[gasp] "Oh Mommy, I'm so happy you're wearing that dress! That's the way all Mommies should dress..."
So says my son Christopher every time he sees me in this dress.
It's a rather homely looking thing -- a cranberry colored nursing dress with tiny white polka dots. It's at least ten years old... probably more... and it was my first attempt at making something I could actually WEAR (other than the skirt my Mom and I made when I was in high school).
While comfortable, it's really not what one would call attractive. The pattern was made for women taller than me, so the waist hits me at just the wrong spot. Couple that with pockets that hit right at the hips, and you've got the makings of a big, cranberry-colored triangle. Ewwww.
So I wore this (normally) just for cleaning around the house, and when the time came that I actually spilled bleach on it (a tiny spot, actually), it was all the push that I needed to throw it in the trash.
Until Christopher saw it.
He gasped in horror (I kid you not) and started to cry. When I asked him what was wrong, he choked out, "But Mommy! That's your prettiest dress ever! It's the way all Mommies are supposed to dress!"
With that sort of reaction, what could I do but pull it out of the trash, wipe the coffee grounds off of it, put it in the wash, and promise him that I wouldn't throw it away?
Since that day (several years ago), I make it a point -- every now and then (when I know I won't be seeing anyone!) -- to put it on just for Christopher. Every time I do, he beams and tells me how beautiful I am.
I'm honored that this dress plays a part in some fundamental memory he has of me and what I do for them during the day. Cuddling together as we read a story... making bread in the kitchen while we talk... watching my skirt swish and twirl as I bustle around trying to clean up... or enfolding a little one in the skirt folds as I hug them and comfort them after their latest boo-boo...
Somehow those memories and this dress were linked together in his mind.
So it is on days like today that I swallow my pride (and vanity), put on this dress, and go out to face the day and my family, knowing that this somehow brings them comfort and security.
'Cause that's the way a Mommy should dress.
[side note: When Kathryn came into the kitchen this morning, she looked at me, smiled her light-up-the-room smile, and said, "Ooh! You're wearing my favorite dress!" Somehow it's affected her, too....]