Dressing Up for May Day

In a house of boys living in the oh-so-casual West, we don’t dress up often. So, dress-up days at school cause us some angst.

Do the khakis that fit you at Grandparents’ Day still fit for May Day? Is your only button-down shirt still on the ironing board after six months? No dear, athletic socks do not go with fancy shoes. Your loafers are too small? Can you wear them for two more hours? No time to shop!

And we have sensory issues. Even the softest dress pants rub against the back of one son’s knees and leave a “rash”. Tags we forget to cut out of anything new itch to distraction. Ties make them feel like they’re choking.

And then, when they are all looking absolutely handsome five minutes before departure, I step outside into the sunshine – dressing up in daytime a rare thing for me too – and realize my skirt is completely see-through.

Oh my god, do I even own a slip?!

Dressing Up Mom

If my boys are telling me a story or joke, they will follow me all over the house to tell it to me. Yesterday they followed me into my closet, and while one was telling the joke, the other was looking at my clothes.

“This does not look like you,” said the nine year old, tugging at a brightly colored collared shirt.

“That’s because it isn’t. I just bought it so I can try a golf lesson.”

“It’s more Dad.”

“That’s because he plays golf.”

The joke his brother was telling ended, and the two of them kept going through my clothes.

“You pretty much look like a dork except when you wear dresses,” the ten year old informed me, touching a casual red one he has commented on before.

“Like this one. You should wear this one a lot.” Every time I wear a dress, the one who just called me a dork tells me I look really pretty and gives me a big hug. I always imagined he knew that dressing up is hard for me, and I need a thumbs-up before I go out into the world that way. Nope.

They found some of my fancier dresses, not worn since my early thirties when I still had friends who were having weddings.

“Wow, you never wear this. You should wear this!” I loved that dress when I bought it before having three kids.

And about a cream colored one, “Is this your wedding dress? Wear this!”

“Not my wedding dress, but it is fancy,” I explained. “I don’t have anywhere to wear it.”

“You should wear it out to dinner!”

“I would need to go somewhere really fancy.”

“Then Dad should take you somewhere really fancy.”

“But we don’t like fancy food.”

“Oh, mom! Just wear the dress.”

And then they were off, leaving me alone in my closet to ponder why two boys whose clothes rarely match want their mom to look like a princess.