The Wedding Dress - Page 3
This will be a new tradition for the family, a new heirloom to pass down. A carefully preserved memory from one generation to pass on down to the next.
Then I had a daughter. One who wouldn't breastfeed well and one who wouldn't suck from a bottle well. With terrible acid reflux that required more medication than prescribed for adults. A daughter who cried and writhed with pain a lot and couldn't take in nutrition and whose weight percentile dropped from 90th to below zero in a matter of months. Doctors couldn't figure out what caused these issues and every new visit brought a new scary round of tests. Genetic tests, cystic fibrosis, other possibilities I didn't want to say aloud. Failure to thrive is a non-specific diagnosis that simply means a child is not growing as she should, it is a label that makes you feel like a terrible mother and doesn't give you any information at all. During this time, when I would wake up in the morning and see that damned wedding dress that I wasn't sure my daughter would live long enough to wear... would she ever live long enough to fall in love... would she live long enough to go to school... during those times, I would see that stupid box and I would sometimes just cry with all the pain that was inside me. That white dress of hope became a symbol of all of my greatest fears. I hated that dress.
I hated it for reminding me of a future that may not ever exist.
After scary moments... an outpatient endoscopy that turned hypoxic, necessitating a hospital stay in a hospital with no beds just as an ice storm was moving in and ambulances refused to take us anywhere... miraculously... she recovered. She is my stubborn, brilliant, wild-child of a JavaGirl. The doctors still don't know what caused all her troubles, nor do they know what "cured" her, but she now eats like a truck driver while maintaining a tall, thin frame. She's stronger than anyone else I know. Myself included. She has a future, any future she chooses. I probably should pray for any young man brave enough to fall in love with her because she's probably not going to make life easy for him!
While watching an episode of Brothers and Sisters last night, one of the younger characters was trying on gorgeous, stylish wedding dresses and I thought, "Perhaps my wedding dress will be too traditional for my daughter by the time she gets married. Maybe I should just get rid of it, donating it to Brides Against Breast Cancer so it can do someone some good now." Although it's always been my intention to merely offer the dress to my daughter, knowing full well that the offer may be (politely) declined, I wondered if it was foolish to hang onto the dress for 20+ more years on the off chance she'd like it. My mind wandered to other uses for it, as people had tried to convince me before to have it made into a baptismal gown, and then a recent Project Runway (yes, apparently I watch a lot of TV) had an amusing episode where "ex-brides" had their dresses turned into new fashions that better reflected their new lifestyles.Continued on the next page