Rite of Passage

Prom.  All across the US, it is a rite of passage, as teens mark the nearing end of their high school careers and prepare to move into the wider world.  It is a part of a symbolic transition from childhood to adulthood.  For parents, it is partially a celebration of the accomplished human beings that these young adults have become and partially a mourning of the children that they no longer are.  And every parent watches the end of an age of innocence and hopes that the son or daughter is ready for a less protected life.

Tonight is my older daughter’s prom, and she gathered, along with about fifteen of her friends in her high school senior class and their dates, before the dance.  Many parents also gathered to celebrate the transition from childhood to adulthood and take many, many photographs.  Most of these young ladies have been friends since the sixth grade – a few longer than that and a few joined the circle in ninth grade.  I found myself looking at them – seeing one thing with my eyes but simultaneously seeing them seven years ago in my mind.

In just a few weeks, my daughter and her friends will have graduated high school.  In some ways, they are becoming adults.  In just four months, they will be scattered across the US to 15 different colleges.  I hope they are enjoying, marking, and remembering these precious days.

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