On the Night Before Your First Middle School Dance

November 14, 2013

I sit by you as the small Asian woman rips strips of wax and cheesecloth from your upper lip. The Indian part of you is self-conscious about that dark, fuzzy upper lip and on the day before a girl’s first middle school dance, there should be no room for self-conscious.

What there is room for is my body beside you, gripping your hand, as I watch you bear the sting of beautiful.

We buy blue snazzy nail polish and I take you to our favorite pizzeria for lunch. We talk about the weather and boys I used to like and decide that after lunch, you need not return to class. I nibble on the little crusts you leave behind. Instead, we’ll pick up some favorites at the swanky chocolate shop and return home to do a hot oil hair treatment. Those curls deserve pampering.

When you get home, you ask to go outside to swing a bit, and I watch you from the kitchen as you soar into November. I see your mouth moving, and I know you are singing, so I open the window, wishing for sound. You always deliver, in that husky voice too old for you, and I agree with you and Taylor: I knew that boy was trouble when he walked in. Shame on me.

You tumble in with rosy cheeks and I put warm oil on your effervescent curls. God, curls like that.

Someone texts you and you look down at the screen and smile. Damn, you are beautiful.

I look at you, the evening before your first middle school dance, and wish so much for you and tumble into my own past.

I wish for you.

I wish for that boy who approaches, biting his lip and gazing down at the floor.

I wish for that hopeful flicker in your eyes, the way you can’t help but smile at the ground at the sight of him.

I wish for your satin curls to greet his shoulder, shy and soft.

I wish for the music that you feel in your head and in your chest, desperately wanting.

Desperately wanting the moment that is now and the things to come that you don’t have a name for.

I’m wishing that. For you.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon November 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Bearing the sting of beautiful. Wow.
Oh, middle school dances. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall? I hope it goes well for her and that it is all she hopes it to be.


Camille Brightsmith November 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I am all chocked up. Thank you.


erin margolin November 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm

desperately wanting….
i listened today.
i hope you’re feeling okay.



Katybeth November 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm

♥ No words.


Kim Jorgensen Gane November 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

“…soar into November.”


Spectacular and poetic, as always.


Tiffany November 14, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Here’s hoping for all that and more!


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me November 14, 2013 at 8:25 pm

My current hormonal imbalances leave me no choice but to cry. You – and she – are both just lovely. I hope she has a wonderful time.


Kim Bongiorno Let Me Start By Saying November 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I could drink this up and it would make me glow.
So, so beautiful.


Camille Brightsmith November 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm

choked! ;) I really loved this. Too blurry eyed to type.


Kristin Shaw November 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Beautiful post; so evocative. It both reminded me of my middle school dances and projected how I might feel if I had a child in that age range.


Alison November 15, 2013 at 4:07 am

Oh, just stunning, Dana. Truly. xo


Sherri November 15, 2013 at 6:02 am

Teary :) – and wishing your girlie a fun middle school dance.


Erica November 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

I’m wishing too.


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon November 15, 2013 at 7:33 am

Stop making me cry damn it.


Kristen @ Motherese November 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

There is so much here about love and memory and promise. You are a beautiful soul with two beautiful girls. May this evening be one to remember – for all the right reasons. xo


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri November 15, 2013 at 8:34 am

Aww, Kitch. This piece. Your words. Her anticipation. Oh, I hope it is a night full of wonder. xoxo


Rob November 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

What a special day together. I hope her night was just as special.
Beautifully written.


Cathy November 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

I echo all the comments above – lovely, choking me up, tearing me up. Pretty much sums up parenting – wishing…


SuziCate November 16, 2013 at 8:54 am

You are such a beautiful mom…I’m thinking of the treasure of these words (and so mant of your other posts) that will be held in your daughters’ hearts for all their lives.


S in AK November 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

As she wavers on that tapering ledge of her childhood, I hope that all your wishes for her come true.


Caitlin November 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm

so precious. you are such a great mom!


Stephanie November 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm

This was beautiful. I hope she had a great time and that she told you all about it!


Jenna March 22, 2017 at 11:23 am

Wow. I haven’t been to your blog (or anyone’s!) in years … my first visit back and you’re making me cry (real tears) at my desk. You have a magical connection with words. I love your writing.


Dana Talusani March 23, 2017 at 7:39 pm

I am so glad to see you! I’m guilty of the same thing. I know there is Alice, but I don’t know beyond Alice. I would love an update on your life and where you are going. xo


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