More than just a little black dress

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Tuesday evening my mother excitedly called me before leaving work. She's kind enough to come to our house on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to watch the boys while I work. She mock complains that Nana has a life too, you know and sometimes proclaims how much they tire her while holding her hand to her forehead in a dramatic manner. I know she enjoys herself most rolling around in the floor with the boys, shooting plastic guns at bad guys, and shouting along with them from the top of her lungs. She doesn't know this, but I've crept up the dark staircase to the third floor playroom and watched as she quite literally forgot her age and skipped about the room with them.

She's always been that sort of parent. I remember she used to sit with me on our big porch swing, at our little shotgun shanty in a forgotten rural town, and sing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in her husky alto. She told me stories and was a walking encyclopedia of nursery rhymes and old southern spirituals. She babied me when I was sick and defended me when I was persecuted - like the time in the mall shoe store when, as a pre-teen, two teenage girls laughed at my skinny frame and knocked-knees and I cried and begged Mom to leave. To put it simply, she went ghetto on those girls and confronted them with a level of intimidation that they'd never before seen. (Despite growing up poor in the Ozarks, Mom was the varsity cheerleading captain of her high school, voted most athletic, and most popular. She has always enjoyed the higher level in the social pecking order.)

I'm an adult now and her nurturing attitude hasn't changed. She called me that Tuesday and girl-shrieked into the phone how, when she was out shopping for evening attire to wear to my 30 Under 30 awards next Thursday, she found a cocktail dress for me. My mother lives to dress me and I know that the greatest gift I could ever give her would be to allow her into my closet to do with as she pleased. She gushed about the dress and said she was bringing it over and lo, she brought it and made me try it on right there in my kitchen.

"IT IS SO FIGURE FLATTERING," she chirped. "Would you LOOK at that CUT?!" After I got over my "'Pretty in Pink' prom dress shopping scene feeling" I teased that the designer probably paid her to say flattering things. When Chris came home from work she made me try it on again, this time allowing me to change in the kitchen bathroom. Then my husband and my mother went over all the black heels in my closet attempting to match a pair to the dress. Chris, who despite wearing only black, is a straight Tim Gunn, was in his element alongside my mother. They commented on every pair of shoes that I own.

"I don't like this pair, I don't like the stitching in the back," Chris would remark.

"Are you kidding me?" I protested.

"HEY. I am a MAN. I know better than any chick WHAT LOOKS HOT on a girl's body." My mother nodded her head in enthusiastic agreement.

I kid them but really, it was sort of cool, this demonstration of their pride and excitement for me. I never sought academic superstardom, aside from winning writing scholarships, and when I went to awards banquets or won medals in track my mother wasn't able to join me in celebration because she was slaving away at her job. My mother worked hard to support me; it was a trade-off and Chris knows it. This is a rare occasion that she is able to share this with me and I'm happy for it.

53 Comments

Your mom is an awesome lady! I still miss seeing her since Slender lady closed. :(

I'm sure it was fun being fussed over. I can't wait to see this dress. Surely you will share pictures of the big event.

Um, can your mom adopt me? My hubby would sulk if I asked him to do what Chris so enthusiastically did! Must be nice!

I assume you liked the dress and that you did indeed look HAWT in it? :) Sounds like you may have the perfect excuse to go out and buy a new pair of black heels!

So did you love the dress too???? And we want to see pics!

How sweet. I pictured the house in your "pre-crash" days when you talked about the porch. I loved the post when you took us through a photo trail of your past. I know they are very proud of you, or very scared you will go in Jeans and Chuck Taylors. Best Wishes!

Aw, that's so sweet! Mommy love is the best!

I have to tell you that the best part about moving home to St. Louis is being able to shop with my mom. It's not the same shopping with girlfriends, she's the best and most honest shopping partner ever.

What a sweet appreciation of your mother. You're brave though. My mother also loves to buy clothes for me and I continually tell her the same line.."That is not my style, mom." If we all decided to forego our normal Christmas attire some year and wear Christmas sweaters that she picked out for us, she would just be so pleased. (It's NEVER going to happen.) Hope we get to see this hot new dress!

Will she or Chris come with me the next time I go shopping. They've got style.

So cool that she's there cheering you on!

That is the cutest story I've ever heard! Can't wait to see your photos from the big event. Did you get any photos of them both shrieking over your preciousness in the dress?

I just went clothes shopping with my wife this weekend for a similar event. She is nominated for an "Art for Life" award, but won't know if she won until the award show.

However, we went out looking for fancy-schmancy dresses. Believe it or not, I really like doing this (don't fight over me, ladies, it's not becoming!) and I will tell her what looks good and what doesn't. I think I'm usually right, too. You'd have to ask her to verify this, of course.

Well there were several very appropriate dresses that looked good on her.

I bought her two of them. She can decide later.

Oh, I've also bought shoes for her, too. The problem is, now my daughter is stealing the clothes to wear for herself.

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