Banana Girl found her Bat Mitzvah dress this weekend. One store, one and half hours. It might be a record.
She loves it.
We went into the shopping experience with a few ground rules. She hates being influenced by other people, because she feels guilty if she has a different opinion than the other person, and she really wanted to pick out her own dress. Therefore, I was the only one allowed to go with her, since she and I work fairly well together. The rules were that if I said the dress was inappropriate, she couldn’t get it, but I wouldn’t give my opinion unless asked.
She tried on about six dresses, narrowed it down to three and then to one. And then we looked around the store one last time. She found another dress whose top she liked. It was the same designer as the one she liked and that designer customizes dresses. She hemmed and hawed about the two dresses and finally decided to take the bodice of one, the skirt of the other, to change the skirt color, and to add a jacket in the same color as the skirt.
There are a lot of sequins. No, take what you’re thinking and double it. Now add more. And probably more on top of that. It’s not a dress I would have chosen. First of all, I don’t like sequins. Second of all, it’s an afternoon party. But she loves it. And it covers all body parts that need covering.
Her personality is very different from mine. She likes to stand out, to make an entrance. I prefer to remain quiet (unless you tick me off; then, watch out). I’m also not thirteen (well, neither is she, yet). She shouldn’t have to wear a dress that I like just because I like it.
I’ve spent a lot of time worrying to myself that it might have been a mistake to let her have full control over the dress. I’ve worried that people are going to look at her and wonder, “what was the mother thinking?” I’ve been concerned about how pictures are going to look, because the rest of us will NOT be in sequins (unless she can convince her Rabbi to wear a sequin tie ;) ).
But then I remember something she told me as she was kvelling about the dress all weekend. “Grammy gave me great advice, Mom. She told me I should pick the dress that makes me feel like a princess. And this one does.”
You know what? She gets a day to feel like a princess. She’s putting a ton of work into her Bat Mitzvah and the party is a bit of the reward. And if this dress makes her feel like a princess, she deserves it. The dress wasn’t a mistake. To anyone who wonders (or is uncouth enough to ask), I was thinking that the dress is an easy thing to give in on and her face when she tried it on was enough for me to say, “Yes!” The pictures are going to show an ecstatically happy teenager.
This is her chance to be princess for a day and to shine (literally and figuratively).
And next time I see a 13-year-old girl in a dress I wouldn’t wear, I’m going to keep my mouth shut.