My favorite piece of clothing is a blue and green plaid sleeveless shift dress that's as old as my marriage.
It's the oldest garment I have and I dare say it hasn't, and won't, go out of style. It comes to my knees and is as simple and classic a casual summer dress as can be.
I am amazed that it still fits. It's a bit more snug than it was 13 years ago, but has been flattering on my body through my skinny years, my chunky years, my chemo year, and even the beginning of my pregnancy year. I bought it when I had hair halfway down my back and it used to get snagged in the wooden buttons that stretch from hem to neckline; I continued wearing it when I had nothing but peach fuzz on my head.
When it was new, I wore it when I wanted to dress up a little bit. Now that the fabric is a little softer and more worn, it's my go-to dress on those hot Kentucky summer days when even a pair of shorts seems like too much clothes. I love it best after a day at the pool, when I've showered off the chlorine and sunscreen. I feel pretty, comfortable, and breezy in it; it feels like home.
I bought the dress on our honeymoon. We stayed at a cabin in a bed and breakfast in the mountains of Sevierville, Tennessee. It wasn't a glamorous honeymoon, and we were only 5 hours away from home. But it was perfect. Every day we woke to a country breakfast in the inn, went on a hike or some other mountain adventure, napped, shopped at the outlet stores in Pigeon Forge, and roamed around Gatlinburg. I remember thinking every night how strange and yet how wonderful it was to fall asleep and wake up with Jason and then to spend nearly every waking moment together and know that that was pretty much how the rest of our lives would go (except for that pesky thing called work.) We had been a couple for seven years when we got married, so you'd think I would have gotten used to the idea of being a married couple. But we hadn't lived together before we married, so that week in Tennessee was when I really saw how the rest of our lives was going to look.
Beyond that it still fits, beyond that it's still flattering 13 years later, that blue and green plaid dress is my favorite because it takes me back to those humble beginnings. That was before we lost grandparents, and parents, and before we realized that what we thought we wanted to do with the rest of our working lives wasn't really what we wanted to do with the rest of our working lives. Before we became parents, before the cancer. Back when we stood at the beginning of our road together and saw a straight, paved path, not knowing that just outside our field of vision were hills and valleys and broken places.
I'm not that same girl I was the day I plucked the dress off a rack at The Gap outlet store. But the dress is the same. It hasn't really faded, and it hasn't frayed. It has not lost a single button. The only way that it has changed is that it has changed on me.
I am especially thinking of the dress this week as I pick out an anniversary card and an anniversary gift for Jason. Thirteen years. Sure, a lot has changed. We've changed. But our love hasn't. Like the dress, the only thing that's changed is the way the love fits us. Maybe a little looser in some places, a little tighter in some others. But it still looks good.
Any woman will tell you that the perfect dress is hard to find. Harder still is finding a good husband. I am so very fortunate to have found both.