely give you a good laugh!!!


“Which one is your child?”

It was an innocent question posed by a 15 year old.  Her sister just boarded a limo along with my nephew and 14 others.  They were headed to the junior prom.  I was in my sister-in-law’s kitchen with several other parents and younger siblings like this astute 15 year old and my niece.  We were all distracting ourselves with food and beverages.

“Which one is your child,” is a fair question.  (Though, it is frightening.  It means I could have a 15, even a 17 year old!)  But why else would I be here?

The truth is I adore my niece and nephew. I came into their lives when they were four and six.  They’re from my husband’s side of the family.  But they’ve been generous enough to make me their aunt for almost nine years.  And today, it was my 17 year old nephew’s junior prom.  I wanted to be part of the crew of parents, grandparents, and godparents who sent him off to the prom.  I wanted to gush with pride at his rise to semi-adulthood.  I’ve long fashioned myself the “cool aunt,” so it shouldn’t be problematic.  But this weekend, without notice, the title was gone.

It started a couple of years ago when my nephew no longer wanted to hang out with his sister and me.  It was sealed when, as he and his date approached, upon seeing my camera, the once jovial look in his eyes was replaced by horror.  I know I didn’t help matters, when in true “me” fashion, I carried on, relentlessly probing him with questions and capturing every move of his momentous day with my camera.

While I felt slighted, I was undeterred.  I snapped away, taking pictures of the scene, the chaos of parents and prom-attending teenagers, the awkwardness of new shoes and clothes, and what looked to be the teenagers’ quiet uneasiness as they were elevated into a new station in life.  They were this much closer to adulthood, freedom.  I imagine it would be an awesome feeling were it not for the uncomfortable shoes and the scratchiness of tuxedoes and gowns.

Prom Circa 1993

Prom, it’s like spring, it rejuvenating.  You see hope and promise in youth.  You imagine uninhibited joy.  You envision the future.

“None of them.  We don’t have children.  I’m LJ and E’s aunt.”  I won’t lie.  I was brimming with pride.  I’m a minor player in their lives but I got to see one of them off on a memorable day in his life.  My “cool aunt” status might have diminished for my nephew but I’m hoping I can still keep the title for a few more years in my niece’s eyes.

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16 Responses to “prom”

  1. Beth Romanelli-Hapanowicz says:

    You will always be their “cool aunt”! And you are a major player in their lives, they love you and Joe very much. Thank you for coming to town for LJ’s prom, for taking the photos and for creating the video! But most of all thank you for loving my kids and for being a wonderful role model!

  2. Maria Palumbo says:

    Wonderful job as always Susan!

  3. becky says:

    What, you post that picture with no comment about the red and gold dress?! My hair was so bad that night — eesh. Gotta love Carrie’s gloves though…

    • suetran says:

      i know… it’s bad right. i was originally gonna write about my horrid prom dress and compare it to the more stylish ones kids are wearing today… but it was too depressing! just for the record, i totally think red satin and gold lame were in – in the late 90’s!!!!

      • carrie says:

        I don’t think red and gold were in…. definitely a susan thing. Gloves were not in either, I guess a Carrie thing. I don’t have another picture other than the one you posted. Except one with dates, and do we really want to go there.

  4. Mark Hapanowicz (COOL DAD) says:

    After watching that wonderful video of a day these young ladies and gentlemen will never forget, I get the feeling you will be the coolest aunt for a lifetime. Not too many people can look back 10 years from now and watch a video documenting a wonderful experience as the day of their prom. The behind the scenes videos are fantastic. Great job!!!

    • suetran says:

      aw shucks! i’m glad i didn’t listen to your repeated request to turn off my camera!!! 😉 thanks for including me in the festivities! it was a ‘memorable’ night!

  5. naomi says:

    Ahhh— that was so sweet!
    But the best part has to be your red and gold dress- don’t worry, you looked smashingly festive!

    My little prom story is that my fiance and i went to the same prom, just with different dates. (We went to middle school and high school together) If only we knew we were getting married, we could have at least danced one song and had our picture taken together. (would have been great for the wedding! damn.)

  6. Angelica says:

    Why were you at the prom “circa 1997”? Wasn’t that after college or just as you were ending college? Hmmmmm…… Did you go back to HS to attend the prom???

  7. Angelica says:

    ha ha ha! You look like you’re fresh out of college now.. so it’s all good! Miss you~!

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