Today is an extremely important day for our family. My second-youngest sister (let's call her Sister #3--I have a lot of sisters...) is getting married today. And I won't be there. Suffice it to say that, with the Captain gone, Firstborn both in school and suffering from some pretty severe separation anxiety since his father's departure, doing the 40-hour round-trip alone with 2 small children just wasn't possible. It's at times like these that I question what on earth we were thinking plunging our little family into military life. But, what's done is done, and I will simply have to live with the disappointment of being absent from yet another family portrait. I could go on about this disappointment all day, all the important things I've missed, all the meaningful speeches I haven't heard and all those small moments that will never linger in my memory. But that's just not me. At this very second, as miserable as I feel for missing the wedding, what's also sticking in my craw is something far, far more shallow.
I've missed my chance to wear my new Little Black Dress.
Oh, you should see it! Hanging in the closet, it actually looks no more flattering than my bathrobe, but when I put it on, it emphasizes all those body parts that haven't yet gone south, and skims nicely over the ones that have. It is made of a slightly stretchy fabric and is one of those wrap-style dresses that all the magazines have been telling me I should own. When I wear it, I look like a grownup, stylish but classic.
Seeing this dress, of course, brings my brain around to all the regrettable clothing decisions I've made in the past. To mention just a few...the stretchy, skimpy, skin-tight red thing I was prone to throw on every dressy occasion at the age of 20 (long retired, thank god), the 10 year-old blazer I decided to wear rather than replace to one military function or another last year (just because it's black, it doesn't make polyester right--it is now, also, retired, enormous shoulder pads and all) and the homemade 2-piece gold satin dress I made myself for the Captain's Spring Ball last year. In my defense, the dress itself wasn't bad, even if the style I chose couldn't really be called "flattering", but the ball was held on a humid day and I made the unfortunate decision to curl my hair. Also, I inexplicably decided to wear contact lenses instead of my signature specs. So in the pictures, I kind of have the look of a deranged woman going home to her 54 cats and shopping cart full of cans.
But I digress.
The ultimate awful dress for me also doubles as the most expensive thing I've ever worn. And I think most women would nod their heads in sympathy for me, knowing exactly how this one feels, when I say it was a bridesmaid's dress. Some years back, I stuffed myself into a poofy, pastel, hideously outdated travesty of a dress that, at $400, was a steal, considering it could only have come from the Queen Mother's personal collection. The bride loved the style, and I loved the bride, so I wore the thing with a smile on my face, all the while secretly wishing I was part of the wedding party across the park who were all wearing something gorgeous and stylish. This dress ended up being cut up the following fall and used as a halloween costume, and it is one good reason I avoid as much as possible ever agreeing to be a bridesmaid again. A wedding is only fun if you're way off in the back, enjoying the meal and wearing whatever you like. And for me, I like the LBD.
So this evening, after the kids are in bed, I may whip up a few appetizers, pour myself a glass of wine, slip into my new LBD and quietly celebrate the marriage of Sister #3 all by myself.
Okay, okay, that would just be sad. But I won't say no to the wine and appetizers.