dress shopping.

I was all alone when I bought my wedding dress. I had spent the weekend with my maid of honor, Ashley, travelling to Boone and back and hitting every thrift store on the way to check their bridal section. We even stopped at a retail boutique in Boone, called "Did Someone Say Party?," a name I used to make fun of when I was in college and which I did again, even as I flipped through rows of white encased in plastic. I had been discouraged by the secondhand selection, but I was reassured to discover that I didn't much care for the new stuff any better. It was still ugly, but no puffy sleeves. All the dresses were too...flashy. They were all weighed down with sequins and beads and lace. Even the ones that could be called understated seemed overly ornate to me.

So no wedding dress. We did buy a bunch of other stuff at those stores, though.

I dropped Ashley off at her house near Charlotte and got ready to head back to Raleigh. She mentioned that there was a Goodwill on my way in Kannapolis. And that's where I found a dress that had no sequins, no beads, no sparkles at all. Just an off-white dress with a fabric flower at the hip. I couldn't decide, and I was all alone, so I texted Ashley pictures of it to get her opinion. In the end, I bought it. $35.

I called my mom on the way home and told her that I had bought a white dress. She was disappointed. Because, you see, I was supposed to find my dress, The Dress, while on a day-long shopping excursion with her. Nevermind that it was unlikely it would've happened that way. You never know what you'll find secondhand, but if you're looking for something specific, you never know when you'll find it. But that was how we found prom dresses for me years and years ago, and that was how we both imagined it happening for my wedding. I admit that I was disappointed, too. Texting in the dressing room of a Goodwill is not I imagined picking out The Dress. But I did want this dress, and so that's how it happened.

A few weeks ago, I went on a nice mother-daughter dress shopping day, because the mother of the bride has got to wear something, too. We went through dress departments in several stores, picking things off the shelves to try on. I pointed out ones she might like, while trying not to pressure her in any specific direction. I took pictures of her looking demure in nice dresses and sock feet, before we went on to the next store. In the dressing room, I was the one taking things off hangers and then putting them back on. It was one of those role reversals they talk about when you become an adult and start doing things for your parents, but this was one of the nice kind. Then I bought her lunch, since she was the one driving.

In the end, we went back to the first store to buy the dress she'd liked there. She thanked me for being patient with her, which made me feel good, even though she hadn't tried my patience at all. It's very easy to hang out with my mom, to talk or to be in silence. Now that I think about it, the role reversal idea doesn't fit at all. It wasn't like a parent and child relationship, but instead just friends on a nice dress shopping day.

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