For almost 13 years I have been indecisive about what to do with my wedding dress. I didn’t really want to keep it at first. I was six years away from being a mom. The thought of paying the kind of money it takes to correctly store that sort of thing for someone who may or may not exist, and then may or may not want it, was silly. But I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, either.
Today is a totally different situation, but the feelings are the same. I’m a mom, I have daughters, and I still can’t bear to get rid of the dress even though I hate the amount of money it takes to clean and store. But I finally made the move, and took the dress this morning from the back of Goose and Bear’s closet and handed it over to a perfectly helpful dry cleaner who specializes in this sort of thing.
I guess the process of finally completing this task after so many years was a bigger deal than I realized, because I found myself in a daydream of memories on the way home. The woman who wore that dress and somehow managed not to spill anything on it anywhere, a feat I currently fail to accomplish ever, feels like an alternate reality version of me. I remember the day, I remember our life then. But it almost doesn’t feel like mine. Everything was new, exciting, and simpler, even though mid-20’s me might not have agreed. We spent a lot of time planning and looking towards the future, the constant “once we get THIS (house, better job, kids, yard, dog, etc.) then we will be able to relax and enjoy” mentality. I regret that we wasted that simpler time stressing about the future. But we did.
It is a bizarre feeling to realize that the life I am in today is the one I had spent so much time looking towards from the other side. I am currently living “THIS”; we have the house, the better jobs, the kids, the yard. (We had the dog for almost 11 years, who sadly died when my toddlers were babies, and we aren’t quite ready to start that again). But I’m in it, I’m the me I was always planning towards. Have I lived up to expectations? I don’t know, that’s probably a whole other blog series. But whatever I am, I’m living and not just hoping and planning.
As for the dress, I didn’t try it on. I know that three-kids me had no chance of zipping up a dress that wedding-day me wore perfectly. Strange as it may sound, though, I had to touch it again. It honestly looked a little foreign once I pulled it out of the closet and studied it for a few minutes under the plastic cover. It’s a far cry from yoga pants and a 10-year-old fun run t-shirt with a reminder of someone’s breakfast on the sleeve.
But once I felt the fabric again, somehow that touch assured me that dress was mine, and it was me who wore it and me who existed in such a different time of life. I just hope that one of my kids decides to use some part of that dress so I didn’t spend the money just to have a really expensive epiphany.