Prom is an exciting time for most high school students – a veritable right-of-passage. Girls eagerly await an invitation from their crush. They fantasize over what creative method the boys will use to capture their attention and possibly their hearts. The girls despair when prom draws near and no one has yet asked them to the dance. They anxiously wonder if someone will ask them in time and lament any possibility that their fate might result in the shame of going stag.
Outside of the ritualistic angst, prom also represents the closing of an important chapter in life. It is a time to make memories and spend cherished moments with friends before embarking on the journey to adulthood.
My prom memories include being serenaded by my guitar-playing friend during third-period choir. Tyler surprised me by breezing into my class and singing to me before asking me to be his date. He then cleverly devised a group date in which his parents dressed up as professional wait-staff and served us and two other couples a fancy meal of chicken cordon bleu.
The following year, I was asked to the dance by an underclassman. With his friends, our pre-prom activity involved paintball. I had a blast despite my worries about getting pegged in the arms and sustaining a giant bruise that would forever be memorialized in photos.
After meeting my soon-to-be husband during my senior year in college, I realized how much I wish I could have shared every moment of my life with him. I wish he could have been part of the experiences that formed me into the person I am today. Conversely, I wish I could have been part of his childhood. I wanted to know the cute little kid I had seen in photos. I wanted to observe the goofy, and somewhat nerdy, high school student he and his family could only tell me about.
I ultimately decided that while we couldn’t relive our past with each other in it, I could create new memories that might parallel those transformative life experiences. The Welcome to America Project Prom presented the perfect opportunity to dress up and dance in a prom-like setting.
This time, I wouldn’t eagerly anticipate someone asking me to prom…I would do the asking! I sent my then boyfriend half a dozen cupcakes with “Prom?” written on them. I included a note that said, “They say the way to a man’s heart is through his tummy. I hope I can entice you with something yummy!”
Of course he said yes! Attending the WTAP Prom with the love of my life was absolutely more fun and exciting than my high school prom. I was more confident in myself and I was able to share it with someone I truly loved.