See that photo of me? It’s me in the Kate Spade dress I was telling you about. Here I am at the dressmaker’s having it altered so I can wear it to Arabella’s Valedictory Dinner. After this fitting, I had it pressed and I bought a bracelet to wear with it.
Here’s me heading off to Arabella’s Valedictory Dinner. It might have escaped your attention, but I’m not wearing the Kate Spade dress.
I’m wearing an Alannah Hill dress that I bought over a year ago. You see, I showed the peacock-coloured dress to Arabella and she paused before saying, ‘Mum, I really like it, but I just don’t think it’s formal enough. ‘Val’ is really special mum and I think you should wear your Alannah Hill. It’s so pretty on you and it has those sparkles. It’s much more eveningish’.
And Carl agreed.
And remember this image I showed you of the dress Arabella begged me to buy her for Val?
Here she is leaving for ‘Val’.
No, that’s not the white dress. The night before Val she was over at a friend’s house working on a final school project that involved taking one of your school uniforms and painting on it, something symbolic of what’s helped you get through Year 12. Who comes up with these ideas? Arabella painted the Snapchat logo. Anyway, while there, her friend’s mother showed her all her old formal gowns. Arabella loved the black sequined dress the mother had worn to her Year 12 Formal all those years ago and next thing she was borrowing it for Val.
I have no words.
But the next day I did manage, ‘Happy Birthday!’ Yes, Arabella is now an adult – she’s 18.
Getting ready for Val was pressured as the girls had a full day of school leaving just a few hours to morph from school girl to princess. I collected Arabella from school and drove her to the mall where she had her make-up done by Bobbi Brown.
We then beetled back to our local shops where she had her hair done. Arabella wanted her hair pulled back into a slick bun. I sat watching the hairdresser at work and texted my friend who has a daughter at a similar school who also had a formal that night. I said, ‘Her hair is being pulled back into a very ordinary bun that is so basic I could have done it with two severed hands and they want to charge me $120?’ (Dear God, please do not let Carl read this).
My sympathetic and very understanding friend had just returned from her daughter’s visit to the hairdresser and said, ‘Yep, it’s crapola’.
As I reluctantly handed over my credit card the hairdresser tried to soften the blow by saying, ‘Your daughter’s so pretty. Is she a model?’ No, nothing. I felt nothing. Nothing but the full sting of that $120.
We arrived home with just a few minutes spare for me to do my own hair and my own make-up in a bathroom with a blown light bulb.
Archie drove us to the venue at the University of New South Wales. Despite being financially ruined, Carl and I were in great shape and determined to have a wonderful night. At least we weren’t in tears as so many mothers and daughters had been. We were seated with some lovely friends of Arabella’s and their parents and right beside me was the math’s teacher. Not a lot in common there I’m afraid.
The banquet chairs were the worst I’ve experienced; black plastic with metal rims that were cold and hard. The service wasn’t too good and the food disappointing but the night was all about the girls and after the dinner and after the speeches they were individually presented on stage and given a graduation certificate and a ring. They then stood in a big group and for the last time together, sang the school’s hymn.
It was a very moving and special time and Arabella said, ‘It’s been my best birthday ever’.