14th of February, a date that runs shivers down the spine of many many poor people. The day of love, the day of great expectations and more important, the day of the Nico Malan High Schools Valentines Ball.
Rosie comes bouncing home.
“Mom, I have been invited to the Valentines Ball”
“Thats great Rosie, who are you going with?”
Well it turns out its the young man she sits next to in class, and she is always telling us how he makes her laugh ….. she is going with a good oke.
“Mom ……… I need a dress”
“Cant you wear the one you wore last year?” (it hasnt been worn since the 14th of February 2014).
A look of horror crosses her face. “NO-MOM-I-NEED-A-NEW-DRESS!”
“Lets ask your dad”
A long 5 hours pass till Dad gets home and he is accosted when he walks into the door.
“Dad, please can I get a new dress for the Valentines Ball?” (Dads get “please” Moms just get “Can I”).
Frans looks at me with wide eyes and pulls me into the grocery cupboard. In a low whisper he says “cant she wear the dress she wore last year, it hasn’t been touched for a year”.
A look of horror passes my face, “NO-DAD-SHE-NEEDS-A-NEW-DRESS”.
He steps out of the cupboard. “Of course my sweetheart Mom will take you to get one over the weekend”.
So off we hightail to Port Elizabeth to buy a new dress. My heart is in my tummy. Her fingers are on her phone getting pictures of what her friends dresses are like just to make sure no two girls rock up in the same dress.
First port of call YDE, the shop of choice for young, skinny, size 0 girls looking for fab dresses. She goes up and down the isles and selects dresses. I go up and down the isles to select dresses.
Eventually we have a Table Mountain size pile to be tried on. Only 4 items allowed in the changing room so I sit outside guarding the balance of possibilities.
“Rosie can I see?”
“No this one is too big, this one too small, this one I look like someone from “the sound of music” (didnt know she had seen it), this one too blue, this one too ….. too. After trying on approximately 2 million and 12 dresses she prances out.
“Right lets go to the next shop………….”
Edgars, Truworths, Vibes and every single square meter of shopping space of Greenacres is walked. And remember Greenacres is the Largest Shopping Centre in Port Elizabeth.
Too shiny, too expensive (we had a budget), to big, too small, too yellow, too ….. NO!!
Eventually we find ourselves back in front of YDE.
Somehow the dress that was too ………. too …… too ….. something, has morphed into the perfect got to have dress. Me, exhaused and about 10kg’s lighter just smiles.
The dress is perfect, she looks like a million bucks, its on sale and well within the budget, but most important the dress is totally appropriate.
Skip forward to the BIG DAY. I have no idea how any learning was done on Valentines day. Everyone is abuzz with the up and comming evening. Slooooooooowly 2 pm arrives and fiiiiiiiinally the bell rings.
Now Rosie is lucky enough to have a friend whose Mom is the best hairdresser ever. And she has closed her Salon so that she can do 7 girls hair and makeup. Boy does she make the girls feel special, drinks, eats and all sorts of bobs and bits to put into the hair do’s.
The afternoon goes past calmly and eventually all the girls are made up, perfumed up, hair do’ed up and they get dressed up. They all look like a million bucks.
Frans phones. “What time are you comming though to Humansdorp?”
A big part of the whole evening is all the parents comming to watch their kids all dressed up going into the School Hall for an evening of …………. dressed uppedness.
It is poring with rain.
I say, “be outside the girls hostel between 6.30 and 7.00 pm”
He hears, “I will phone you when they are ready”.
Now tradition has it that all the boys congregate outside the Hostel waiting for their dates. It is really bucketing down and there are about 100 young men all wearing ties, holding a rose or chocolates, at the hostel security gates. All the girls are inside doing their last minute primping and taking last minute “selfies”, the girls primp and the boys wait. At last the girls come out and are given their flowers and off they walk the last 100 meters to the school hall for the dance.
All the parents are there. Snapping away and smiling with pride. NO FRANS!!!
Eventually off the kids go and I run to the car. I pick up my phone ………… 126 missed calls … all from Frans. Now I have to phone him to tell him that he has missed seeing his daughter all primed up and looking really really pretty, all because of bad communication.
It wasn’t a good phone call.
After the call I look up and see, thank goodness, that although it is pouring with rain the kids are all sort of congregating OUTSIDE the hall. I phone Frans “get here quickly they haven’t gone in yet”
I go running down to the school, and I cant see Rosie anywhere. Now I am in a state, add to this cream, beige, nude and white are the in colors for this years dance and all the girls are looking very similar (note to self she wears red to the next dance).
A sopping wet Frans arrives, and as she is about to step into the foyer we spot Rosie and Joshua and rush up to them. THANK GOODNESS WE DID IT. Joshua immediately came and shook hands with OOM Frans, Frans got to see his daughter looking beautiful and going to the dance in safe hands, these are big deals for the Dad of the daughter in the beautiful dress. I took a photo of Dad and Daughter, the flash didnt go off, I didnt focus properly ………… it is the best photo I have ever taken.
A very good moment for our family.