Lately, I’ve been decluttering.
Downsizing my home has forced me to re-evaluate the need to hang on to items.
It’s been an arduous task because I don’t like waste, so instead of tossing the items in a bin, I try to repurpose them.
I either sell the items on Marketplace, or donate them to charity.
But when I came across my 1988 wedding dress, scrunched in a bag, I was faced with a dilemma as to what to do with it.
Stored for 33 years, the fabric had brown oxidation spots, mould and mildew growth.
So on-trend in 1988, my wedding dress featured slim long sleeves with voluminous puffy shoulders, lace overlays and an oversized bow on the back.
I had kept the dress for sentimental reasons, but now it seemed pointless to keep it when it was never going to be worn again.
What could I do with it?
How could I bring new meaning to my wedding dress?
I had an idea. And it involved a couple of “old girls”.
This past year, I have been particularly mindful to spend more time with my two Mum’s.
Both 88 years old, my mother Pam has dementia, and my mother-in-law, Pat has cancer.
Making time and giving attention to Pam and Pat is sometimes challenging.
Why? Well, life is busy and I have things I want to do! And spending time with “the Mum’s” requires me to slow down, exercise patience and be considerate.
But, I know I am very lucky that I live close to my Mum’s and that I have this opportunity, so I try to make the most of it.
Besides, my Mum’s are gold. Precious, wise women who are living treasures.
So, I took my Mum – and the dress – to my mother-in-law’s place and asked them if they would “unpick” the lace pieces from the dress and remove the buttons.
Both women – once adept at sewing – struggled with the task.
Pam’s dementia has impaired her fine motor skills and cognitive function. Pat’s physical impairments have caused stiffness and swelling in her hands limiting their functionality.
But it did not matter.
Together we laid that dress out, and we got to work.
The three of us – using sight, smell and touch – laughed and reminisced about my wedding day.
As I watched Pat and Pam’s hands at work, I was reminded of the poem My Mother’s Hands by Te’Werner.
She writes of “hands that hold our family together”. Hands that have wiped tears and caressed cheeks. Hands that have cooked meals, made beds, wrapped gifts, nestled soft babies, and rubbed sore muscles. Giving hands. Working hands. Strong Hands.
Capturing the moment
My husband photographed our mother’s hands at work.
Making memories and sharing new experiences with Pam and Pat are priceless. So I wanted the moment captured to have images to share with future generations.
One day, maybe a family member might incorporate a lace piece, a button or the bow from my wedding dress into their wedding attire, knowing that Pam and Pat are part of the story.
I feel so happy that my wedding dress became a perfect opportunity to engage, have fun and create a special memory with “the Mum’s”.
With Mother’s Day coming up, it’s worth remembering that it is not things, like chocolates or flowers, that people want most. It is human interaction.
Time and attention are the most precious gifts you can give to your Mum.
So don’t wait. Make it happen. You can.