The one where I get teary-eyed

I went to our local pizza place on Sunday night to pick up dinner, and discovered that's when the local high school shows up to eat together.

The noise hit me in the parking lot. But I waded in, knowing that I had a to-go order ready and waiting.

The line was a mile long. I got nervous that our pizza would be cold toast by the time I paid for it. But an alert cashier herded me up to the secret extra register, ahead of all the teenagers. As I stood in line, Helen watched everyone. She didn't even seem fazed by the decibel level. I guess it's nothing compared to a room full of 2-year olds.

I literally got antsy just standing there, waiting in all of that crowded noise. I wanted to pay and leave and just breathe. Finally, I scored my pizza and as I headed out, another older lady was taking her pizza to go, too. We both smiled as we made it out of the door. "Wow, that was crazy, huh?" I said to her as I headed to my car. "I thought I had it rough today with a fussy toddler, but that was so much louder."

"It won't be long until she's one of them," she replied, pointing to Helen.

I recoiled in horror. Helen? A teenager? NO WAY.

And then it occurred to me, YES WAY. She's getting older every single day, and one morning I'm going to wake up and take her to the nail salon so she can get a manicure for her prom. I'm going to freak out when I look at her, all dressed up and ready to go. When she trips a little coming down the stairs in her high heels, I'm going to remember the time she first crawled up those stairs. Or the first pair of shoes I bought her. Or all the times I put her hair in pigtails.

I'm also going to be wondering why Brian is muttering in the corner, cleaning that shotgun.

But really, she's growing FAST. I see little babies at daycare and can barely remember bringing her at that age. I've looked at hundreds of pictures of her during that first year and it's such a blur. None of it seems real. Did we actually buy a house and paint and put in new carpet and move in, while I held her the entire time? The second year is whizzing by even faster. Talking, potty training, Barbie. There it goes. Don't blink!

So my question is this: if I buy her prom dress now, will it cost me less because of inflation, or will it cost me more, because geez Mom, that's like, SO not the style right now? (eyes roll, heavy sigh) Because at this rate, it'll feel like she needs it next year.

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