Ah, the secret delight I experienced every time one of my oldest three daughters took their younger sisters shopping for a dress for a special occasion. After a particular stressful shopping trip, they would stumble through the door, complaining about their hard to please younger sibling. Typically, they’d roll their eyes and sputter,
” Do you want to know what kind of dress she wanted me to buy?!”
It was still a wonderful experience for a young adult to shop with a younger sister. In response to their tirade, I’d laugh,
“Oh, we understand what you just went through, sweetie. Now you know what your dad and I went through.”
I remember scores of tragic-comic dramas as we shopped with our daughters. One example is particularly telling. Alison was just thirteen. Since I was still surrounded by little people and laundry, Dad volunteered, quite innocently, for the shopping expedition into the city.
Four hours later, Alison barged through the kitchen door, glared at me and announced very dramatically,
“I am NEVER shopping with HIM again!”
She stomped through the kitchen and slammed the solid wood door to the hall behind her with a dramatic flourish.
A few minutes later, her father slipped through the front door, shoulders slumped and silently communicated his exhaustion and defeat.
“So”, I queried tentatively, “How did it go?”
Michael sighed and began to describe one scene in a dress shop. He had picked out a few pretty dresses which he felt were age appropriate. Holding up a flowered print dress with a high, round collar, he called out to his daughter,
“Alison, this one is very pretty.”
Alison responded by rolling her eyes dramatically,
“Dad…that’s way too childish.”
The sailor style dress that Michael thought was perfect was similarly dismissed.
Then, Alison pulled out a black, spaghetti strapped, skimpy
, black dress and squealed,
“Dad, this is exactly what I am looking for!”
Poor dad sighed but allowed her to try the dress on.
Alison emerged from the dressing room complaining,
“It makes me look FAT.”
Right then and there, my poor husband’s only wish was to sink into a deep hole because the store attendant and her customer both weighed about 300lbs. and 350 lbs. each.
Both women chimed in and exclaimed,
“Oh no dear, I don’t think you look fat at all!”
Somehow, everything always seemed to work out. On this occasion, it was Jean, Alison’s older sister, to the rescue. She borrowed a cream coloured dress from a friend, embossed with swirls and a Chinese-style collar that was decent but not childish. Alison was delighted and her dad was relieved.
It is still a wonderful experience for a young adult to shop with a younger sister. Typically my older daughters returned home, rolled their eyes and sputter,
“Do you want to know what kind of dress she wanted me to buy?!”
Oh, we know, sweetie, we know.