Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seriously? It's just prom!

This morning I heard the most outrageous call-in conversation on a radio show. A mother called in to say that 'her daughter was going to her prom and was destined to be prom queen'. The trouble was that her daughter posted a picture of her prom dress on Facebook and later discovered that another student 'who wasn't in her inner circle of friends' planned to wear the same dress. OMG ... seriously? This mother was somehow under the impression that the prom was all about her daughter and that somehow having someone else in the same dress was going to ruin her chances of shining for the evening. This mother talked about having spent a lot of money on the perfect dress. She was actually considering either A) calling the girl and suggesting that she get a different dress or B) bribing the girl not to wear the dress. Again ... seriously?

What has society come to when dress shops 'register' dresses for teenage girls (so no one else from the same school can wear the same dress)? I'm sure they're just attempting to give their customers the assurances that their daughter will stand out (for the low, low profit of hundreds of dollars). It's a prom. Yes ... a prom is definitely a highlight in a senior year of high school. Hopefully something that is a first for those attending. But guess what? It's about getting dressed up in something other than blue jeans, having fun with friends, and creating a night of memories. It shouldn't be about spending $500+ on a dress you'll only wear once (that should be saved for your wedding day). It shouldn't be about who will be seen with whom. I can appreciate the the romance and the fun in guys making the 'grand gesture' by being creative with their prom invite. Trust me, I have a teenage daughter. The girls want the 'creative gesture'. They don't want to get their prom invite via text while their proposed date takes a 5 minute break from their video game.

I've known girls who've spent mega bucks on their prom dresses (or rather their parents did), but in the end I don't think they had any more fun at the prom because of it. A table with 10 students can still only fit so much dress material. Instead why don't we encourage our daughters to wear dresses that make them feel pretty? Of course, if the ball gown is what your daughter feels special in, then by all means that's the dress for her. It's not solely a money issue - to me it's more about encouraging your daughter to see the beauty she has when she wears a Red Wings shirt and a faded pair of jeans. And then encouraging her to enjoy the process of dressing up for a special night. Let's not send our daughters the wrong message ... the message that says they won't be pretty enough if they don't have 5# of glitz on their gown. Granted I loved Cinderella's dress - I'm a romantic at heart. One of my favorite shows is 'Say Yes To The Dress', but when I hear conversations like I did on the radio this morning I wonder where some people's motives are. The mother on the radio this morning when asked by the DJ why she was so concerned about it (that it was her daughter's night, not hers) simply stated, 'well, yes, it is about my daughter being the queen, but clearly that'll make me the queen's mom and I'm sure I'll be part of the festivities.'

So I apologize for feeling riled up, but that's the beauty of a blog. It's my opinion and I get to encourage constructive dialogue (hopefully). So what made your prom special? If you're female ... did you wear the dress of your dreams or a hand-me-down? If you're a guy ... did the dress your date wore make or break your prom night? What kind of dress are you hoping your daughter(s) will wear?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reality TV? It has its purpose.

It's been a wild week and I don't just mean the weather. Seems like every time I turn on the news this week there's been something bad to hear ... but it hasn't just been bad, it's been devastating news. The Boston Marathon bombings on Monday and this morning there was the fertilizer plant that exploded in Waco, TX. Crazy stuff. The kind of stuff that changes peoples lives in the blink of an eye. Watching a news report on TV is Reality TV in its purist form. But is all Reality TV bad? I don't think so. Let's take a minute and break it down.
When I think of the first Reality TV I watched it was probably Survivor. The first few seasons I was hooked, but then I missed a few seasons, and then I came back. At the time it seemed like Survivor's main competitor was The Amazing Race (which I can't say I ever watched, but know many people who were devoted fans.) Most Reality TV shows seem to have a main competitor. Let's see if I'm right ...
Survivor vs. Amazing Race ... American Idol vs. The Voice ...  Dancing With The Stars vs. So You Think You Can Dance (expect they don't usually run at the same time, which is nice).
Then there are a barrage of Food Network shows that are available at ANY time for your viewing pleasure: Chopped (one of my favorites), Diners Drive-Ins & Dives, Worst Cooks in America, Restaurant Impossible, Cupcake Wars, etc. etc.
One could say that reality shows are nothing new if you think back to This Old House, Trading Spaces, or Julia Child. Those are shows that were ahead of their time.
It's just my opinion, but reality shows can serve a purpose. Perhaps we feel we can relate to them more because the hosts or contestants aren't actors - they're regular people like you and me. But then there are the reality shows that are nothing more than video diaries (sort of a TV version of a gossip magazine). I know there must be people who watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo because I still see them advertised, but I just don't get those types of shows.
For me, some reality shows are like reading a book ... for the amount of time that I'm watching the show I get to escape into the other characters. For that 60 minutes I get to turn by brain off, quit making schedules, quit paying bills, and quit making plans. It's a win-win for me.

So what's your favorite Reality TV show? Duck Dynasty? Say Yes To The Dress? Biggest Loser? Which show draws you in and helps you to escape the realities of your life?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Appreciate The Moment

It’s been a crazy couple of days. My daughter is a high school senior. That being said, schedules with her final concerts, rehearsals, upcoming banquets, etc. have our calendar pretty full.

I spoke with another parent of a senior over the weekend as we were chaperoning the girls’ last jazz band competition. She commented about how everything seemed a bit surreal right now … the last one of this and the last one of that, starting to prep for a graduation party, college to do lists, etc.

There are times when I catch myself saying “just as soon as this or that is done I’ll squeeze in some time for something else.” Lately people will ask my daughter if she’s ready for her senior year in high school to be over with. To which she usually says, “If anything I’m trying to slow it down.” She’s looking forward to college and all the new things that’ll come with it, but at the same time she’s trying to enjoy every last minute of high school. These are times she’ll only experience once and the fact is – she’ll never get them back or have a chance to re-do them.

Yesterday we all experienced the tragic news of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Five minutes of horrific stories recanted on the news and I’m suddenly reprioritizing my day and my life. No one who trained for months to run in yesterday’s race or traveled to cheer on a family member expected their day to take on the course that it did. In reality we are sadly reminded that there are mean, selfish people everywhere. No one is immune to them. Unfortunately, we don’t have control over every aspect of our lives. I’m sure we all wish that we did, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t.

What can we do? In the grand scheme of things we can pray for those who were injured and pray for the families of those who were lost. We can tell our spouses to ‘drive safe’ when they leave in the morning. We can give our kids a hug and tell them we love them tonight when we tuck them in. We can be thankful for the roofs over our heads and the food we ate during the day. We can pray for those who are sick and wish them a full and speedy recovery. We can lend a helping hand to our neighbor. AND we can be thankful that we are alive and have daily stresses to deal with. It beats the alternative.

Today I will take a few minutes to look up at the blue sky that we’ve waited weeks for. I’ll smell the fresh air that is currently coming in my window. I will smile as I see a little child laughing outside. I will be thankful for right now and appreciate the moment.