I hardly remember the title of the song or the memorized line of the solo I sang in the junior high chorus concert. I can’t recall how I sang it or the applause at the end. What I do remember was my mom (carnations in hand) waiting for me afterwards – hugging me tight and her words, whispering into my hair, “I am so proud of you.” The moment, ending abruptly as my best girl friends ran up screeching, their moms in tow. As we giggled about nothing, the moms surprised us with the words, “Let’s go to Friendly’s for ice cream.” A school night? It was late and a dark-black sky, that matched our choir skirts, surrounded the full moon. We arrived and noticed the clock hands inching towards nine. When we were escorted to our seats, the moms motioned us to sit at one table, alone. This was too much for us giggling and screeching and squealing girls. We were in a state of exhilaration, still on high from the concert and in complete amazement that we were eating ice cream past bedtime. My peanut butter cup sundae arrived and my mom stole glances at me, smile plastered on her face. I wanted her to be sitting beside me, but the lure of girl independence held strong to my bones. That night, peanut butter and fudge smell on my skin, mom said goodnight, telling me once again, how very proud she was of me. We hugged, holding each other longer than usual – she wanting to hold onto her baby – me, wanting to never let go of my mother’s pride.