Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Celebrate good times?

My daughter, 14, attended her first BIG high school dance two weekends ago. She had a wonderful time, looked gorgeous. But it was a big deal, and I'm a little annoyed by the whole rigmarole. First, she had to have a dress. A nice dress. But not too nice. Not long or anything. I'm ok with that.

The event called for a visit to Marshall Fields sic Macys. Fields/Macys had an abundance of nice but not too nice dresses. It also featured a plethora of other teen girls seeking same. Does everyone have Homecoming on the same weekend? Daughter waded through numerous dresses. I pointed out several that seemed quite nice. She chose several others that did not resemble in any way, shape, or form, those that I had pointed out.

Eventually, she emerged from the somewhat raucous dressing rooms with a lovely dress in hand. The price was fairly right, under $50 on sale with some discount. Works for me. She even tried it on for me and the spouse when she got home. And, steal of steals, we found a pair of silver flats that she deemed acceptable for $10.

But as Homecoming conversations moved forward, it appeared that this was not all the outlay that was necessary. Discussions of dinners out, boutonnieres, and Hummer limos hovered on the edge of my consciousness. Oh please, said I. There is no chance in hell of the daughter or her nascent boyfriend (whom she is not yet allowed to date alone) being able to afford the aforementioned items. And pigs will fly by the time I authorize a Hummer limo for a 14 year old.

Fortunately, daughter thought all of that was pretty silly. Well, some of it, anyway. She and her boyfriend popped for matching flowers, went out dinner in downtown Oak Park, and walked to the dance from dinner in her lovely silver slippers.

No wonder people are having $50,000 weddings. There's such pressure to outdo each previous Homecoming and Prom and every other event that has become pricier and fancier. Again, I say. Please. We had a very lovely wedding reception in the basement of the church in which we were wed. Nice food provided by a community college catering service. Music from a string quartet. And many friends and family. Maybe a couple thou, if that?

Can't we leave something new to try, discover or experience for adulthood? Couldn't children's birthday parties be simple affairs with cake and ice cream and $10 presents? Graduation from 8th grade a nice ceremony and a family dinner afterwards? I'm not suggesting we give up celebrations. Let's just spend less money on them. Be a bit less ostentatious. People will still think you're a valuable contributing member of society, even if your 14 yr old doesn't arrive in a Hummer limo.



Anonymous Michelle Baum said...

How many ways can I say YES, YES, YES!!?!

Well said, Liz.


3:26 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Hey Liz,
Todays children are not like yesterdays. They are more creative and they need more, and new, and dreams about a huge Hummer
is coming true.

9:28 AM  

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