I was trying clothes on on my mom’s bed for some reason. I think it was the end-stages of the long and dreary hand-me-down sartorial slog that was my clothed life. From the time I was a baby, I got my mom’s friends’ daughter’s hand-me-downs. But I think we had just had another tense mother-daughter time where I tried on someone’s castoff navy blue polyester pleated dress slacks (I hate slacks. Bury me in jeans, people. Jeans. ) and I was feeling discouraged.
Mom went to her closet and grabbed her wedding dress.
It was beautiful: A simple, ivory wool sleeveless dress to just below the knee, with a little shrug jacket to go over it. Timeless. Perfect. Very Audrey Hepburn.
“Hey, try this on,” Mom said. I probably rolled my eyes, but I complied.
It was like a mastiff trying to fit into a poodle coat. My shoulders strained the seams, my boobs didn’t fill the chest area, and Mom couldn’t do up the back of the dress.
I looked at myself in the mirror, hair afrizz from clothes coming on and off, face red from resentment and embarassment, and I saw this miserable valkyrie where my mom was expecting a sylph.
Evidently, I had more of the Viking heritage than my tiny, bosomy mother. I felt sad that I couldn’t fit into her dress, the way she obviously wanted me to, but I also felt a little proud. Hey, look at that. Built for working hard. Endurance. Fighting alongside my man.
Of course, looking back on it, I was more English Setter than Mastiff. I wasn’t exactly hulking.
I just wasn’t my mom. I think that was weird for both of us.