Mary Virginia doesn’t approve of my day-to-day look. T-shirt, ponytail, no makeup, usually un-showered. She’s kind about it, but she wouldn’t mind seeing me put a little more effort in my appearance. Maybe a clean shirt from time to time, a swipe of lip gloss wouldn’t kill me.
It’s fine, I don’t pick anything that she wears, either.
She suggested once, “Mommy, you should get some dresses!” It broke her heart to find out that I actually have a closet full of dresses and skirts and fancy shoes, that I choose to not wear them.
On the Friday before Mother’s Day, Mary’s preschool class hosted a “Muffins with Mom” event. When I dropped her off at class, I was wearing a t-shirt and running shorts. Then to surprise her, I changed Anna into an outfit that matched Mary’s, and I put on a skirt, nice sandals, wore my hair down, and even though you can’t tell, I put on make up.
As I was walking to her class I felt nervous and almost insecure, as if I was going on a first date. What if Mary Virginia didn’t like my outfit? What if she thinks I look silly? And most importantly, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME!? WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO ENTRUST ME WITH A LITTLE GIRL?!? One day when she’s getting dressed for the prom and she confides in me that she’s nervous about how she looks and how her date will receive her, instead of giving her a pep talk I’m going to say, “I’m sorry but I can’t help you. Once when you were four I wore an orange skirt and got heart palpitations worrying that you wouldn’t like it.”
When I walked into her class, Mary quietly showed me my chair, asked what kind of lemonade I’d like, and didn’t say a word about my outfit. Together we ate five muffins, drank three glasses of lemonade, and she gave me the presents she’d made for me in class.
She never said anything about my fancy clothes surprise, but we’d had such a special time together that it didn’t matter; I’d forgotten about it, too.
When we got home we ate lunch and I put Thomas and Anna down for naps. When the house was finally quiet, I sat down and Mary Virginia sat next to me, rested her head on my shoulder. “Mommy?” she whispered. “I really like this skirt. I think you should wear it for my birthday, too.”