For SO many complex reasons...
I look back at the pictures of my daughter's special day more than she knows.
To be fair, she and her girlfriend endured a whole volley of photo snaps. We even moved furniture and staged the scene!
Sorry ... not sorry!
Prom dress shopping flew by in a blink. A moment my tattered mind will, hopefully, hold onto forever.
I prayed for a speedy find, while I also yearned for enough time to find the old skate shop she loved and slow down all of this life stuff for just one damn minute.
THE dress was the first one she laid her sweet small hand on. Jewelry was located within minutes.
We found her purse and shoes next, along with some floral leggings. Of course, she chucked the heels in favor of flats on the day of the actual prom.
She modeled the ensemble for my significant other when we got home. It was as if she were on a runway, eerily resembling a teenage Lady Di.
Prom arrived two weeks later.
On the day of, we fussed more than usual. Her brother -- also gay and playing that card magnificently as a caricature -- popped in and directed the photo shoot.
And I died laughing. Several times. I'm actually writing this from heaven.
Even as I remember a bit of hell.
As a surprise to all of us, a close relative stopped by. A woman I am sure thinks I run a tidy coven on the side, in which I regularly sacrifice goats.
On this day, her self-righteous presence beyond pissed me off.
Since we are not close, to put it mildly, she hadn't called me, and hadn't notified anyone she planned to come over. As my kid and I thoroughly enjoyed our mommy-daughter moment in my dressing room, she was sitting outside of my house in her car, without my knowledge!
I get that she wanted to see my child on this momentous day. But she was in for a HUGE surprise, because she had NO IDEA my daughter is gay!
Because who gives a shit?
All we care about is that my girl lives authentically.
We've had many convos to that effect. Whatever authentic means to her, it is not up to me or her stepdad to select a definition. It is merely our job to shepherd her.
On the plus side, I'm betting this space invader will never show up unannounced again.
It was a challenge to hold my mommy shit together as I tried to remain focused on building the memories of my only girl, our first child, attending prom. Throughout our history, I have not only held my tongue with this person, but practically stapled it into place courtesy of a nail gun, all the while exuding tolerance and skipping off her nasty glances like a rock across a pond.
Show up uninvited to my home and this is what you get!
Exposure to a loving home. Exposure to all the heart in the universe. Adoration for my children fed from an endless fount, despite the fact I may not be able to sympathize with burgeoning feelings of attraction to the same sex, and a desire to share more.
Because again, who cares?
Me, throwing open my makeup, hair, accessory and clothing coffers. Yes, darling, of course, you can wear this thing. Tearing the doors off. The day was here!
We laughed in front of the vanity mirror as we watched a YouTube tutorial to create a fabulous, loose and wispy fairytale-like updo. I perched on a chair behind her as I pinned her blonde strands as instructed. When every drop of glistening gorg was in place, she shone! She was radiant.
Her eyes sparkled at the fantastic night she and her girl would have.
I contorted my mind into a steel trap to keep the vision of her vibrant for years to come.
I hopped around ordering her to stand quietly one minute so I could catch a flyaway hair, the next moment squeezing her lightly so as not to crush her. All the while, warding off the dabs of sadness threatening to spread like a drop of dye in water.
We walked outside.
To our shock, the relative who'd popped up on us was right there with her pinched (as always) face -- crossed arms and self-righteous aura aglow.
I have to admit, when I found out she'd sat in the car for an hour before finally deciding to come inside, the snarky side of me was secretly amused.
But I still bristle as I write this.
After looking forward to this day for weeks, my child and her girlfriend weren't respected.
We were all forced to adjust our time frame, contend with her irritation and make last minute accommodations for someone who's said some of the worst homophobic slurs I have ever heard. And who expects me to just get over it.
The girls were robbed of the moment's emotional depth.
Because when my girl's girl arrived and they found themselves caught in this bigoted woman's reprimanding glare, neither of them felt comfortable exclaiming their true delight in each other.
They stopped themselves from rushing into each other's arms and from oohing and aahing over each other's beauty, or over how hard they'd each worked to keep their beautiful gowns a surprise for the other.
Neither girl had shown the other her dress prior to the main event. They even refused to describe any details to each other over texts or on Facetime.
With this intruder present, instead of leaping into each other's arms, my daughter simply waved, a ripple of worry upsetting her smooth skin.
She refused to shake hands with my daughter's Grecian goddess -- actually jerking her own hand back and away, as if assessing the damage after flirting with flames.
I did my best to acknowledge her presence with all the delight I could summon, the mother bear inside of me rearing up on her haunches, ready to swat any threat she may send my angel daughter's way.
The girls smiled as they tried to figure out how to handle the situation. Both coolly kept their composure. And I was livid that they had to.
We resumed our photo session after the interloper finally headed home, taking her sallow mood lighting with her.
The mother in me re-energized. I was determined to blot out the ugly, sun-blocking clouds.
I morphed into an overexcited hummingbird, hanging onto and hugging her and her girlfriend, cooing about their beauty, no body shaming comments about themselves allowed (as young girls are wont to do ... especially those coming into flickering contact with the buds of self-confidence).
The girls posed, laughed and refused to behave, until I clapped my hands with a sharp crack and yelled, "Lesbians!"
We all exploded into hysteria. For a long glorious time.
We went on.
Scooting them out the door and wishing them well with my tears barely disguised, my arms unable to stop reaching, and my heart brimming and proud.
My daughter, the first out lesbian in the family.
She says fuck a lot, but she never says that other, more obscene F-word -- "fat."
Her heart is nimble and kind. She extends herself to people who are suffering. She loves without consideration or ultimatums.
I will listen to her say the unduly-persecuted "fuck" all day -- as long as she loves to her greatest ability.
Hers is a life she did not choose, but which found her. It was going to find her no matter where she hid.
I melted into a puddle and a pillow after the girls squawked and squealed their way to the car.
She texted periodically throughout the night, sharing food and other evening lovelies.
So bewitched ... they danced for hours, pulling wallflowers into their fray, including everyone in their circle of love.
Yet such a danger to proper society, right?
I forced myself to exist in the inexplicable reality of sleep and wake only moms know, so I could memorize her face as it looked when she returned at the end of the fun.
She was grinning, shining, happily-rumpled. Her eye makeup smeared from sweat and giggling. From too much dancing. From being free to love and free to express.
From pure. Unadulterated. Joy.
From confirming her own acceptance of her valid place in this chaotic world.
I, her lion mother, smiled and felt my heart burst into twelve million times more love for my baby -- a girl I am fond of pointing at and exclaiming, "I made that!"
My vigil ended as she tripped upstairs. Our girl whose topper of the night was snoozing in her girlfriend's car and being awakened by that glorious angel's outline, framed in drive-thru lights.
"What do you want from Taco Bell?" the angel had inquired.
My kid shot up (because she is my daughter) and received her greasy gift, welcoming the paradox of fast food in a prom dress.
She is exquisitely colorful as she both chases and runs from her own magnetism.
She is learning to love herself in an upwards pattern, aware there will always be setbacks in her midst. Aware that she is a work in progress.
We all are, baby girl.
Photos: Courtesy of the author