Monday, March 23, 2015

The Junior Dinner Dance

Ah, the Junior Prom. (Or as my daughter Melissa's school calls it -  the Junior Dinner Dance.)

That exciting right of passage where teenage girls - in true Disney Princess style - glow in their floor length gowns as their tuxedo-clad Prince Charmings (AKA - teenage boys) escort them to "The Ball"!

Months and months in the planning, the day of the Junior Dinner Dance (JDD) had finally arrived! We woke up full of excitement, looked out the window and were greeted by the beauty of the first day of spring.




It can't be!

A chance of flurries, they said.

It will probably change to rain, they said.

Nothing to worry about, they said.

There's no way this will turn into a major storm, dump six inches of heavy white stuff on the Philadelphia area, cause power outages, and nearly cancel the prom.

But wait, I am getting a bit ahead of myself.

Melissa and her friend Gabby were scheduled to begin the "Princess Transformation Process" at our house at 1 pm.  First hair, then make up, then gowns, then shoes, then off to their friend Lena's where nine couples (and 18 sets of parents) were planning to gather for the obligatory pre-prom pictures.

However, nine couples and 18 sets of parents had not counted on winter extending its fury into the first day of spring.

How were the "Princesses" going to walk in their gowns and  "Glass Slippers" when the scene outside our window looked more like Siberia than suburban New Jersey?

I proposed a solution. The girls would complete their hair and make up at our house, wear jeans and snow boots to walk to the car, then put on their gowns upon arrival at Lena's.

Crisis averted.

In the morning, Lena's mom sent out a frantic email to all of the parents, begging them to bring golf umbrellas to cover our "Princesses" - lest even one snowflake fall onto their hairspray-infused heads.

I ran to the drug store, parted with $25, and ran out with an umbrella large enough to cover the population of Rhode Island.

By the time I arrived home, everything in sight had disappear under a thick blanket of the forecasted  "light flurries", including the path that the "Princesses" would need to walk from the front door to the car.

I grabbed a shovel and set to work.

Crisis averted.

In the meantime, the two "princesses-to-be" were surrounded by curling irons, combs, brushes, bobby pins, hair spray, blush, eye shadow, foundation, lipstick, and my curious cat who stuck his nose into everything, much to the girls' chagrin.

Fearing that the ten minute drive to Lena's might take much longer due to the storm, I hurried the girls along, hoping they could achieve perfection 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

But the storm has one more trick up its sleeve.

The thick snow was wrecking havoc on our township's power lines.

The lights throughout the house ominously blinked on and off, on and off, and on again.

Melissa and Gabby grabbed their curling irons.

On and off and on again....

Melissa and Gabby created one more curl.

On and off and on again....

Melissa and Gabby unplugged their curling irons.

On and off and....darkness!

But it didn't matter. Electricity was no longer needed.  These two Princesses had, indeed, achieved perfection!

At Lena's, a professional photographer captured the beauty of each Prince and Princess as the proud parents snapped away with their iPhones. Suddenly, every mom and dad heard the familiar tone alerting them to an incoming text - from none other than the principal of the high school.

The JDD had been postponed from 7 to 8 pm, explained Mr. Principal. However, if road conditions did not improve, he would seriously consider cancelling.

Eighteen teenagers and their parents let out a collective groan.

Then we waited, and waited, and waited.

An hour later, Mr. Principal texted again. The snow had turned to rain, roads were getting better, and my "Cinderella" would finally get to go to the ball.

Crisis averted.

Or so we thought.

Eighteen sets of parents had all agreed to share the cost of two limos to provide round trip transportation for the kids.... limos that should have been parked outside of Lena's home.

So we waited, and waited, and waited.

Finally, the driver turned onto the street, blaming the storm for his delay.

One by one, each Prince and Princess, a golf umbrella in hand, cautiously made their way through the slush and snow and climbed into the limo.

Crisis averted?  No. Not yet.

Eighteen sets of parents watched with baited breath as the limo driver tried again and again to back out of the steep, snow-covered driveway.

Finally, he made it onto the street.  Eighteen Prince and Princesses were off for the time of their lives, while eighteen sets of parents breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Crisis averted!

My daughter Melissa (far left) and her friends pose for the official Junior Prom photos.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

*In honor of St. Patrick's day, I am sharing a post that originally ran in March, 2012.  I have made some minor edits to the original post.

Melissa vs. The Leprechaun 

For my teenage daughter Melissa, St. Patrick's Day marks the anniversary of her "terrifying" encounter with a leprechaun.  Step back in time with me, if you will, to March 17, 2007.  When the aptly-named third grade teacher Miss Green (I am not kidding) read stories about these fabled, feisty Irish fairies to her young charges, Melissa and her friend Sarah became determined to actually catch one of these mischievous munchkins.  Even though leprechauns have outwitted generations of trap-setting Irishmen, two  nine year old girls were convinced that they, and they alone, would succeed!

Melissa and Sarah spent hours developing a comprehensive trap-setting plan.  Step one involved a St. Patrick's Day eve sleepover, for surely that would be the best day for a leprechaun to be caught in the act.  Our house became the designated leprechaun lure, with Melissa's bedroom setting the stage for the over-the-top trap!

As Sarah and Melissa approached the task at hand, they decided the best way to trap a leprechaun would be to turn the bedroom into a "little green man" resort and spa.  Steaming hot water helped to transform a soup bowl into a soothing leprechaun hot tub.  Construction paper and green crayons invited the leprechaun to express his creativity, while green confetti and Lucky Charms cereal set the celebratory mood.  Barbie dolls were dressed in their Sunday best as they sat ready and waiting for the leprechaun to invite them to play, and of course, gold coins aplenty (the chocolate version) were strategically placed in a bowl in the middle of the floor.

As the girls put the finishing touches on the trap, they started having second thoughts about their devious plan.  Suddenly, it seemed like trapping the little guy would not be a very nice thing to do. But still, they didn't want their hard work to go to waste.  That's when Melissa and Sarah crafted a new plan. If the leprechaun came, he would not have to worry about being duped by two nine-year old girls. Instead, the girls would simply observe him at play while they pretended to be asleep.

With all of the wheels in motion, the only task that remained was to climb into bed and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And while they waited, excitement turned to trepidation, trepidation turned to fear, then fear turned to terror.

What if the leprechaun became evil?

Would he attack them?

Were they safe?


In the meantime, the "leprechaun" waited and waited and waited for the girls to fall asleep so "he" could sneak in undetected and check into the resort and spa.  The "leprechaun", who in reality stood 5' 5" tall, had long brown hair, and answered to the name of "mom", slowly tiptoed into Melissa's room. The girls moved ever so slightly, perhaps sensing a presence.  Mom froze, waiting until both girls were silent and still.  Then mom tipped over the water, tossed the barbies around, stole most of the gold coins, and used the green crayon to write a note of thanks for the fun.

In the morning, the girls woke up and were absolutely astounded by the site!  The leprechaun had come and played in the bedroom and made a mess and left them a note, AND THEY SLEPT RIGHT THROUGH THE ENTIRE THING!

As for the leprechaun (AKA - Mom) instead of placing the newly found "gold" in the pot at the end of the rainbow, she stuffed the coins were into the bottom of a sock drawer, never to be seen again...or so we thought.
~ ~ ~

About a year later, I asked Melissa to help me with the laundry.  I folded the socks, while she put them away.

"Mom, why are there gold coins in Daddy's sock drawer?"

Uh oh.

Danger!  Danger!  Think fast!  Think fast!

"Well, the leprechaun must have put them there to hide them from you."

"Oh, ok. That makes sense."

I heaved a sign of relief.  My naive little daughter actually believed me!

Or so I thought.

A few days later as we struggled through the nightly ritual of brushing of her long, knot-infested hair, she asked the question I had been dreading.

"Mom, are you really the leprechaun?"

Uh oh.

"What?  No, of course not!"

"Really Mom, it's ok, you can tell me the truth, I won't be mad."

"Seriously sweety, I am not the leprechaun."

"Really Mom, I won't be mad, I promise."

"Alright sweety, you're right.  It was me," came my guilty admission.  "I was really the leprechaun, it was me who snuck into your room in the middle of the night."




So much for Melissa's promise of not getting mad.

Oh well.  Since I had already blown my cover, I decided to also come clean about the tooth fairy and Santa Clause.  Being Jewish, the latter didn't bother her quite so much, but I made her promise not to spill the beans to her friends who still believed in St. Nick.  Even though I had spoiled the fun, Melissa's friends still deserved to enjoy a few more moments of childhood innocence.

In trying to bring to life to my baby girl's imagination, I had donned an alter ego, only to lose her trust once my secret was revealed.  If I could, I would become the leprechaun every year, even when she is married with kids of her own.  I want her to relish in those childhood fantasies where the existence of little green men is never questioned, and fairies really do exchange teeth for treasure.  For all too soon, reality takes hold and childhood evolves into a grown up world, devoid of fantasy and wonder.

This year, as St. Patrick's Day approached, Sarah called Melissa and invited her to a March 17th sleepover. Seems the girls want to relive the past, treasure the memory, and just maybe, reenact their terrifying showdown with the leprechaun.

Perhaps they're not quite so ready to grow up after all!

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