Sunday, July 10, 2011

Painted Dreams

June is always a busy month for us as I'm sure it is for you to. It's a time when children say goodbye to their friends and teachers, weekly dance and swim lessons come to a halt and gardens flourish with new growth.

For our family it was all the above and more, in June my second daughter celebrated her Grade 12 Graduation. I'm so incredibly proud of her, like me, academics for her were tough, but she made it through with more credits than she needed along with an award and a bursary. Next spring she plans on attending College to become a Special Needs Teacher, which I know she'll be fantastic at.

Do you remember dreaming about your perfect grad or prom dress. If you were like my daughter, you dreamt about it since you were REALLY little, you know, age 9 or 10. It's definitely a hunt or at least that's what it seemed like. The hunt for the PERFECT Prom Dress. If you've ever watched TLC's, "Say Yes to the Dress", then you have a good idea of what it was like for us. Only it wasn't a wedding dress we were looking for. You should know that I'm not the type of person who spends hours and hours shopping at malls, that would be my husbands department. Probably because having a large family keeps me so busy and partially because I'm not really into the latest fashion trends but ask me about any baby related subject and that I would probably know.

I figured that hunting down a dress for my daughter would be a cinch. I remember how easy it was a few years ago when my oldest daughter and I went shopping for her prom dress. She choose the very first dress she tried on, a gorgeous deep red that went perfect with her strawberry blonde colored hair. It happened to be the one I choose for and she loved it from the beginning.

That brings me to when I graduated, it was waaaay back in 1988. Friends of the family owned a tailoring business and offered to make one for me at a reduced rate. I drew out and painted my dream dress, a light pink princess gown with full lace sleeves...yes LACE with an enormous bow just above my rear end. That dress now hangs in our downstairs closet. My teens love to parade in it during sleep overs, which causes a menagerie of giggles and OH MY'S!

So when it came time for my second daughter to pick a dress I figured it would be just as easy. I was wrong. She started by drawing a princess gown in bright orange, it had to be orange. Pink had always been her favorite color, but recently she changed to loving orange. She kept mentioning how she knew no one else would be choosing that color, most of her friends were going to get blues, greens, pinks and reds and she wanted something different. Her hunt began online, with so many different styles, colors and fabrics to choose from it's a wonder how any girl can choose just one, but she did. A gorgeous shimmery burnt orange princess gown. I tried not to give my personal opinion because I knew no matter what I thought or said, she wouldn't listen and more importantly, it wasn't about me, it was about her and her special day.

Mom's PLEASE remember this, because there's nothing worse than hearing your mom say how much she hates the dress you love, something my daughter and I heard a few times in the change room beside us. There were many tears from a few and they weren't happy ones. So no matter how much you hate it...don't show it. One other tip....don't take along friends, ever! It really should be a day for daughter and mother/father. Let the friends come to a fitting, after the choice has been made, that way everything stays positive.

Back to the dress hunt, after calling a few dress shops we heard the great news, one store had a sample in. Being that it was only November we waited until January to go try it on. I called again to make sure the sample was still there and was told that we only had another week or so until it would be too late to order one in her size, so we drove down that weekend and my daughter happily tried it on. With tears welling up in her eyes and in a surprisingly calm voice she said "This is THE Dress." The sales lady, insisted that she try on a few others just in case, so 40 dresses, 5 stores and 3 months later...where oh where did the time go is all I kept thinking, she still wanted that orange dress.

Eventually we returned to the store, hoping that there was still time left to order and have it shipped out, otherwise she would have to pick one from the sales rack. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but knowing that she couldn't have the dress she first fell in love with made my heart sink. I should have gone with my gut and told the sales lady no, that if my daughter feels that this is the dress, then this is it, but I didn't and I had to use the experience as a teaching opportunity. I reminded her that we should appreciate what is offered to us and that there were plenty of other beautiful dresses to try on. Even though she was a bit disappointed, she agreed, and was eager to try on a few more. I felt horribly sad for her.

With one month left until the big day, we headed to the store once again. She tried on a few more dresses and settled on a lovely periwinkle colored gown. Just as we were about to pay, the sales lady mentioned that she had remembered my daughter and how much she loved the orange dress and offered us the sample at a reduced cost. My daughter instantly said YES! We couldn't believe that after all that she would end up in her dream dress.

With only 2 weeks before her Prom, we headed back to the store for her final fitting, which didn't go so good. When the sales lady tried to do up the zipper it broke, thankfully she offered to have the seamstress fix it within the week and pay for it since she felt it was her fault for pulling on it so hard. A week later, it was ready to be picked up. She tried it on again, everything fit wonderfully, we dropped it off to be dry cleaned. Talk about cutting it to the quick... 3 days before her Prom we picked it up from the dry cleaners, hung it up to fluff up all the layers and layers of crinoline and waited for the special day. Which turned out to be absolutely beautiful but not nearly as beautiful as how my princess looked in her dream dress.

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