Monday, May 13, 2013

Dissension in the ranks

I ran into a bit of a minimalistic quandary this weekend. Totally unintentionally, and totally my fault because if I'd have just kept my big mouth shut, no one would have been the wiser.

Ah, well.

Johanna made her First Communion on Sunday, and we had a barbecue for her afterwards. Tangent: The weather went from upper 80s and beautiful to low 70s and humid and cloudy, but it didn't rain, so we're calling it a win. Another tangent: Johanna hates dresses, and it took quite a bit of bribery to get her into the thing (she didn't have to wear socks, she didn't have to let Abby do her hair, she could take it off the minute we got home from church), but she looked adorable and made it through the whole ordeal fairly gracefully. Another win.

She was FEELING IT. Not.
Anyway, so we're down in the church basement afterwards for a little reception, and I made a comment about how Johanna's dress was headed to the church rummage sale in June now that both she and Abby were finished with it.

And all hell broke loose.

My mother-in-law was horrified that I would even think about it. Naturally I'd want to save it for Abby's daughter! It's an heirloom! SHE would save it if I didn't want to!

Then my mother got into the act. Of course I'd want to save it. My sister-in-law Debbie casually mentioned that she had saved her daughter's dress (irony: Keshia has one boy and another boy on the way).

No one could get why I would possibly want to get rid of this dress, except for Eric and my brother-in-law Greg, who was like, I am pro this plan.

It completely caught me off guard. I was honestly not expecting anyone to feel any kind of emotional attachment to a dress that we bought off the sale rack at J.C. Penney in 2007 for like $16 (it was quite a sale), and only kept because be had another little girl (even if she was two at the time) who would be able to wear it in the relatively near future.

So I found myself in a bad guy role for mentioning it. I finally calmed everyone down by agreeing to give it to my mother to pass along to my cousin's daughter, who will be making her First Communion in a couple of years. Never mind that she's a tiny little thing and this dress was purchased for my giant children, if that makes y'all feel better, fine. I think my mother-in-law was still kind of horrified that "the next generation" would not get a chance to wear this dress, but she had the good grace to let it drop.

But look: Why would I save a dress "for future generations?" Styles change and white fabric turns yellow with age. The girls you bank on having end up being boys. Time and energy go down the drain each time you look at the thing hanging uselessly in the closet or move it around or clean it again. This seems especially silly when there is a little girl out there, RIGHT NOW, who could use it. When it's still in style and still pure white.

My future grandkids, if I end up with grandkids, don't have to live up to my expectations on their special day. You wear what makes you feel good, future grandkids, and your grandfather and I will do the same. You're welcome.

In the grand scheme of things, letting go of this dress is a cake walk. I have let go of a lot of things during the past year's minimalism crusade, and I don't even remember what most of them were. I used to keep things because I might need them later, or because they were expensive, or because they were gifts. I'm finding that I rarely need anything I've kept aside, that the money is already spent, and that keeping something from guilt isn't a good reason at all. The less I own, the better I feel. And bonus perk, it took me about ten minutes this morning to get the house straightened up after the party (and no, no disposables) because we don't have much to deal with.

 It's a pretty damn awesome feeling.

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