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My Daughter's First Formal Dance - Why am I so anxy?

By January 30, 2009 - 10:08pm
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I must admit, I never wanted to think about the moment where my little girl would be asked by a boy to be his date to a school formal dance. Suddenly I realized that she was no longer the little girl running around with her toys, but a 15 year old who is bloomming like a flower in the spring in front of my eyes. Chills went down my spine!

When I first learned about the dance, I did not know who this boy was, so I told my daughter that the condition to letting her go was that I would meet the parents and the boy way before the dance. The parents came with their son and formally asked permission to take her to the dance. I was beyond myself, this boy was so scared but found so much courage to do what I felt was the right thing. He met us and asked formally to take my baby to the dance. Well, today was the day! I was a nerve rack all day. I knew that 8 teen couples were going on a rented limo and when I dropped my daughter off at one of the girls' house, all the parents were there celebrating the occassion. I was so paralized by fear but at the same time very emotional and aware that my baby had grown so quickly! As each girl made their entrance coming down the stairs, one at a time, my little girl was among them, so beautiful, so innocent, so tall! While the well-dressed boys cheered at the bottom of the stairs for each of their "dates" with much anticipation.

Has anyone felt this way? Am I too off left field with my feelings or worries?

Add a Comment5 Comments

Virginia, what a wonderful after-dance post for us to read!!!

Congratulations on raising a girl who got through her first dance with flying colors, and congratulations to yourself for surviving!!!

February 4, 2009 - 9:53am

Thank you sooooo much for all your thoughts! It was an interesting night for my daughter and I. She had a great time and danced a lot. We had a couple of hiccups: her shoes broke so I had to get her another pair. We forgot to get the boy a corsage, so I ran to the flower shop to get one made. Thank God the flower lady was willing to make one on the spot after I pleaded...I missed the limo at one girl's house, drove to the beach house where pictures were being taken, missed that one too and finallly caught up with the limo on the freeway after following it for about 5 miles. I knew the next stop was dinner at an Italian restaurant, so I got there before them. My daughter was surprised to see me there but my excuse was the corsage. I was the only parent this time and I felt embarrassed because I did not want the kids to think I was following them. Later on, I showed up at the beach house to pick her up but no one was there. My heart stopped. Luckily I had one of the moms' phone number and she told me I was at the wrong house...I had followed the written itinerary the girls had put together but somehow during the night this important piece of information changed and I was not aware of it. My daughter was waiting at the first home where they got all dressed up earlier. My heart was pounding and I couldn't wait to hear all about her night! She told me she had fun, she danced and enjoyed being with friends. One of the things she said was the highlight of her night was that when another boy was hitting on her, her date told him to back off. He took care of my little girl as he had promised. A night of fun and apprehension that I will treasure forever and so will my baby.

February 3, 2009 - 10:05pm

I was emotional reading your message, too, although I have a 2 year old (son) and will not be having these fears/anxieties for a few years. Preschool is what is next for us, and it is hard to imagine anyone taking better care of him than me!

I guess the only thing I can offer, is that there are many parents who feel the same way you do, Virginia, and have little boys. I'm raising my son to be respectful, kind, thoughtful and polite, for the benefit of future dates, dates's parents (like yourself!), and for his benefit in the "real world", of course. I was so happy when I learned that I was pregnant with a boy, as I felt like it was my chance to raise "a good one"! :-) (LOL--I just re-read that, and I would raise a "good" girl as well)...I hope my point is coming across the way it is intended! There are some really nice, sweet, thoughtful, considerate boys out there, that have a good heart, strong mind and strong sense-of-self. That's what I'm trying to say!

Can't wait to hear how your daughter did at her first dance!

February 1, 2009 - 8:03pm

Virginia, I'm very touched by your experience and your emotions. I have a dozen nieces and nephews from age 1 to age 24, and I have to tell you that every time one of them takes that leap it startles me. And I'm not even their mother!

As adults, we're used to time feeling like it goes fast and faster. You not only can remember her toys as a baby, but also her first tooth, her first steps, her first day of school and every thing since then. I see my college niece going to a formal ball, and I think, where's the little girl who sat on my lap for story after story? Where's the 12-year-old who begged to go to the Disney movie? Instead, what's on her mind is her boyfriend, her studies, her friends, whether she'll get the "cool" dorm next year, and if she'll find a summer job. They lurch so quickly into Life, and we're just not ready for it.

My 15-year-old niece just sprouted taller by about a foot, got her braces off and got a figure, all in about six months -- I am not ready to see a graceful young woman in place of my adorable clutzy girl! (Thank goodness her youngest brother is just a toddler, because I still need some baby hugs now and then!)

I'd be just fine if my 12-year-old niece were 10 again, and if my 9-year-old niece were back at 6, LOL. They grow up so fast, and every physical reminder of it is both beautiful and a little scary to us. (Funny, though, how my sister cannot WAIT for her little boy to grow and get just a little more mature!)

I'm proud that you let her go, and I'm proud that you set your standards for the boy's behavior and that he met them. I hope it was a fabulous night for her, and that you survived it with flying colors!

January 31, 2009 - 12:47pm
HERWriter Guide

My children are too young for me to have gone through this, but I think your feelings are very legitimate. This is a big moment for you, as well as your daughter. It's hard for us to see our children grow up, for many reasons.

We will not be able to "fix" everything anymore, and may not be welcomed to! We know that the world can be a harsh place - they don't yet. And we want to be there for them when they find out. We won't always be. It's hard not to be needed so much. Mothers have fixed everything from dinner to bloodied knees to homework to fights with the friend down the street. Fixing is what we do! Letting go of that is tough.

You need to trust yourself that you have set a strong foundation for your daughter and that she will be able to go out into the world with a good head on her shoulders and a zest for life. It sounds like you have done a very good job already. Even though at 15, you need to keep a very close eye on her, trust your daughter! You taught her well, now let her prove that to you!

My kids are 2, 3 and 4 and when my 4 year old started preschool, I was a mess. I am an at-home parent and had to see him, at the age of 3, in a school without me, a few hours a week. No-one knew his little ways! His certain likes and dislikes and little habits! How would he cope without me? Me!! His mama bear!

But he coped rather well! Better than I! Like your daughter is coping with this better for you! For her, it's a brand new world, filled with possibilities. For you, it's a brand new world for her, filled with danger. Virginia, don't lose your mother-bear instincts. While you don't want to smother your teen, it's ok to have some fears and concerns. I think it's totally normal. In fact, I commend you for it.

Motherhood is filled with bitter sweet moments like this. We bear children, we nurture and then we must let go. Thinking about this natural circle of life makes me sad, even now! Because with all the beauty of raising a child, come the moments of knowing we must loosen that tight grip that gave us, and our children, such a tight bond. It is a wonderful celebration, with a slight, natural tinge of sadness.

But the good news is that we're not letting them go into the wild! They do return - often with laundry!!

You have a few more years before she hits the road for college, or travel or a job. Watch over her, be the same wonderful mother you are now and enjoy this time. And when she leaves, she'll know she has her place of comfort to come back to when she needs it (and she will), the place she has always gone to - home, to mom.

And by the way, I'm glad her date was a bit scared! There's nothing worse than some cocky kid who struts in to grab your kid and strut off. Nothing wrong with these boys having a healthy fear of a daughter's mom!!

January 31, 2009 - 6:15am
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