The last Homecoming dance of my maternal career ended with the happy waft of laughter.
For a moment, I thought about grabbing my camera and heading back downstairs where Molly and her friends had gathered spontaneously to recap the night.
I knew exactly the kind of shots I’d take, the pile of shoes gathered by door, wilted corsages, sweatshirts and suit jackets tossed over gowns, happily bare feet.
I’d tucked myself in bed a good while before, but it wasn’t my bright red flannel PJs and gold Packer robe that kept me from tip toeing down the stairs for a few more photos.
I have no jammie shame.
I stayed put because, for once, my camera and I didn’t want to intrude.
We shot 189 pictures Saturday night and I loved them all, even the blurry ones. I loved the pre-shots that should have smelled of hairspray and nail polish, and sounded like cheerful compliments. “Oh my God, you look amazing!” “I love your dress!” “Where did you get your shoes? I love them!” “Oh my God Emma just left with my dress in her car!” “Do you want to borrow one of mine?” “Yay! Sam’s here!” “I made you all corsages.”
I loved the just-one-more-before-we-go shots on our front porch when everyone stood politely though they were anxious to get on with their evening.
I loved the big group shots, and the groups within the groups shots, and the goofy shots, the sweet shots, the parent shots, the just-one-more shots, the parting shots.
My 14th Homecoming Dance photo shoot went very much like my first.
I’ve shot Homecoming pictures in freezing weather, in backyards, in country clubs, on a river, in the park and, once, on an actual red carpet.
I’ve stood, 14 times, with groups of parents waving goodbye to girls in wobbly heels and boys in stiff shirt collars. I’ve both seen and participated in the quick slip of an extra buck or two, the sly repinning of a sagging boutonniere.
“Have fun!” “Be good.” “Be safe.”
When I heard our side door open late Saturday night, and loud whispers drifted up the stairs, I stayed put.
Turns out, my work was done.