Riffling through the garage yesterday, Abby and I came upon a treasure- at least to her five-year old sensibilities. Even little girls who dress as Darth Vader most of the time fall in love with wedding dresses, and her eyes lit up as I slid the zipper down on the thick garment bag and pulled out the confection of tulle, satin and pearls. In the bottom of the case were also my shoes and veil from that happy day so long ago, and we spread them out across the living room while she oooh’d and ahhh’d.
“Ooooooh, Mom! It’s beautiful! Can I put it on?!”
I’ve never gotten my wedding dress out before. Not once, not since the day in September twelve years ago when I zipped it away. A lot has happened since then- three babies, several moves, two houses bought- one lost, my marriage destroyed; I wasn’t sure how I would feel pulling that giant pile of fluff and tulle out. Oddly, not a thing. It kind of surprised me- no gut-lurch, no hot tears being blinked back- just kind of quiet detachment, looking at a pretty relic.
Abby’s right- it’s a beautiful dress. I fell in love with it when I saw it in the window of the bridal shop; it was the only dress I ever tried on. Seriously. Unclasping the tiny silk buttons down the back, I readied to lift it over Abby, who had already eagerly stripped down to her knickers and was wiggling with joy. Of course it was huge on her, the tulle ballgown skirt swamping her and puddling in a cloudlike poof- but she felt beautiful, like a princess, she proudly proclaimed.
And that’s just how she should feel in a wedding dress. It belongs to her now. A beautiful reminder of something that was, and isn’t anymore, but has finally scarred over and become smooth with time. We had fun playing dress-up, and I zipped the gown back into it’s bag and hung it in Abby’s closet. She’s gone in to look at it a dozen times since yesterday. I think maybe Darth Vader has been supplanted by gossamer… what I really want though, is to see her try and put the veil on with the Vader outfit. Now that would be awesome. Turns out time does, in fact, heal all wounds.