In our life, it never fails. Big events come in clusters. We can never just focus on a prom or a Christmas party or a wedding. Typically, they will all fall on the same day.

The last event cluster was in December. Haley’s Winter Ball fell on the same day as Maury’s office Christmas party. We were able to pull that off with the help of some generous parents, but it was stressful. I only have one photo of her all dressed up. I felt like a bad parent for not being there to take pictures. I swore I’d never drop that ball again.

A few months ago, Haley mentioned that her Junior Prom was coming up, though she didn’t specify the date. It wasn’t until two weeks before the prom that I looked at my calendar and realized that our very close friends’ son was getting married on the day of the Junior Prom! The wedding was at 5 p.m. in Brentwood. The Junior Prom was at 7:30 at Deer Valley High School in Antioch. Of course, Haley and her friends planned on a big photo shoot beforehand, and I wasn’t missing it. Especially when she was going to the prom with her first boyfriend, Jarret. I had to be there.

Let me add here that I absolutely hate getting dressed up. I hate wearing dresses and high heels and I generally wear the same outfit when I have a dressy function to attend: black leggings, a blousy shirt and riding boots. It’s my uniform. Fine for a Christmas party, but not an April wedding. I had no choice — I went to Kohls. I eventually settled on some dressy black pants, a pink shirt and a pair of incredibly cruel, very high heels. I nearly snapped my ankle taking them for a test drive around the shoe department. My big toe was already screaming for a band-aid, but I bought them anyway.

The day of the prom/wedding arrived. Haley told me that the photo shoot was going to be at Brentwood City Hall at 5:30. OK, I was going to have to make a choice. Attend the wedding ceremony, missing the big photo shoot and looking like a loser mom again, or text my good friend, Heather, and regretfully inform her that we’d be missing the ceremony but would see them at the reception. In other words, look like a loser friend/guest.

It was three o’clock and the prom preparations had begun. Haley yelled down to me from up in her room, “You’re going to be there to take pictures this time, right Mom?”

I sent the text to Heather. Thankfully, she let me off the hook and cheerfully replied, “We’ll see you at the reception!”

Let me add something else here: Not only do I hate getting dressed up, but I am terrible at doing hair. Mine or anyone else’s. I’m clumsy and can only achieve an up-do with the help of a big clip, so when Haley casually asked me to help her with an up-do she found on YouTube, I was aghast! She had the video all cued up. She sat down on our bathroom stool and handed me bobby pins, little clear hair elastics and decorative clips. I knew I was in over my head! She started the video.

The style was elaborate, like something from “Game of Thrones.” There were twisty braids and an intricate bun, and the gal in the video had hair three times longer than Haley’s. There was no way we were going to be able to do it, and I said so. Haley did not appreciate my lack of confidence and yelled at me for having a bad attitude. I tried to stay positive. She began constructing the hairstyle and asked me to insert some bobby pins into the small bun she had created. I proceeded to accidentally jab her in the scalp.

“OUCH! What are you doing?! I’ll do it myself!” Another lovely mother-daughter moment.

I left the room to start getting ready for the wedding. I was behind schedule. The doorbell rang; it was Haley’s boyfriend, Jarret. He looked very handsome in his tailored suit. He gazed up the stairs. Haley was a vision of beauty. She actually did manage to pull off the hairdo! Her makeup was flawless, her dress fit perfectly. I retrieved the boutonniere and corsage from our refrigerator.

One more tidbit of note: I have zero idea how to pin a boutonniere on a man’s lapel. Maury had no clue either, so we googled it. Thank God for YouTube. I think Haley was supposed to pin it on Jarret, but it was so difficult! I’m sure Jarret enjoyed having his girlfriend’s mother up in his face struggling with his lapel for what must have felt like an eternity. The top of the pin snapped off and I nearly stabbed him in the chest, but I finally managed to attach it. They headed off to the photo shoot, and I finished getting dressed.

It was five o’clock. The wedding was beginning. My heart sank a bit. I slipped on my cruel shoes and threw some band-aids in my purse. Maury and I headed to City Hall. The place was swarming with hundreds of kids in formalwear, taking pictures. How would I find them? I hobbled all over the area like a large, injured bird. My feet were already in agony. After a few calls to my irritated daughter we determined that we were at the wrong spot. She had neglected to inform us that they had changed the photo shoot to Rose Garden Park, clear across town.

It was 6:30 now. The reception was in full swing, but we weren’t there. We were at Rose Garden Park. I spotted Haley and her friends and limped across the grass towards her. She smiled and gave me a big hug. I knew then that I had made the right decision.

In the end, everything worked out. Despite all the chaos, Haley had a great prom, I got plenty of pictures, and we finally made it to the wedding. As for those cruel shoes, they went on Craigslist the next day.

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