35: She Did It with Dresses

35: She Did It with Dresses

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!

She Did It with Dresses

A mother is the truest friend we have.

~Washington Irving

I got dumped the spring I was nineteen. There was no official goodbye. He just announced he was spending the summer with friends three thousand miles away.

My parents had liked him, but they didn’t react when I shared my news. They were stoic New England people, children of the Depression. They kept their emotions hidden. I did, however, notice a sideways glance and eyebrow language pass between them.

The following weekend, my mother casually commented that it would be nice to pick up a few new summer dresses. She didn’t say anything about my ex, but clearly she was taking me for some retail therapy.

I picked out a swingy violet sundress, a teal pin-tucked rayon, and a black knit sheath. I felt much better, and while I was thanking my mother I said, “We should enjoy breakups more often.”

I never saw that boy again and I wore the violet dress from that curative day to my rehearsal dinner several years later. It seemed like a fitting way to celebrate my new life, with the right guy.

My mother’s love was quiet and intuitive. She knew just what I needed, and she did it gracefully, without lengthy laments, sunny sermons, or positive pep talks. She knew that I needed to feel bright and pretty again.

She did it with dresses.

~Allison Howell

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