Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting to the BOTTOM of the Lil Black Dress

Is that title CHEEKY enough for you, Magaly? ;)

My mom and sister had closets full of fine fashion, spent hours laying outside to achieve that perfect tan, and heaven forbid that anyone should see them without their hair and makeup done! Mom took after her mom, my Maw Maw, and my sister naturally took after Mom. I much preferred my jeans, t-shirt, and comfy sneakers. My skin was a rich, golden tone because I spent my days in trees, riding bikes, walking my dog, or exploring the drainage ditches. Doing my hair consisted of washing and running a hasty brush through it. And me putting on makeup? Hah! Why? To sweat it off, have a dog lick it off, or cover it up with dirt?

When I got the word that my Maw Maw had passed away I was in my 20s and hugely pregnant with my first child. When we all came together to gather ourselves to make the trip to the funeral I tearfully had to admit to my mother that I didn't even own a dress appropriate for a funeral. My mom and sister shared a quick look that said "we should've anticipated this" and we all burst out laughing. It's amazing to me that in the midst of even crushing grief people can often find moments of genuine humor.

As I never had before I allowed these two to lead me from store to store, obediently trying on whatever they passed me, and found that I actually felt a small pang of regret that I hadn't participated in their shopping sprees before. I finally realized that even if I was completely uninterested in the clothes I had missed a lot of fun times I could've spent with Mom and my sis. Sure there were quite a few moments where we'd tear up, pause to support each other as a wave of sorrow passed over us, but there were also many times that we'd share a fond memory of Maw Maw, smile, remember good times. And what probably touched me the most is while I was ready to wear whatever complicated, frilly, where-the-heck-does-THIS-part-go thing they decided on they took who I was into account. Without me saying a thing they settled on a black, cotton dress with no decorations or frills, it just slipped on over my head and settled into place. A perfect dress for me.

For almost 15 years I kept right on wearing that dress until it just wore out so bad I had to reluctantly admit that it was time to let it go. You might wonder why I'd want to keep on wearing it considering that it was bought under such sad circumstances but honestly I didn't associate it with the loss of my Maw Maw. Whenever I took it out to wear it brought a small, fond smile to my lips as I remember the special opportunity it gave me to bond a little more with my mom and sister. I consider it a last lesson and gift from the kindest, most gracious, generous lady I ever knew.

I miss you Maw Maw.


  1. Lovely! Speaking as a mom, daughter and sister, I'm glad that black dress brought you all together.

  2. Beautiful sentiment. Yes, sometimes we get opportunities from the strangest circumstances. Glad you recognized and embraced it!


  3. Aw! This was a lovely post! It sounds like you managed to take an otherwise difficult time and found the silver lining....bonding with Mom and sis. And what a great way to remember your the one who brought you three together to collectively remember her.