One year ago I was traveling on a journey that reached new heights. My dad’s health deteriorated at the same time our second daughter became engaged. I have many stories from last year, both happy and sad, but today I am sharing just one. I was determined, through all the drama, to find a mother-of-the-bride dress that I loved. When our oldest daughter was married I settled for a dress that was nice, even lovely, but not me. This time, I was going to search for ‘the dress’ no matter what.
My search did not begin until March, two months before my daughter’s wedding. I knew I should have started earlier but I was busy. Between hospital visits, care conferences, bridal gown shopping, securing a reception venue and ceremony site, my father passing away, working full time, being a grandma, losing a few extra pounds and just trying to breathe the hunt for my dress kept moving to the back burner. I finally started shopping in earnest and could not find ‘the dress’. I found dresses that were nice, even lovely, but not me.
March turned into April. The mother of the groom wanted to know what color my dress was so she could coordinate. I had no answer. I went to every store I could imagine and stores I had never heard of and still no dress. Finally I just started to buy dresses just in case. At one point I had four dresses in my closet, none of them were interesting.
I shopped by myself, with my husband, with my daughters, with my in-laws to no avail. The week before the wedding I whittled my choices down to two dresses. One was tan (can you imagine a more boring color) and the other was black (better but still boring). Two nights before the wedding I tried on both dresses for the family and didn’t the look in their eyes just say it all. Nice but nothing spectacular. Once again I was going to settle.
I couldn’t sleep that night. In the big scheme of things the dress was not important, but I had been down this road before and I was tired of settling. As I lay awake I thought about my Friday schedule and figured I had one more chance to hit the mall at 10:00 in the morning for 30 minutes of power shopping to find ‘the dress’. When I woke up, my eldest daughter told me she would help. My husband babysat our two beautiful grandchildren and we raced to the mall. I must have tried on ten dresses with no luck. As I drooped in the dressing room my daughter said she would look once more through the racks before we had to leave. She came back with a dress that made us both hold our breath. It was exactly what I had been looking for, the only one left of that kind in the store and just my size. As I put it on I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This was my dress. The dress I had imagined. The dress that made me feel beautiful. ‘The dress.”
We screamed. We laughed. We panicked because now I needed to get shoes. I purchased the dress and we ran to the shoe store. God was smiling on me that day because I found the perfect peek-a-boo shoes that look fantastic on mother-of-the-bride feet. When we arrived home I tried on my new dress and shoes for my husband and the bride. Their smiles and exclamations were balm to my soul. It had been quite a year and yet their was joy in this morning.
Life is funny and complex and quite the roller coaster. My family needed me throughout the year and in the end I was able to grab a little something for myself. I have always found that in giving we receive. But sometimes, we need to put our foot down, draw our line in the sand and say “I am worth some attention!” And that is how I found ‘the dress’ one day before the wedding.