Friday, October 06, 2006

Dress Code

My mother was a stickler for appropriate behavior. A week before she died, she talked to my sister in law about the service, how it would be run, who would be there. Check with Dan and Linda, she said, to know how people were connected to her.

Well, will I at least get to see the thank you cards before they go out? My sister in law said, hopefully.

You, my mother said in her deep voice, will be the one to write them.

Thank you cards. Always.

Getting ready to go out to dinner last night, I made my son tuck his shirt into his pants.

MOM! I look dorky.

You don’t know anyone in Rochester. So what if you look dorky.


Tuck your shirt in, Ben. For your Grandmother.

Grandma didn’t care how we dressed!

Jeanine and I almost died laughing. You have got to be kidding.

I fought most of my life with my mother about how I was dressed. The first time Jeanine met my mother, I made her wear a skirt- no lie- with tights and a blue blazer. (It made a difference- Jeanine was the ONLY girlfriend I ever had my mother liked.)

My sister came home as a teen, once, with a shirt my mother felt was completely inappropriate. Furious, she ripped it off her.

As each person met us at dinner, I retold Ben's insistence about his grandmother. Everyone laughed- a lot- and I could see him take in another side of his Grandmother he didn’t know existed. She really did love her grandchildren unconditionally. She would pick food off their plates, stealing French Fries playfully. She would watch them run around wildly and simply chuckle, Bless their hearts. Her judgmental fury never touched them.

Only now does he know that Grandma really did care about what he was wearing.


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