Spinning in finery
By Robin DearingSunday morning our 4-year-old neighbor looked up at me with her pretty brown eyes, mouth smeared with chocolate frosting and said, "I'm wearing my wedding dress." And she was — well, it was the dress that she wore while taking part in their family friend's wedding. She was the candle girl. As candle girl, her responsibilities were to walk down the aisle first, before anyone else — even the flower girls — carrying a candle to honor the memory of the groom's late twin brother. Kate relished her role and was the first to point out that the obviously ill-prepared flower girls didn't drop their flower petals — she remedied this problem by grabbing a spare basket, racing down the aisle and speading the petals. Sunday morning, her only responsiblities were to play with my daughter ... but she wanted to do so wearing her fancy dress. Her mom let her. And why not? The chances of Kate getting invited to another formal occassion before she out grew the dress were pretty slim. So why shouldn't she get to enjoy the lovely frock; it had served its purpose — no sense in keeping the poor thing all locked up in a plastic bag in the basement ... like Margaret's flower girl dress. I asked Margaret if she wanted to wear her wedding dress. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Sure" in the exact same non-committal tone as her 15-year-old brother. So I fetched the lovely, ivory gown that had been stored in a garment-storage bag since our dear friends, Rob and Tracee, were married a year ago March. I could barely get the buttons closed but it fit good enough for her to play with Kate. And play they did. And I tried to act like it was no big deal. I agree with Kate's mom that there's no really good reason to not let Margaret wear the dress and it's practical to let her actual use the expensive frock instead of let it rot away in a plastic bag. But the dress is so pretty with its embroidered organza skirt and its giant satin sash and Margaret is so dirty and tough on clothes. So I stood there taking pictures as the two girls colored with scary, staining markers and spun themselves until they were disoriented on our damp, leaf-infested lawn which was just begging to leave a stain on those pretty dresses. Finally they decided to change into clothes better suited for riding their scooters over to the park. Margaret discarded the delicate dress on to the floor of her tiny room. Later, I rescued the pile of satin and lace from becoming a nest for our ever-chilly Italian greyhound and hung it carefully on its padded hanger. I put the protective plastic cover over the little dress. Afterall, it's really too small for Margaret anymore ... and maybe her daughter will be a flower girl some day in the far, far future.