Tess had prom. Senior prom. We are in the home stretch. My little squeak. My Fifi Trixibell. Our baby squirrel is graduating. Right now it’s all a jumble of stress, anxiety, fun, laughter, madness. There are days I can’t wait for it to be over. There are nights, every night, where I want so desperately to turn back time. Why do they have to grow up? I can’t breath.

It is a damn good thing my body makes me breath. Even in the moments where I truly think I can’t, I breath. And then I take another breath. Slowly I keep going, onto the next thing. The next step closer to graduation and flying the coop. Not that Tess is ready. Almost. She is getting there.

Our college visits helped. Despite the main school being a complete bust, it turned out to help Tess find her direction. She is, as they say, finding her bliss. She hates it when I share this, I wish she didn’t mind, I personally am in awe of her talents. But. She hates it. What I can share is that she is looking at a theatrical direction. Costuming? Make-up? Those all appeal to her. I am thrilled she is finding her way.

This next year will be a gap year. She will find a part-time job, and it’s looking like I’m getting my third Starbucks barrista in the house. Woot. She will do some traveling with mom. She will try online classes. Hybrid classes and intense language classes. She has almost committed to attending a 6-week intensive Dutch course in Holland. Out of the nest, but still with family. Baby steps. I am so okay with that.

But first. Senior Prom. They went as a group. A date is not really a thing anymore. She bought her own ticket. Bought a dress to just please herself. She went with a group of kids just like her. Not clones, but independent, confident, giggly kids. I tagged along. I know! It sounds weird! It wasn’t.

I didn’t go to the actual Prom, at least not in-the-door-go. I tagged along as the group photographer. Dave & I dropped Tess off at the pre-Prom restaurant. Sushi. What else? And found ourselves seated only a table away, with another set of parents, scarfing down our plates of sushi. Occasionally I got up to take photo’s of the sushi-eating, but mostly I ignored them. It was bad lighting, and they were giggling & so happy, they didn’t need me right there.

Sidenote: Because. They drank champagne. These 17 & 18 year olds had champagne for their Senior Prom. Not a lot, I think it was a bottle, maybe two shared with all of them. Not that they ordered it, but the owner was so excited for them. For their Prom. For their beautiful outfits. That he sent champagne to their table (and ours). It’s a little different than an American Prom but it made their night to raise their glasses & clink them. One more step closer to becoming adults.

All grown-up, champagne in hand.

The Brat Pack

Chinese Garden Stuttgart

Even with not one, but two, real camera’s selfies must be taken.

Apparently, they are the Stuggy Gang (get it???) and this is the gang sign.

My partner in crime

The sun came out & they are all just soooooooo beautiful.

The three dapper boys. Men!

One last group shot.

My beautiful girl

And a little outtake… who knew they knew John Denver?