Here's to you, Nikki Isgar, and to her parents (not seen here), my parents (as viewed here) and everyone else who has helped guide her to this position in her life.
24 years ago, I too attended the senior ball. In fact, I had two dates: Kirsten Perra and Jen Jordan, and together we stepped into the next realm of what it means to be an adult. I have similar pictures with my parents (as does Casey and Cynde), and I have memories of what 18 year olds are about at this time in their life: excited about graduation, attending college, leaving the high school hallways behind.
I remember the pretentious toddler, however, who had to be the center of attention and all the shenanigans that occurred when I returned home to Cicero from Louisville. Nikki was so small, loved Wizard of Oz, and pretended to have read the Harry Potter series so she could go to the movies with me. Her needs trumped everyone else's.
Now she's a working girl, a girlfriend, and a soon-to-be graduate - exactly where she needs to be as a young adult who is ready to step out into the world. She looks beautiful. Before she knows it, she too will think back on 24 years wondering where all her time went. It is a steppingstone - a ritual of the American phenomenon of growing up.
The adventure is only beginning. Congratulations.