It's the first of October, and my husband and I have a weekend planned out of town. This is an annual trip for us each year and I must say, I look forward to it more than ever these days.
On our way out, I stop by mother's house to fix her food and give out medications for the day, and to secretly hide a couple of baggies containing the next two days pills. I will call my sister later and tell her where they are so when she comes, she can give them to her.
The week prior to my trip has been really busy, but I have taken out time to try on some clothes which I had bought last year after losing a few pounds. Just as I thought, the clothes are still wearable, but are a little snug from all the donuts I have eaten this summer.
While busying around in the kitchen, mother has a front row seat as she sits at the kitchen table, while her youngest daughter parades around fixing the day's amenities. "Jean" she says, "I don't know how in the world you keep those pounds on that you've gained with all the running around you do." With my feelings already on my sleeve, hoping that no one will notice the extra pounds I've acquired, mother quickly confirms my fears; last year's clothes are just a little too tight. It was interesting to me that even with mother's dementia, she could find a way to let me know that I needed to drop a few.
I don't know what it is about a mother and a daughter and their clothes, but ever since I can remember, it has been important to me what my mother thought of what I was wearing.
As my husband and I head on out to our long weekend getaway, I began to think about what mother had said and I'm suddenly taken back to the days of high school and my sewing projects.
It was my Sophomore year and I was really getting into sewing; even though I can't sew a lick today. My Home Ec teacher had informed the class that we would be making a dress which would count as one of our grades. Excited that I would finally be trying out my new found sewing skills, I couldn't wait to rush home and tell mother the news. As the weekend approached, mother had planned for she and I to take a trip to a nearby cloth outlet. As we walked around the store, I was having a hard time finding the cloth that would jump right out at me and say, "I am your new dress!" Suddenly mother goes over to a table with baby pink material sprawled out on it. I can see the look on her face that this material has called out her name and I was not feeling it. "Jean, come here, I think I've found just the right cloth you need." Now, if you were to ask my friends today, they'd probably tell you that I'm not very shy, but back in that day, I was willing to do anything, as long as I didn't have to have confrontation, and especially when it came to disobeying my mother! We purchased the cloth and headed back home. With feelings of "pink puke" in my mind, I never once let mother know that I hated the material she had chosen for my new dress.
It was Monday and we were to bring our cloth along with our sewing notions to school and show it to our teacher. It wasn't long until my "V" neck pukey pink dress was completed. I couldn't wait until it was graded and I was able to take it home and dispose of it. As I entered the house, I remember mother anxiously awaiting the sight of my beautiful pink dress. The first question she asked was the one that I had secretly feared, "when are you going to wear it?" Trying to avoid answering, she began to insist that I wear it the next day. Not wanting to hurt mother's feelings, I agreed to wear it. Getting up really early, I put my not so "pretty in pink" dress on, and covered it with a rain coat, while slipping another outfit into my gym bag. Arriving at school, I hurried into the girls bathroom and changed into my other clothes. I had basketball practice after school, so mother never became the wiser to my little scheme.
I must say that I really have felt guilty over the years by deceiving my mother and not wearing that pink elephant for all the world to see. But today, I feel a little vindicated as I remember the remarks that mother had made to me this morning concerning my "new found" pounds.