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prom

Monday, May 17th, 2010

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!!!

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“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.