Briseis’s grandma (on her dad’s side) recently-ish gifted Emma a beautiful blue lace dress that she’s been in love with since the moment she unwrapped it. It is well-loved by little Emma, worn so frequently that it’s already torn and wearing out. When I was a kid, I too was gifted a blue lace dress, but I didn’t love mine as much as Emma loves hers.
When I was a kid, I was a bit of a tomboy. I spent most of my time outdoors – climbing trees, riding my bike, catching tadpoles, taping paper plates around my mid-section and pretending I was a Ninja Turtle, being the only girl in the entire county-wide league that played t-ball, digging, running, swimming, whatever – and dressed for that environment. That meant no skirts or dresses. They weren’t much my thing. It’s not that I was a dudely little girl. It’s just that I wasn’t a girly little girl. I’m still not.
Anyway. When I was a kid, lace leggings were all the rage (along with Polly Pockets, Skip-Its and pogs). I desperately wanted a pair (kind of like these ones), but we were poor and new clothes were never actually new for me, especially not ones that fancy. As the oldest cousin and only child, a source for hand-me-downs didn’t really exist, so I dressed in whatever came home from the thrift store or off of my mom’s sewing machine. Much to my chagrin, that meant no lace leggings. *SIGH*
The one day my mom was gifted a beautiful lace dress in my size. No question, she loved it more than I did. It was nicer than anything she could have ever afforded for me – a designer dress (Jessica McClintock, I believe) – and she absolutely beamed over it. I didn’t really have anywhere to actually wear it, so I mostly just played dress-up with it, which was never overly exciting for me but which thrilled my mom to no end. I mean, it was a pretty dress, but so impractical for all my outside activities. A blue lace dress did me no good. But blue lace leggings? Now those would be perfect. So one afternoon when my mom was on the phone, I set out to make my own pair of lace leggings. I gathered my supplies – blue lace dress, a pair of leggings, scissors, and scotch tape – and got to work.
I cut out from the dress randomly sized and randomly shaped pieces of lace, and scotch taped them to a pair of leggings. I have no idea how long I spent doing this, but I do remember that at whatever point I finally decided that I was done I was overflowing with sense of accomplishment. I mean, how genius was I?! My mom preached the idea of recycling and reusing and repurposing things so I just knew she would be as proud of me for making my own lace leggings – for free! – as I was of myself. Except she wasn’t. She was furious. FURIOUS. If you think I’m being hyperbolic, think again.
My mom was so upset with me that save for the clothes I had on my back at that exact moment in time, she stuffed all of my clothes into black kitchen trash bags and locked them in the attic for a week. No bullshit. Every time I bring up this story she starts apologizing profusely, embarrassed that she was upset over something so trivial. But I laugh and tell her to stop apologizing because I don’t hold it against her. I get it. For real, I get it.
Lately, Emma’s been doing this thing called not fucking listening, which is also known in some circles as acting her age or, being four. It goes like this: RJ or I ask her to pick up her toys or put away her shoes or what-the-fuck ever and she completely ignores us after epic protests. First she whines and tells us she can’t do anything because “my knees hurt,” and then she literally drags her feet while pouting and heavily sighing and hemming and hawing and then she turns on her blinders and tunes us out, proceeding to play or watch TV or color or whatever. But then yesterday we had enough.
After RJ asked her 87,000 times to clean up her mess in the living room she grabbed a Barbie, ran upstairs to her room, slammed and locked her door, and started playing. Nuh-uh. After weeks of empty threats, RJ and I finally followed through: we took everything out of her room. Toys, books, clothes, and all her bedding except for her sheet, a pillow and a blanket. She decided she didn’t want any of those three things and threw them into the hallway, crawled under her bed and yelled at the top of her lungs that we aren’t part of her family anymore.
RJ’s eyes started getting misty. Mine just rolled around a few times in my head. “If you think this is bad, wait until she’s 13,” I said. He looked at me like someone had sucked the soul out of his being, shook his head ‘no’ and went downstairs. Meanwhile, Emma continued to scream at us and then for us, but every time we went in she just started screaming at us again until she finally fell asleep, which I’m 99% sure is exactly how I reacted when my mom took all of my clothes away from me.
How’s the saying go? “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” That’s it, right?