In the early eighties, my family lived in Wyoming. My dad's family lived there, and I got to be in my cousin's wedding as a flower girl. My Auntie Sue sewed a pretty purple velour dress for the occasion, and I remember loving it! Years later when I got married, my cousin's daughter was my flower girl. Her dress was a pretty royal purple too, at my request, and her grandma, Auntie Sue sewed it for her.
This picture is of me and my brother at the wedding. He now towers over me, despite being two years younger.
I was looking through some old photo albums recently, and really there were very few of me in a dress. Special occasions, mostly. Most invited a feeling of insecurity. I didn't like the way I felt in the dress because I weighed too much or my hair looked dumb. Even the photo of me in a school formal, a beautiful baby blue dress, gave me a yucky feeling. I that particular dress I was the smallest I've ever been as an adult or almost-adult. It didn't last long and I always wished I'd get back to that size. Despite how any dress looked, I remember the way I felt.
But this one, this one of me being a silly 4-year-old, with my brother smiling on the side, doesn't carry those insecurities. I can see our innocence, our fun. I barely remember the occasion, and I'm sure he doesn't either because he was a baby.
This year I am wearing a dress every day. I won't remember every day, nor the way I felt every day. This is a grace, to not tie clothing to feeling and memory. A grace to get back to when I was 4.