Fresno’s Lorena Del Carmen Navarro always wanted to have a quinceanera.
Her family couldn’t afford to throw one for her, back when she turned 15.
So she promised herself to throw one some day. And though it took three decades later, Navarro finally had her long awaited quinceanera.
At 45 years old. And her delayed, but special moment has gone viral on the internet.
“It’s always been in my mind, and heart and soul,” Navarro said of having a quinceanera. “At 45, God willing, I finally had one. And everything was great.
“Loved it. It was just perfect.”
Four days after Navarro held her quinceanera at Wedgewood Banquet in northwest Fresno, her son, Saul Ramirez, went on Twitter to wish his mom a happy birthday on her actual birth date.
He posted photos of Navarro in a pink dress and wearing a tiara and explained how she didn’t get to have a quinceanera at 15, but she had it at 45.
The tweet spread quickly, even if Ramirez has just 577 followers. Within a couple of weeks, it had received 18,097 retweets and 97,885 likes.
Many had positive responses, with some saying the post inspired them to hold a similar celebration for their mom or even for themselves.
A quinceanera is a Latin America tradition that celebrates a girl turning 15, which signifies the transition from a girl to a young lady.
Kind of like a Sweet 16.
Navarro actually tried to have her quinceanera when she turned 30 but was on bed rest while pregnant with her second child.
She made sure not to miss her moment at 45 – even if some of her family and friends were initially confused by what she was doing.
“Some of them, they just didn’t get it,” Navarro said. “But when they got the (banquet) hall, it all made sense.” Navarro tried to plan quinceanera just as it would’ve been if she’d been 15.
She picked two sisters, a cousin and her best friend to be her damas (featured guests), just as she would've had they had held the celebration as teens.
Her husband, Oscar, was her escort for the event and the two danced to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.”
Navarro also danced with her dad.
Saul, her oldest son, wrote and sang an original song.
And as a parting gift, Navarro’s two sons modified the quinceanera tradition of giving a “ultima muneca” – what’s supposed to be the final doll a girl would receive – and instead surprised their mother with her first walker.
“Seeing my mom so happy,” Saul said, “it was the best feeling.”
Navarro said she’s been overwhelmed but the attention her delayed quinceanera has received and humbled by the many positive responses.
“I was supposed to have this when I was 15,” Navarro said. “But everything felt right having it at 45.”