Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

No more dresses

On the way into church this morning, two of my daughters were deep in conversation. The 13 year old was overheard saying to the 7 year old, "You look really cute but why don't you want to wear a dress to church anymore?" The 7 year old responded, "Because I'm growing up, you know."

It's funny, her perspective. She's obviously noticed that I don't wear dresses very often and neither does her teen-aged sister. For me, it's been a long journey of forced dress wearing when attending Christian schools and then teaching in a school where the dress code regulated dresses or skirts. My closet had two distinct wardrobes: the dresses for school and church, and the sweats for everyday wear. When the teacher dress code was relaxed and we were allowed to wear dress pants, I had a problem. The only pants I owned were sweats and a few pairs of jeans. The first day of the change came and I wore a dress. The women who had spear-headed the movement to change the dress code were aghast. Didn't I want the freedom to wear pants? Absolutely. But I wasn't ready to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe all at once.

There has also been a cultural shift away from dressing up. The Good Doctor noticed the other day, on my blog about my trip to Europe, that we were very dressed up to have just gotten off a plane. But it was more the norm to dress up for travel. Baby showers, visiting friends, baseball games? We dressed up. Today? I'm hard pressed to find a decent dress in my closet for going to to a wedding. But even weddings today, pants are fine.

Prior to having children, I saved clippings from magazines and catalogs, of little outfits that I was going to make for my children when they came along. I had no time to make them once the children were actually here. I did make a few outfits in those first years, but they ended up being mostly for the boys since that's what came along first. And all the ribbons and frills in the outfits I'd planned to make, would have very quickly been deemed inappropriate, itchy, or too dressy.

The years that you can choose what your children wear are very short. Around age 9, our oldest daughter decided that she liked hats. By the time the phase ended, about two years later, she owned over 20 hats, mostly gifts to fuel her fashion sense. Someone once asked me how I could let her wear hats everyday. I didn't know what to say because I hadn't considered that I shouldn't let her wear a hat everyday. For me, I was thrilled that she was able to be her own person; not worrying about the latest trends or what others thought. Since most of the hats were gifts, and many of them hand-me-downs or second-hand finds, it wasn't costing any money, either. And now that she has discovered hair and hair products and the hats have all been handed off to someone else, I miss those days.

We're also well past the days of ribbons, lace and bows. Recently we had the unpleasant task of finding a long gown for her to wear to an honors recital. She was to perform in a group with her violin studio and the instruction sheet specifically stated "long gown, tea length if you must." Knowing that whatever we found was only going to be worn once, we both put off this nasty task. Finally, a week before the event we tried a consignment shop that advertised prom dresses. No luck so we put it off again. Forced to shop because we were out of time, we ventured out this past Friday, with only one day left before the recital. I suggested we try the Salvation Army first, just in case. Sure enough, she found a lovely lavender tea length dress that she was willing to be seen in and that I was willing to let her be seen in (meaning that with the addition of a shrug, she was modestly covered). She also found something more to her liking, rainbow Converse look-alikes. She suggested wearing the two together.

She lost.

Minus the high tops, she looked lovely. And her brothers were exceptionally handsome. Without trying, the three oldest kids matched so we had to get a picture. These dressy sibling moments are few and far between.

And their 11 year old brother, who held the highest honor of the day, being asked to play a solo, looked mighty spiffy himself. For you see, you cannot play a solo at the Honors Concert unless you are given the honor of being asked, hence the term "Honors Concert."

And the best news of all? It was green tag half price day. The dress in question just happened to have a green tag. I almost paid more for the shoes than for the dress.

1 comment:

  1. You took me back to the days of being asked to put on my "church clothes." That doesn't mean what it used to. I also remember when I used to have to dress up to fly for work. I doubt that happens as much anymore either. I'm not complaining. Give me a pair of yoga pants any day of the week. ;) You kids look very cute in their spiffed up gear.