Parenting & Relationships

Same Dress, Different Events

From attending my first prom a few weeks ago, I just attended –well, also planned and executed (with a lot of help)–the debut or 18th birthday of my firstborn daughter, Jamie! It is quite ironic, I really do think (right, Alanis)?

Jamie didn’t want a fancy coming out party, opting to get a travel package (which we still have yet to plan). She did want to have a simple party with her friends. Then, a friend of hers, who also turned 18 this February, joined forces with her and they planned their own party. They rented a house/venue via AirBnB, scheduled the party after dinner (supposed to save on food) and proceeded to invite people. They had a hundred total in their guest list, and the final attendee list was around 70-80+. Still a big group of people.  They bought alcohol – hey they’re 18 – and chips and planned to have pizza delivered.

Enter the parents (us) and suddenly, it became bigger. In the sense that of course, we needed to remind them of things they might have missed.  Like renting tables and chairs (they didn’t think about that), and having more food because even if it was after dinner, their parties usually last into the wee hours of the morning, so people will definitely get hungry. There was alcohol as well, so people would want to have munchies while drinking. We also offered to have people there to help out in cooking and serving people, carrying stuff, etc.  So, since hubby and I were the parents we were, what ended up happening was that we also bought stuff for the party – prepared additional food and hired people to cook and serve during the first part of the party. After a certain time though, everyone had to leave and let the kids have their party.  We didn’t want to prevent them from having fun due the presence of other people there. Yes, we are that kind of parents.

The next day was THE FAMILY version of the party. And this time, it was all us (mostly me) who planned. My daughter just had to attend.  We had it in our house, had it catered (thanks to Wendy Rivera and Chelsea’s Little Kitchen), and we invited a limited number of people–family and close family friends. I asked my nephew, Jamby Santos, to help plan and host the program and it turned out to be an unforgettable mini-debut party!

I had a cake made with my Jamie’s favorite movie as theme: Burlesque! Look at the cake, isn’t it adorable?  She loved it, by the way. Thanks to Kyna Jureidini of Bravissimo for executing my suggestions flawlessly.

Jamie was still tired and hung over from the previous party, so she only woke up and prepared when she had to (which was like, a few minutes before the formal start of the party), and once she went down, the photographers (Thanks Tats and Mary Ferrer) and video guys descended upon her.  Jamie commented on how young the videographers were and they WERE young–my nephew was impressed with their work and he hired them. Not too expensive, quite young and still enthusiastic. Perfect!

My youngest son, Lucas, was Jamie’s escort for the night, and he rocked his long sleeved polo and jeans and Superman tie ensemble! The two of them entered while Jonrey Santos, a nephew, sang an Ed Sheeran song. Kristine, my second daughter, read a poem she created for her Ate Jamie during the program.


My nephew also coordinated with me to prepare a video of my daughter’s pictures through the years–okay, I had trouble picking pictures, so I sent him close to 300 pics and the video turned out to be fifteen minutes long! There were also videos from family who were abroad–Chicago, France, Copenhagen, Malaysia–dancing to dance crazes which were used for the 18 roses ceremony. Jamby thought this up because Jamie is a dancer so she would enjoy these different dances.  So, for each “rose,” Jamie had to dance with one or two guests, doing the steps of a dance craze. Onsite guests needed to answer trivia questions correctly to get the right to choose the dance craze they will dance with Jamie. If they answered incorrectly, the dances are picked at random for them. For those abroad, their dances were pre-selected and broadcast via video, and Jamie danced along with them remotely.


Consider the dances: Psy’s Gentleman, Soulja Boy, Teach Me How to Dougie, Nobody Nobody But Me, Otso Otso, Ney Ney, Budots (whaaaat?), Macarena, and many others.

The second to the last dance was with me — and of course we got Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Jamby never told me this so I never had a chance to practice). What a way to show how totally bad at dancing I was!  But I was also there, because I was preparing for the last dance, of course with Jamie and her Dad, where I sang “Someone to Watch Over Me,”  the Rod Stewart version,  a little low, but a bit on the rock-jazz side.


Then it was time to greet Jamie and let her know our prayers and wishes for her–most of which went on a Lesson Board with different colored ribbons and pins. Then it was picture time!

As mentioned, it was intimate, very personal, and yet fun and uplifting. It may not have been a grand debut at a hotel with the debutante in a gown, but it was just right. Oh, and yes, Jamie didn’t even buy a dress or shoes for both her parties–she just wore what she had.



And what did I wear?  The same dress I wore attending my first prom.  So back to irony. I attended the prom as a gushing girl who never had a prom before and watched steamy romance stories being read by beautiful theater performers.  And three weeks later, I wore the same dress overseeing and participating in my daughter’s 18th birthday.

So two totally different events, one dress.  Surreal.

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