Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do you wear purple with a red hat?

It's been a good day. Just got back from a visit with my mother-in-law... I took her to the mall, shopping for a dress to wear to my son's wedding. She's 86 years old, white haired, and short like me (I guess I'm white haired, haven't seen my true color in a few years). She'd already shown me what she had that she could wear, but then she said, "But I kind of would like to buy a new dress, you know? Something different." Well, that's what I wanted to hear... and off we went.

Once we arrived in the petites department, she clearly avoided all the dresses and dress suits that looked like something an old woman would wear. I did point out the finer details of these garments, but I agreed with her when she said they were all too long and frumpy. She wanted color, and she wanted a dress, not a skirt with a jacket. She had skirts with jackets in her closet back home. She wanted something different. I encouraged her to find something that she liked, not what I liked, not what her sister liked, but what she liked.

After trying on four different outfits/dresses, she chose something very colorful, nothing like the drab dark colors that seemed to be for the more mature woman who needed to look nice on a wedding day. She already had a closet filled with "Sunday" clothes in dark and light colors. I recalled the poem I had read, years ago, "When I'm an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat...." Maybe she was feeling like that. Maybe wearing this dress would take her mind off the pain in her knees. Maybe wearing this dress would make her feel extra special on a day that everyone else will be dressed up and feeling special, on a day when the bride will be feeling the most extra special of all. I wanted my mother-in-law to feel special that day too.

Well, you know what, I couldn't even begin to direct her away from those youthful colors. Spring is coming soon... Easter is around the corner. She could wear this dress Easter week! If I were her, I would want the option to wear what I wanted. The dress she picked fit her, aside from some minor alterations that she could do herself. The length fell just below her aching knees, and the waist fit her nicely. She considered the three other dresses she had tried on: a navy blue with white dots that had an atrocious tie-on belt that stuck out too far in the front; a dark blue skirt with matching top, white dots, and an orange sweater jacket (one of those short sweater jackets); another drabby long dress that neither of us liked... then finally, she chose the pink/orange/purple/red flowered pattern with a short, bright pinkish-orange 'sweater-jacket'... like I said, it is very colorful. And it looks good on her. It makes her feel good to wear it, and it's comfortable. So I told her to get it.

I even attempted to get her to try on other dresses in another store at the other end of the mall, you know, to make sure she was happy with what we had... in case she did find something else, I would buy it, too, because she would need something to wear to the wedding rehearsal dinner as well. I was prepared to buy her two lovely dresses today. However, as we walked along the racks, neither of us saw anything that could beat what she had already selected. She said she could wear one of her spring-color skirt/jackets to the rehearsal dinner, and the new dress to the wedding.

 Well, that was an easy shopping trip!

The kitten? somehow my MIL came to be its current owner. She doesn't need another kitty, but a woman who couldn't take care of it offered it to her. My MIL has a big soft heart, and finds it difficult to say no when it comes to helping someone out, so she offered to take the kitty. And now she is attached to it. It's name is Sophia. I tried to capture those bright blue eyes, but got red eye with a flash, and she wouldn't stay still long enough to take a clear shot in the low light of the living room. I didn't have any photos of us shopping, so I added the kitty. I love kitties... Don't want to have one now, but just love petting them and taking pictures of them. Someday, I'll have a cat, but not now.


  1. I hope that I will always be the type of woman who won't be pigeon holed into dressing a certain way befitting my age! I do not want to look like lamb dressed as mutton, but I, too, want a bit of colour in my life and let's face it. Colour is not just for young people! We always had siamese cats when I was growing up and I had two blue points when my children were at home. They are lovely cats, so very intelligent and loving. Quite contrary to the reputation they have! xxoo

  2. Sounds like your mother-in-law is heading for a new spring - and why not! I love purple and red - but I don't suit hats!

  3. Cute Kitteh and fun shopping for you (not for me though) :o)

  4. I am so pleased and happy that you and you MIL had a good shopping expidition and wonderful that she was wise enough to go for somthing bright and cheerful she will be the belle of the ball at the wedding..
    That wee puss looks just lovely he has such wonderful eyes..
    Hope you have a good week.
    Love Sybil x

  5. I love the kitty - looks like a type of Siamese, which is one that I would like to have when I'm older. I love the colour purple, but have never thought of wearing a red hat with any of my purple ensembles. I don't care for hats much, as they tend to mess up my hair, lol. I like to hear that there are women out there that dress to please themselves and not for others. I, too am ready for some "colour", especially after the long and dreary winter that we have had. so nice to read another entry from you, Dear Bea. Enjoy the wedding!

  6. Bea! It is so good to see a post from you! I loved this story, and I'm glad your mother-in-law found something she liked and wanted and didn't have to settle for anything less. You are a very good daughter-in-law, and she sounds like a wonderful mother-in-law too!