It all started a few weeks ago on a Saturday morning. Our family was all getting ready to go to synagogue, as we do almost every single week. But I was having a very blah day. I couldn’t find a dress I wanted to wear, and I was getting frustrated with my wardrobe. Just as I threw up my hands all, I hate this closet I have nothing to wear!, my nine-year-old daughter Isabella waltzed in and said, “You have so many beautiful dresses. May I pick one for you?”
And she did. She pushed back all of my usual black and white conservative almost-all-the-same work dresses,
and pulled a dress out from the way back of my closet. It still had the tags on it, I had bought it online a while ago, on a whim, and really had never any intention of a) returning it and b) wearing it.
It was a bit of an, adult tutu, I guess, that was a little bit too fitted in places that I don’t normally wear things fitted and too poofy in places I don’t normally wear things poofy.
But I wore it. And I also wore the necklace and shoes that Isabella chose for me. She, on the other hand, wore a giant, giddy smile for the entire day. She walked up to me at least twice and said, “Mama! Has anyone told you how beautiful you look today?!”
You guys, I wore the hell out of it. And then the cogs started turning when Isabella turned to me and announced that “It would be so fun to dress you all the time.” Since all the time was a bit of an unrealistic timeframe, I did agree to a week. An entire week, wearing exactly what she asked me to.
Each morning when I was in the shower, my little junior stylist would sneak into my closet and pick out something special for me to wear to work, to wear to her dance class, to wear to work from home. She got frustrated that there was not enough color in my wardrobe, and she got annoyed that there are no proper shoes for this in-betweensy weather. I just nodded. She was right, so, so right.
“BIRDS AND MORE BIRDS”:
“COLOR AND MORE COLOR”:
I expected this to be funny. I knew that sometimes things wouldn’t match, and I knew I was going to have to wear UGGS at least once.
But what I really wasn’t expecting was for this to grow into this important lesson in self-image and body confidence.
One morning Isabella brought me a black and white polka-dotted skirt and a white button-down shirt.
“Here you go!”
I had never worn this as an outfit, and in fact, I had never worn that skirt at all. I don’t normally
never ever ever tuck things in — I have always been self-conscious about my post-three-babies soft stomach pooch. It’s the reason I love a wrap dress and its conveniently located right at my belly tie. It’s the reason I love a 1950s day dress.
Isabella doesn’t notice my stomach, Isabella doesn’t care. Isabella liked the top, she liked the skirt, she liked the necklace. Full stop.
“MAMA YOU LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL! This is my favourite outfit on you ever.”
I wore quite a few outfits this past week that I never would have worn, that would normally have made me feel awkward, uncomfortable, out of my comfort zone.
And I felt self-conscious each morning when I was getting dressed. There was too much color, things were too tight, too loose, too long, too short, too thin, too thick, there was always something.
But by the time I kissed my kids goodbye and walked out the door at 8:30 each morning, I was no longer self-conscious. I wasn’t awkward, uncomfortable, and I completely wasn’t even thinking at all about that comfort zone of mine. I had moved on to other important things, like after-school activities, and work meetings, and drinking my morning coffee, and dinner plans, and Mad Men.
So I wore what my fourth grader picked for me this week.
And she wore that giant, giddy smile the whole time.
Maybe I need to learn to do more things like a fourth grader.