Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wet Towels and Womanhood

  I recently planned and thankfully pulled off a huge event for my daughter's 15th birthday. The celebration, called a Quinceañera, is a long-held tradition in my husband's Hispanic culture.  It's a coming of age party, honoring the stage of a young girl's life in which she leaves behind her childhood and transitions into a young woman.  It's very touching, but I wonder when this beautiful, young lady of mine will transition into picking up her wet towels off the bathroom floor.  One can always hope.

          A Quinceañera resembles a wedding—minus the veil and honeymoon.  I labored over the planning for nine months, and it prohibited me from submitting as many posts on this blog as I would've liked.  It was very stressful, but I brought most of it on myself due to my inherent personality quirks.  I stressed for hours about which font to use on the invitation yet forgot to tell the DJ what time to show up.  So, it's perfectly logical that I can remind my kids about their lunch cards in the morning but forget to pick them up from soccer practice. 

          Characteristic of me, I decided 24 hours before my event that the bling factor of the programs was insufficient.  My obsessive/compulsive Martha Stewart demon took over, rising like the Angel of Death in that Ten Commandments movie, from the tri-fold glossy flaps of my Mass program.  I imagined the programs kicked up a notch—ribbon, jewels, sparkly outlining.  You might as well just take me to Hobby Lobby and shoot me.  But not on Sunday, because every frazzled mom with an agenda knows HL is closed on Sunday.  

          Throughout the entire planning process, from deciding on a venue to hand-making the arrangement on my front door, I googled everything to death.  I not only wanted to find a great song for the dad/daughter First Dance, but I wanted to find the PERFECT song that no one had heard before—one that isn't played at every wedding in the world every Saturday night.  One morning after Youtubing songs for the First Dance until the wee hours, I plodded to the kitchen and plugged my IV into the coffeepot.  My bright-eyed daughter trotted up and simply said, "By the way, Mom, you know the Dance I have with Dad?  I want to play "My Wish" by Rascall Flats!"  If I could have a dollar for the number of times that's been played at wedding receptions in just the last month, I could've paid for the whole party.  That's why it's the first song that comes up when you google First Dances, for goodness sake.  She won.

          I spiraled through mazes of open tabs, googling ways to weave our "Aladdin/Moroccan" theme into the invitations, programs, color scheme, cake, chair covers, centerpieces and bouquets.  I scripted everything the priest and family recited in Mass, everything the DJ said, and every explanation of our symbolic traditions. To me, scripting every move meant a perfect Mass and reception.  But in reality, perfection often simply consists of a girl's adoring glance at her father or the surprise she feels entering the ballroom to the rousing applause of her friends.

          That night at the pivotal point of the evening, my husband knelt in front of his daughter and replaced her sparkly red Converses with silver high-heels, symbolizing her metamorphosis into a young woman.  She was beautiful, humble, a little embarrassed, and smiled like Cinderella as she danced with the first Prince Charming of her life—her dad.
          After a dance with her dad, brother and escort, the real party started, and the only thing my daughter had on her mind was Pit Bull and Taio Cruz.  We allowed the party to continue later than planned since everyone was having so much fun.  She stopped her father and me several times, gushing "This is the best party ever!"  That's all we needed to hear.  All the planning, all the late nights and meetings, and all the obsessing about perfection was worth it.  Never again will a party on such a scale be all about her.  Her next big celebration will include another Prince Charming. 
          As I hung up her beautifully beaded, heavy white dress, I visualized her perfect, dark skin, just like her dad's, and her beautiful smile.  I pushed the fluffy white tulle of her dress into her closet and still aglow with the warm fuzzies from a magical night, I silently breathed a prayer asking, "How could I ever be more blessed?"  I turned toward her bathroom.............The wet towels could be a start.  

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