It hardly seems possible that my daughter is old enough to graduate from high school, but on the 20th I attended her graduation ceremonies and watched her walk across the stage in a cap and gown. The ceremonies we attended were just the formal celebration. She still has several weeks left of school.
My daughter and I spent weeks working on her dress and finding the perfect jewellery and shoes. She had a clear vision in her head of exactly how she wanted to look. There was no talk of sophisticated or glamourous. She just wanted to be modest and look like a princess. She also didn't want to look like the other girls. In the end she loved her dress and still wants to find excuses to wear it. She chose a dark green satin with a black, embroidered organza overlay. That alone made her different, since most of the dresses were brighter colors. The fact that she also chose a modest sleeve also made her stand out.
When I began making the dress, I chose not to take the normal shortcuts I usually take to keep the cost down for clients. The layers of lace and satin in the bodice were hand-basted together. I chose to add an inner layer of flannel to give the bodice some body and also to provide a place to attach the boning so it wouldn't be visible on the finished dress. This layer was also hand basted in. Once we got the bodice just right, the skirt went in easily. There was a crinoline attached to the dress and, just out of curiosity, we measured the length and found that the circumference of the crinoline hem was 500". We could stretch it from one end of the house to the other. The finishing touches were the brooch she found on clearance and the 1,500 Swarovski crystals we attached to the hem. You can't really see them in the picture, but when she moved, the crystals caught the light just right. It was a lot of work, but so worth it. The happiness in her face was the best payment I've ever received for a dress.
When I graduated I wondered why the school held grad so early. As a parent, I see the logic behind the decision. There were dresses and dates to find, hair and nails to be done, and general excitement on top of the many activities the kids planned. I don't think many of the graduates focused on school work the whole week. Now that the fun is all over, they have to buckle down for the real work. Departmentals - a government exam given in each of the core subjects and worth 50% of the final grade - are coming and bringing with them all the stress of studying. I can't imagine how hard the tests would be if the weeks before were taken up with grad preparations.
I'm so proud of my daughter and all she has accomplished. One of the speakers said that graduation is just the beginning, and I can't wait to see what she does with her talents and abilities. She'll definitely go far. At the same time, I am still trying to figure out how she is old enough to graduate. I think we get closer to being the same age all the time.