Prom tradition carries on

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

It isn’t a commencement address, but prom is just as much a rite of passage as the graduation ceremony.

To you, high school students, we say congratulations! You made it. Yes, to graduation, but also to prom — that rent-a-tux or buy-a-dress moment that movies are made about, dreams are based on and memories are built. We hope you had a good time.

In a small-town area, prom has an even more special place because so many will leave to pursue their dreams. For the seniors, prom is the last hoorah before graduation and the great unknown to come; props to the school for holding it.

Of course, we adults know that it is probably as much a microcosm of life as any moment you have had so far.

Some will dance with the person they will marry — carrying that moment with them and telling the story and recalling what they felt in that moment with children and grandchildren. The story will be handed down with the tenderness of the kiss that will be the highlight of the account.

Others will get to tell their spouse — the one they met years later — about that person they went to prom with and how lucky they were to finally find the love of his or her life. Their memories of the prom — like the pictures — will be stuck somewhere and basically forgotten.

That’s life: some moments end up being everything we imagine they will be, while others that we thought eminent will just blend into what was nothing special.

But you don’t know. You might think you do, but you probably don’t.

We know that for a parent there is a part of you that wants to warn your child that it might not have turned out to be what he or she wanted, and if it didn’t that doesn’t mean anything bad — just that maybe what you want hasn’t arrived yet. But how do you tell someone who can’t see past the moment that it’s just one of so many more to come? Some lessons only time and life can teach.