Better yet-- they lived for themselves.
A few engagements, weddings, and babies later, we're what society calls "all grown up." But I see that girl in the prom photo and think, "Now that's a girl who can handle a board of directors meeting."
We forget these things so easily. We forget the innate talent that's within us when things get hard. We reach for security blankets instead of digging up the strength and tenacity that was in us the whole time. I know I do. When things become overwhelming I don't let myself breathe. I push myself to the brink and leave myself so dehydrated that I forget to thirst. That's what happens when you want it all- you try and do it all. It can be done, but it cannot be done alone.
Life these days is not so different from the days and weeks before prom. Before prom we all sat around Starbucks and made guesses on what boys would ask us. Looking back on the boys who agreed to take our group to prom-- you all were pretty damn brave. I salute each of you. We weren't easy to deal with. The fiances, husbands, and boyfriends of today would agree. We were a lot to handle...and still are.
But we sat around in uncertainty and worried about all the things that could go wrong. The wrong date, the ugly corsage (which would probably leave you dateless), a horrible up-do at the salon (definitely leave you dateless), and let's not forget the spray tan nightmares (no prom for you!). The reality that the day of prom I could wake up looking like a homeless oompa loompa kept me up all night. Always tomorrow's problems keeping me up tonight, even back then.
That's where I learn and relearn the true value of those friendships. Those girls are still the ones I call when I can't sleep. They were then and they are now my "phone a friend." The problems have changed, but the love is everlasting. They hold my hand all night. We've done it for one another so many times that we know exactly what to say to bring a smile back from the abyss. The words, "You're not alone" have never been so beautiful.
A few Aprils ago I had to say goodbye to two special people in my life. It all took place in the span of ten days and those girls were at my front door in Chicago, full of old photos, story telling, and celebrating the lives that were cut too short. We've traveled across the country for one another, and even made trips to Lake Shore Drive just to clear our heads at 2:30 am, Oreo McFlurries in hand.
They taught me how to become the woman I am today- and without them I would not be so strong. So tonight I want to acknowledge the gift that is having an extra pair of footprints walk this life with you. Because as much as we want to do it all, and do it all ourselves... we weren't made to do this alone.
Life is just like prom. Remember that you didn't get ready alone, and you didn't dance by yourself.
Treat your tomorrows like prom. Go fix your nails, nix the spray tan, and dance with your friends. Everything else will take care of itself. Remember that when it came down to it, your hair got sweaty and gross, your date was a bore, and all that mattered was a night with the people you love the most. That's why we're here. For moments like that. Go out and make more of them. Screw everything else.