The other day, out of the blue, my 4-year-old asked me if I still had my wedding dress. I told her I did, in that long white garment bag she’s seen in my closet dozens of times. She became obsessed with it, needing to see the big white dress she’d seen in all of our wedding photos. For the sake of sanity, I waited until her baby sister was down for a nap before showing it to her. I took her into my room and unzipped the garment bag partway, then lifted her up to see the bodice of the dress. It’s a simple A-line gown, strapless, with Swarovski crystals decorating the bodice. “Can I touch it?” my daughter asked. I checked her hands for dirt or stickiness, then told her she could. She was in little girl heaven, touching the silky fabric and the beadwork.
Of course, next she wanted to try it on. After much explaining about how, even though I let her prance around wearing one of my skirts and my black flats (an outfit she wore for three days straight last week), the dress just wasn’t going to fit her, she finally let it go. For about five minutes. The conversation has been going ever since. “Why can’t I just try it on?” “Because it’s very long, and you’re just not tall enough.” “When I’m taller can I try it on?” “Sure.” “When will I be tall enough?” Since (at 5’ 1”) I have always been one of the shortest people I know, and since she has always been around 90th percentile for height, I was tempted to tell her it would probably be very soon, but this wasn’t a time for joking around. “Ask me again in a few years,” I said.
Later, she asked if she could wear it when she gets married. I’m sure when she’s done growing it’ll come to her knees, but instead I just nodded, and promised that if she wants to wear it when she grows up, she can. Somewhere in the middle of this discussion I remembered the delicate crystal-studded tiara that I wore with the big white dress on my wedding day. I’ll save that for another day, when I can trust her with it a little more. Because I’m sure once she gets that thing on her head, it’s never coming off.