I have this chambray blue dress which I bought for my birthday, when I turned twenty-six.
In the shop I imagined wearing it to the beach; the pockets being so well sized for smooth seashells and other sea-flung treasures,
and there was
a breeziness about it
the cotton, thin and soft
which I imbued with a carefree joy.
I never did wear it to the beach.
But it did come with me to the park,
the day we stayed until the sun went down,
and we were running and jumping
chasing and catching,
when he was only
two years old.
And it was there in the delivery room,
familiar and faded,
freshly washed for wearing,
once I had showered,
holding back tears,
not wanting for a moment
to be away from her,
newly-born and perfect,
as she cried, and I
torn and stitched
tender and tired
at 3 am
pulled it on, gingerly.
When I look at this dress, I see the the tiny hands that have pulled at its edges: heavy- fingers; urgent, exhausting, and dear to me.
I remember trips to the local supermarket, child-led and slow, centering around new and curious foods and seeds for flowers and vegetables. I see the walks we took in our neighborhood, pine-cone collections, autumn leaves and seedlings, my parents’ house, and their two dogs, jumping.
and there’s also: morning sickness, warm slippers, desperate cups of herbal tea, and the hopeful idea of “one day” and “tomorrow” (when the children are old enough to tolerate day trips to the sea-side, to the city, to the highlands).
But I also see how tired this dress is getting – the fabric is thin and tearing in places and there are stains and loose threads and gaps where buttons have fallen off. I can’t keep wearing it, and my wardrobe is already full-to-bursting with memories.
So, goodbye, beautiful blue dress. I’m going to miss your accommodating pockets and friendly-soft-coziness.
I hope I can make you into something, so you can retain your joy-bringing purpose.