In these special interludes, it feels like every conversation is memorable. Each decision is right. Any dream can come true.
I’ve had only a handful of such transformative experiences over the years, but I still remember every second of every one of them. This weekend, I shared another at a very special party in New York.
Our family is lucky to have nine nieces and nephews who bring unique gifts to our collective lives. I’m spellbound, and at times terrified, to see how quickly time has passed as the cuddly babies we cherished over the years have become, and are becoming, amazing individuals.
Friday night was the celebration of my youngest niece’s 16th birthday, coming up in a few days, a rite of passage she has anticipated with excitement for years.
I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never been to a Sweet 16 party. My only reference until now was a raucous MTV show where rich, spoiled brats whine and throw tantrums on their big day unless a hot, teen idol performs for a few hundred guests, or Daddy spends a bucketload on a surprise Mercedes Benz.
Well, none of that applies here. My niece’s party theme was Winter Wonderland, an effect she and her mother achieved at a local golf club with glittery party lights, flickering candles, and breathtakingly beautiful seasonal decorations.
Amid that glamorous backdrop I watched a poised, classy, young woman in snowy taffeta and sparkly silver heels come of age — sweeping into the room to applause, and then — in front of all her friends — praising her parents for the blessings they have brought into her life.
She thanked them for the lessons they’ve taught. And for the example they’ve been. And then went on similarly to thank her inner circle for their friendship, and family and other close friends for their love and appreciation. And then a special dance with her dad.
Those of us who have been there and gone know that 16 is young. The future holds a lot more firsts. The road won’t always be smooth. And in a wink you find yourself on your own.
But at least for that night, this was her unforgettable moment. With elegance and grace, amid smiles and happy tears, in the wintery glitter of a thousand tiny white lights, it was perfect. And so was she.