A Formal Frenzy - Part 2
THIS IS PART 2 of a long, long story. PART 1 IS HERE! (click)
Saturday, 3:58pm - A Young Woman shows up, early!!!!!!!! Not fair, because we hadn't vacuumed, but at 4:02, our house was ready! You didn't think we'd make it, did you? Ahhhh, let's get this party started! I asked her what she was wearing, and she showed me.
Saturday, 4:10pm - another YW arrives (It is THE Girl #2) She is wearing the skirt with a t-shirt, since I had the top. The first YW looks out the window and says, "Oh, I like her skirt!" No joke, I turned to Husband and we did a huge fist pump to each other. Success!!!!!!!!!!! Waves of relief washed over me. Someone liked it.
Wish I could show you her hair/ make-up. She did it so pretty! It's okay to be impressed :) The monochromatic look was her pick, but that was the point. Something for her to love!
Saturday, 4:12pm - another YW arrives. The three girls are setting up their hair and makeup stations. My house is awesome for this type of thing. Tons of natural light, and 4 different outlets all in my living room! The girls are giggly. This is a good sign.
Saturday, 4:15pm - another YW arrives. I ask her what she brought to wear. She pulls out a black lace tank dress, that only has lace for a back. Not modest. Not going to work. I make a little face and she says, "Oh I brought a cardigan, don't worry." She then pulls out the cardigan. It's a black lace cardigan (read: see-through). I tell her that she needs to go try it on. She comes back, and between the two laces, it's not going to be okay. She's not even wearing a tank top underneath it all, so we can see her undergarments! She then pulls out ANOTHER cardigan, one that is solid black. She puts it in, and it is fine. I think she looks great and tell her so. She says to me, "I don't want to look like I'm going to a funeral." Nothing will convince her otherwise (despite the fact that others are wearing all black!). So, she calls her mom telling me that she just won't go to the dance!!!! (This is a 100% true story.) When her parents arrive, I run out of the house following her. They explain they have just come from the store and they cannot find anything modest for her. I tell them she has an outfit that works, she just doesn't want to wear it. That we want her to go to the dance. That everyone will be so disappointed, etc. We go back and forth and they say she just won't go. Now, knowing the back-story on this family, I knew it would be a turning point for them. If she didn't go to the dance. I wasn't sure that I would see her at church again. I began to feel desperate. I ran back into my house and told someone to run after her to truly let her know that she would be missed. They did and came back saying that the family was going to go find something else. By 4:30pm she was gone. This was all in 15 minutes!
Saturday, 4:34pm - text message to Husband "I said no to the dress so [Girl X] left. Trying not to cry." Husband saw the dress right before he left to run an errand and then left me to fend for myself :( He went to get dinner.....remember we have a cooking problem when I'm busy?
Talk about awkward! The party continued, though deep down I was so worried about the situation. I knew I had done the right thing to say no to the immodest clothes, but it was hard. I also knew that 1000 other leaders had done the same thing, but it really didn't change my worry. I really, really love these young women, and I really really wanted her to come to the dance. This was the first big youth activity that these kids had been a part of. I knew it was a big moment for the youth of the branch. A chance for them to feel some unity and pride. I also knew that I couldn't lie to her and say it was okay only to drive an hour to the dance and then be told "No admittance" when we arrived.
Saturday, 4:35pm - phone call to Girl X. We brainstormed an outfit of Girl X's that we knew was modest and formal enough. A YW called just to touch base and suggest it to Girl X.
Saturday, 4:40pm - besides Girl X, I'm missing several young women who I was expecting to come. I start making phone calls. The other girls are curling their hair, singing to music, having a fun time. Success.
Saturday, 4:45pm - I have a private laugh with myself as I hear all of the girls discussing cosmetology school and how they ALL want to attend (but not too many years, because they're really interested in science as well). haha, teenagers!
Saturday, 4:55pm - phone call to Girl X. I call Girl X and she says to me "I'm just not going to go." I said, "oh", and then she said "Just kidding." I could have died, she really got me. She says she is coming back. Oh yay, ecstatic-ness. I was so relieved. That might have been when I started getting ready myself.
Saturday, 5:00pm - Young Men arrive to carpool......15 minutes early! Yeah, totally not ready.
Saturday, 5:05pm - Girl X returns. Her dad bursts through my front door red in the face saying, "If this doesn't work, then I am just taking her home!" The dress was a few inches above the knee, but I didn't get a good look so I just said, "Yes, it works". Luckily, when I looked later, it was okay. I go back out to the car to talk to the parents. They confess that money is a key problem for them and they don't have a lot of money for clothes, making it hard to find modest ones. Girl X felt like everyone had been laughing at her (no one had), etc. I commend them for their commitment to modesty and listen to them/ provide damage control for another 10-15 minutes. Leadership is NOT easy. It takes a lot of energy to truly listen to others' "hidden sorrows", and build them back up. Between the two times, this has taken over 30 minutes of my attention. I was afraid the youth would be waiting on me to leave for the dance because I'm not dressed, or make-up-ed, or hair pinned!
Saturday, 5:15pm - We are supposed to leave, but don't :)
Saturday, 5:20pm - another YW arrives and starts to curl her hair? Where was she the past hour? Oh well, it gave me time to finish up myself. She also brought a "friend" from school.
Saturday, 5:45pm - We take pictures outside. I was SO proud. The youth looked awesome. I really think they were some of the best dressed at the dance (and 100% modest). I'd show a picture, but I'd have to try to cut all of their heads off, and they're not the same height, etc.
This is me and my last minute get-up! A Youth took the picture, so it's the best that I have.
Saturday, 5:55pm - We finally leave for the dance!
Saturday, 6:04pm - text message to Husband. "I love you. thank you so much for your help! Enjoy your movie. Love you, love you, love you! Thank you again." My spouse really is my better half. I amazed at how well we work together and at the amount of amazing experiences we pull off together. Watching a movie all by himself was just what he needed!
Saturday, 6:23pm - We take the wrong exit (I wasn't driving!). This is so funny. I was saying "Exit A", but the way you pronounce the alphabet in English vs. Spanish confused the driver, so it rhymed with how you say B (Bay). A is ah. We all got a really good laugh. Yay for language barriers! Okay, more for working on removing them!
Saturday, 6:32pm - We arrived at the dance! THE dance! And it did NOT disappoint. They had a professional photographer, food in 3 themed rooms, and of course a rockin' dance floor with projectors, etc. The three rooms were Paris, Mexico, and Italy. They had so much detail that they even had chandeliers hanging from ceilings, and painted murals, and cafe tables/ chairs with umbrellas inside. We greeted friends, went and got our professional picture taken, danced, and ate some food. Somehow we started in the dessert room first, which doesn't have to be a bad thing ;) I just hadn't eaten anything for many hours......are you seeing a pattern here?
I said I was going to find the meatball room and Girl X offered to come with me (because I'm a girl, and I guess girls aren't allowed to go anywhere alone, or maybe she pitied me as a leader?). With this one-on-one time, I apologized about how things had been handled earlier regarding the dress. I wasn't sure there was anything to apologize for, but I wanted to make sure things were okay. Well, the floodgates opened and Girl X was the most talkative/ open about her life that she ever has been to me! I learned all sorts of things about her and her home life. Some things I knew, but I learned the why and how behind them. I told her that I wanted to help her find modest clothing and that I would help her with her wardrobe. I figured with my sewing expertise (ha) that we could add sleeves here and there and a ruffle to the bottom of some of her dresses, etc.
I was surprised when she actually seemed to be excited. Girl X has had a reputation of immodesty for many years. I always figured it was because she didn't want to be modest, but I learned that was not the case. Who knew? It was a great moment for us and I feel like I understand her needs a lot better to help her (because she's got a complicated situation going on at home, okay let's be honest, they all do).
Saturday, 8:10pm - text message to Husband in the coat room. "Hon I really hurt. Love you. Kids feel like a million bucks. [Girl #2] has gotten a lot of compliments. Had one on one with [Girl X]. All is well." I've had moderate health issues for the past 6 weeks. Miraculously the best I have felt was from receiving Girl #1's phone call on Thursday to now. Heavenly Father blessed me to get these youth to the dance. Once they were taken care of, boom, right back to the pain. I spent 10 minutes in the coat room away from the hustle and bustle and loud music. I was disappointed that I still had 2 hours to go, because I was tired.
Saturday, 8:25pm - While in the middle of dancing to a song, one of the girls starts shrieking uncontrollably. It turns out the mission president's son had texted her that he wanted to dance with some of the girls in the branch. Mass pandemonium breaks out. Eye roll from me.
Saturday, 8:40pm - I bounced my hair poof out of place, so I went to the bathroom. What am I, 15? Husband wasn't even there to look good for. I'm not that kind of girl, but honestly I wanted an excuse to leave the youth and rest.
Saturday, 8:45pm - Coming out of the bathroom, I am recognized. "Hey, you're the lady who taught us the dances for Youth Conference (read here). Tonight I was even using some of those dance moves!" It was someone from the other stake that we don't live in, so we never see them anymore. Not going to lie, it melt my heart, and made all of that work/ anguish/ exhaustion/ missed meals :) worth it! I actually was also recognized by other leaders in other stakes from the Youth Conference as well, but a grateful youth was so much more meaningful!
Saturday, 8:50 - back in the coat room. I think it was the only place in the church with fresh air!
Saturday, 9:07 - overheard conversation as I walk back to check on the youth.
Girl - "The boy I like is dancing with someone else!!!!"
Friend - "Well you should cut-in or something."
Girl - "What is he doing?"
Friend - "Seriously, cut-in! People get married from meeting at dances and doing stuff like this."
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, enough said. Seriously? Was I like this at this age? Oh, I was? Ok, I was normal.
Saturday, 9:45pm - The last song is announced. Yay! I had spent the previous 40 minutes talking to another leader friend of mine.
Saturday, 10:09pm - The closing prayer is given after the "fireside", a spiritual meeting that was held after the dance. With the lights on, we take a few pictures in front of the "moon" backdrop on the stage. I make an announcement that church starts at 8am and everyone better be there, because I will be. (84% came, if you were wondering, and that is a minor miracle AND the non-LDS "friend" came!)
Saturday, 10:33pm - departure from dance.
Saturday, 11:15pm - home sweet home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to my loving hubby!
And this is why when I say I've been "busy", I REALLY MEAN IT. I love the branch. I love to serve the Lord. It's never easy, but it is ALWAYS deeply gratifying. It's a war zone, but anyone who thinks saving souls is easy, hasn't saved a soul.