Jessica must have wished for an awesome 16th birthday last year when she blew out her 15th candle. And the stars aligned, black cats and ladders avoided, and she got that wish, despite the superstition of the date it was to be held. In that case, I think maybe it’s just that her parents love her to death and this was one of many ways they would show her.

A former classmate of mine from Frankford High School asked me if I was available to shoot her daughter’s birthday. It turned out, even though for some reason I thought, in the weeks prior, that it would fall on a Saturday, that I was available for the Friday the 13th event. It was held at a Knights of Columbus I had been to many years ago for a party for my brother. Nice place. Great location.

Slightly deviating from my usual assistant/helper, I picked up my son Gavin to help me this time. (Which just reminded me that I owe him a few dollars…no wonder he has been hanging so tightly to me). We got there a bit early and sat in the truck while I explained the simplicity of what I needed from him. “Hand me lenses when I ask for them”. Gavin’s a true blond and really will just space off if I don’t stay right on him. He only did a few times, but overall did a great job and was rewarded at the end of the evening with a piece of cake that was unavoidably tempting. Maybe I don’t owe him a few dollars now that I think about it.

After some of my normal “set-up” shots, I was informed that Jessica was arriving with her court. I went outside and snapped a few pictures of them doing their “Shore pose” and just let them know that I would be pretty much in their faces all night while they did their thing. I could tell immediately that they were going to be a fun group. I could also see so much of my former classmate in her daughter. Wow, from their spitting image looks right down to their dancing and mannerisms. Such a nice flashback.

The court and Jessica were introduced by the DJ and all came in looking like teenage mobsters and the girls, their wives. I mean this in a great, complimentary way. They all looked perfect. This is where again, some jealousy sunk in that I never had a Sweet 16 😦 Whomp. (The first time this type of jealousy crept up on me was at the Bat Mitzvah I shot a couple of months ago…but considering I’m not Jewish, I let that slide). So in they all strutted, dressed up and beautiful. From the shy and meek to the outgoing crowd pumpers…all in black except Jessica in hot pink and her escort. I could tell  by my son’s  face, he was now going to think about his upcoming teenage years the remainder of the night and how awesome they were going to be.

The night went well, I learned my lesson about taking Tylenol and eating. However, I don’t think I needed the Tylenol. There is a huge jump of maturity from ages 13-16. They are all still fun, still have some innocence to them, but don’t screech over every little thing that happens. I could tell the wall flowers from the most popular right away and it was kind of like being in the movie ‘Never Been Kissed’ where I could see my own past with my friends. They will all be the same later on and whether they danced all night or sat at the table just talking to one other person, none of that will matter 20 years from now.

The adults amuse me the most. I haven’t been able to get out in a while to a place I could dance, but when I do…that’s what it is like. There is a small percentage of joy that will suffice, just from watching others. The freedom and spirit you gain, from some good music and a couple of drinks with good friends, is unparalleled though. The adults seemed to have just as much fun. I’m now wondering if they should have clubs/bars that range from 16 years old to unable to move, with double-sided mirrors separating two rooms. That way you know what your kids are doing and they can’t see you, but everyone has a ball.

Dancing, what looked to be fantastic food, what I knew was fantastic cake, beautiful people, and a ton of photos to remind them of it all later on. What a great night for all. The Serban’s knocked it out of the park for their daughter. Now…let’s see what happens and how they will follow-up when she gets married 🙂 Remember me!

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