A family of females, that is.

Another Crookston High School Homecoming Week has come and gone, this one a bit more memorable than most for undesirable reasons that needn't be elaborated on in this space. The kids, which the whole thing centers around, had a great – albeit some frosty moments – time with all the festivities and that's the most important thing.  

    Saturday night was somewhat emotional for this mommy of two high school girls, as I sent one daughter off to her last CHS Homecoming dance and the other to her first. While I'm used to seeing Cyrina all prettied up in fancy dresses after several other homecoming and Snow Fest dances, prom, Miss Crookston Pageant and other events, Gabi is a whole different story. Only last year, this tomboy (soon to be former?) shunned such occasions, staunchly maintaining that she would never, ever in a million years be caught dead in a dress, much less setting foot inside a school dance.

    It's funny how drastically things can change from freshman to sophomore. Thanks to some painless nudging from her best bud, our baby about knocked her father and me on the floor when modeling the homecoming attire we allowed her to choose on a shopping trip with this girl and her mother. She looked so, so…feminine! The black spaghetti strap dress with subtle gold embellishment and hi-lo pleated skirt even has a bow in the front. The icing on the cake was the black satin heels, a far cry from the sneakers or flat sandals she regularly wears.

    Typically mortal enemies, Gabi and Cyrina actually bonded a bit when the younger let her next older sis do her makeup and nails. Cyrina is in her full glory when allowed to prettify a younger someone, such as Gabi or one of her friends, with makeup and nails.

    Although Aryanna's high school homecoming days are long gone – we went through the  first and last dance thing with her and Cyrina three years ago – she joined in the excitement by curling and styling her sisters' hair, which was met with mixed reviews. Gabi's golden locks turned out nice and curly, while Cyrina's lengthy red tresses fought that curling iron every step of the way. This frustrated the girl to no end and she was not shy about voicing her disapproval of older sis's styling skills. On the defensive, Ary hollered back, "Your hair will NOT hold a curl, period!"  

    So much for sisterly love. I, personally, thought her hair looked rather stunning, but who listens to the opinion of an old fuddy duddy like me?

    While looking through the photos of Gabi and her friend all decked out for the dance, it dawned on me that they are no longer the little girls who were content to just walk to the playground or go see a movie. I know, this sounds clichéd, but there comes a moment in every parent's life when this revelation strikes. For me, and I suspect many other parents of teenage girls, this is it. Tradition seems to dictate that a girl's first homecoming dance is also the first time she gets all decked out in more grown-up attire, dazzling her loved ones and even bringing some to tears. There's no going back to the simplicity of before.

    After going through similar experiences twice previously, you'd think Saturday would have been old hat for me, but it's been different each time. The first involved only one child, but being it was the oldest, I was sort of confused with all the conflicting emotions – both joy and sadness at how my little girl is growing up – swirling around in my head. The second instance, with the two oldest,  turned out to be doubly tumultuous in terms of emotions, as I knew it was the only homecoming dance these sisters would be attending together. Plus, the sight of these two girls looking even prettier than they were everyday made me one proud mama.

    Why would Saturday be so much different than three years ago? For one thing, I never dreamt that day would even happen, seeing how Gabi showed no interest in such girly things in the past. So the mere fact that I was able to see her and Cyrina together in full formal dance attire head to toe was a miracle in itself. While I suspected we might be able talk the kid into doing such a thing during her junior and/or senior years, it seemed so far off until she curtly informed me last week that she needed to go dress shopping. Dress shopping? Gabi? I almost fainted!

    What really got me, though, was how all three girls actually got along for more than a 10-minute stretch and seemed to actually enjoy each others' company. Forget looking all grown up and gorgeous; this camaraderie could be the biggest indicator yet of their maturity.  

    Maturity. It's a hard word to include in the same breath as talking about my daughters, but there comes a time when you've got to accept the inevitable. And seeing how I'm much too quickly approaching that half century mark that several of my high school classmates have already reached, that time is now.

    There's nothing like a little homecoming to bring a family of females together.