Our house was built in 1906. For a house that age, we have nice sized closets in each bedroom, but like many modern folk, we don’t have enough room in those closets to leave clothes out for fall, winter, spring, summer. Clothes that don’t fit or don’t belong to the season get packed into boxes and stored on the shelf.
This system of changing wardrobes in the fall and spring (yes, I’m a bit behind this year) prompts a day or two of mess. Boxes everywhere. Piles of clothes everywhere. I usually get overwhelmed and impatient and wish it done. But yesterday, the kids were enjoying themselves, and inadvertently, entertaining me.
My daughters haven’t learned to resent hand-me-downs yet. They just see clothes. They looked in the boxes and started pulling out the shirts, tanks, dresses, jeans with the same sense of discovery as opening a time capsule.
Oh, my sparkly skull tank. Oh, it’s my ladybug skirt! And remember this dress? I wore it to Stephanie and Jeremy’s wedding. Remember how I got to stay for the whole dance. Oooo, I was wondering what happened to these flower shorts.
They were holding up shirts and skirts, strolling down their Memory Lanes, trying on outfits, and making poses for me as if they were on the runway, cameras flashing. They’d change in their walk-in closet then open the door—wide—to make a big entrance, hands on hips, face serious like the models on a magazine cover.
What do you think, Mom?
There are no clothes in larger sizes stored for my nine-year-old. It is one of the benefits of being the oldest child: no hand-me-downs. But Melisandra, who is clearly a size 7 or 8, kept trying on her 5Ts and insisting that the shirt wasn’t that tight or the skirt wasn’t that short.
I could still wear this.
In some cases, I’d agree. Mostly, I told her to take those items off and let Corrigan, her five-year-old sister, try them on.
One such item was a summer dress that Melisandra hardly ever wore. Its light cotton fabric is perfect for hot, July nights after being on the lake. It has a white tank on top with a turquoise waistband, and a skirt with three bands of color—turquoise, white, light green—that bleed one to another in a tie dye pattern.
Corrigan put it on and instantly knew she would love it. She danced down the hallway to look at herself in the bathroom mirror. The dress complimented her blonde hair and fair skin. She came back to the bedroom pleased. She spun in circles.
And that was it for her. When I asked her to try on a denim skirt, she took it from my hands but was easily distracted by her bliss. She didn’t try the skirt. I think she forgot to try the skirt. She had more dancing and more glancing in the mirror to do instead.
Melisandra still wandered about, engaged with bossing her sisters to change into more outfits for “the fashion show.”
“Corrigan. Here. Try this on.” Melisandra had paired a tank and shorts together, her statement of style.
Corrigan swirled, arms reaching up, like a ballerina. This kid is pretty compliant and willing to do what her sister asks. But this time, Corrigan indicated she didn’t want to be bothered. She had found what she wanted.
She said, “No. Let me stand here in my moment of happiness.” And twirled to the right.