Skipping back to June let’s revisit Kristen’s prom and her graduation. From the top of her gorgeous hair to the bottoms of those Converse sneakers hiding under her dress Kristen glittered and dazzled.  We delighted in recording these milestones for her as she enjoyed her time in the spotlight.

I took a vacation day to spend with Kristen while she got ready for her prom.  It was such a beautiful day out and she had hoped to get pictures taken at the beach near our home.  The first photos are just of her as her companion/date was missing in action.  It turns out he was waiting for her at a different beach and both were momentarily puzzled as to why they couldn’t see each other.  It didn’t take long to realize that Branden was waiting at a beach a few kilometers from us!

Posing for the camera

Thanks to cellphones and texting, the confusion was sorted out and Branden finally joined us. When they arrived Branden presented Kristen with a gorgeous corsage. It was instant love. The flowers were Kristen’s favourite colour (can you guess? It’s pink!), there was added bling just for her AND there was a beautiful gentle scent of roses. It was one of her favourite accessories and it sits in a place of honour in her room.

A little bling

The bracelet is “something borrowed”, borrowed from and also worn by cousin Meaghan when she graduated a few years ago. The earrings were made by an Irish relative in Northern Ireland who designs jewellery and accessories.

Kristen and friend Branden

Another peek at Kristen’s gorgeous hairdo:

Kristen's beautiful hairdo

A few family members stopped by to see Kristen and Branden so they got in for some photos too. This photo shows Branden’s younger sister posing beside him (check out their family dimples! So adorable) and behind Kristen is her aunt and nana while her little cousin is in front of her.

Family join in

Here are a few more photos of Kristen with her aunt and nana from later in the day. Before the actual prom the students gather in the atrium of a shopping/business area and then parade for family and friends. Prior to that march however everyone is jam-packed into a small area, milling around and snapping lots of photos. Two of these photos were taken there while waiting for the parade to start.

Kristen with family

The middle photo is with Kristen’s nana and poppa, taken right after she graduated.  Kristen had to return the gown immediately following grad and she was dashing out the door to catch the safe grad bus leaving to take the kids to safegrad celebrations at the high school. She disappeared into the night as soon as we took that picture.

Kristen discovered a kindred spirit in that throng of prom go-ers ~ another girl sporting Converse sneakers!  Matching her dress!


Next up is the prom march…or what I call the gauntlet. A couple of hundred onlookers (a conservative estimate) line a path by which the prom attendees walk. It can be overwhelming even for those used to the spotlight let alone anyone who is quiet or prefers staying behind the scenes. You can see on Kristen’s face that even she was shocked by the sheer size of the crowd gathered to watch the parade.

The gauntlet!

We were lucky with the mild weather and enjoyable evening. The parade went outside the building and gave the audience lots of room and fresh air. A previous night’s graduating class paraded inside and through the hall when pouring rain cramped their plans. It was hot and terribly squished for everyone. But for us it was a lovely night outside and there wasn’t too much jostling for room among the crowd.

(By the way, you two… that arm thing you have going on? The guy is supposed to be the lead and Kristen, you should be taking his arm! Fortunately this was a training run for Branden’s grad in 2 years. Kristen blessed him with this opportunity so his turn will be perfect)

The march ends inside the ballroom where visitors are invited in to watch the first dance. It is tradition that the grad have the first dance with a parent. This was news to me but John and Kristen both knew about it. Finding your child in that tangle of people though…everyone spreading out and looking for the parent or child? Whew! I think everyone matched up in time for the first dance. The dance floor was packed like sardines and elbows and hips bounced off other people at every turn or move. That first dance (and I can’t remember the song…) lasted a long time as you can see by Kristen’s face. She wasn’t there to dance with her Dad (sorry Dad)! Like all the other teens, she wanted the loud new music to rock out to!

First dance with her father

The next night was graduation. Nana and Poppa came with us. These two deserve a medal. This was their 9th graduation at the same place. Some years back they attended the graduations of all 6 kids and in the last couple of years, watched 3 of their grandchildren pass through the same doors.  They also attended another grandchild’s graduation in Fredericton the previous night. Hey, only 8 more to go ~ they got a “2 in 1” deal with our two. They both graduated the same year and only one opted for the activities!

Kristen and a Friend now graduated!

Safe grad was a blast according to Kristen, when I picked her up the following morning at the cruel hour of 6 am. That was a nasty final surprise for me ~ kudos for keeping that one quiet for so long guys! It was only after the grad ceremony when another parent was lamenting the early rise n’ shine the next day to pick up her grad that I learned how safe grad kids were getting home!!

The safe grad committee outdid themselves in giving the kids an outstanding night. There was a ride-on bull, a casino, a games centre, a blown-up obstacle course…and food. Lots and lots of food stations: pizza, ice-cream & sundaes, the chocolate fountain ~ you name it, it was there. Kristen loved it. I know we slept easily on grad night knowing our daughter was safe.  Thank you to the organizers ~ you deserve a standing ovation!

Finally…a  favourite photo of Kristen. I think of it as her off to chase her dreams.