12 Dec

On Saturday night, me and my husband went to the annual Christmas gala put on by my employers. While I always get excited about the prospect of going out for a meal at a place that does not supply paper menus and crayons, there is always a bit of angst involved in the preparation.

For a start, we have to arrange childcare and hope that the almost-six-year-old drama queen won’t have a hissy fit when he discovers that we’re going out without him. When we fail to find childcare because it’s the Christmas season and apparently, baby-sitters have lives too, we have to hope that the kids won’t tie their elderly grandmother and great-aunt to a pole and dance around them waving sticks and chanting ominously.

Once the kids are sorted out, we move on to the more difficult question, one that has plagued women all over the world since the very beginning of time.

What do I wear?

Where shopping is concerned, my philosophy is this: Why put off until tomorrow what you can do the following day? In that vein, I went shopping for my dress at lunchtime on Friday, one day before the event. And yes, I had to get a new dress. No, I couldn’t wear something already in my wardrobe. My clothing size has changed so many times over the years, in both directions, that I don’t actually have anything that fits. So, off the store I went, fully expecting that as usual, I would have to settle for something I didn’t really like. The perils of being a habitual last-minute shopper. Someday I’ll learn. Maybe. Probably not.

Anyway, the shopping expedition went a lot better than expected. As soon as I walked into the store, I saw a chocolate brown creation that looked very nice. I never thought chocolate brown was really my colour, but some intuition told me to give it a try. By some miracle, they actually had the dress in my size. I picked out a couple of other dresses to try on just in case the chocolate brown one didn’t work out, and I retreated into the change room. I briefly wavered between the chocolate brown dress and a red one, but in the end I went for my initial instinct. Apart from the fact that the brown looked better, I already had shoes that would go with it. I wasn’t wild about the idea of dropping over a hundred bucks on a pair of shoes that would shred my feet by the time dessert was being served.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon, when we were getting ready to go. My makeup was applied and my hair was as done as it was ever going to be. The husband was off putting on his glad rags, and all I had to do was put the dress on. As I slipped it over my head, my eight-year-old son – so sweet and innocent in his autism – wandered in. He tentatively touched the shiny fabric and smiled. And then – to my astonishment – he started helping me accessorize. He grabbed my shoes and helped me put them on. He dug around in my dresser and came up with the necklace I wore with my wedding dress. He handed it to me and said, “Put the necklace on, Mommy.” It wasn’t the necklace I had been planning on wearing, but when your mostly non-verbal autistic child gives you a full, appropriate-to-the-circumstances sentence, you don’t sneeze at it. I put the necklace on, and would you believe it, the kid was right! The necklace looked way better than what I had been planning on.

My little fashion diva stepped back to survey his handiwork. He gazed at me and said a single word: Princess.

We had a great night. The food was good, we had very nice people at our table, we danced and partied and had fun. The dress was a hit, and my some miracle, it was even comfortable. There are many moments of the evening that I smile about as I relive them. Walking into the ballroom hand-in-hand with my husband. The many laughs we shared with the people at our table. The outstanding wine and the food that was so pretty I almost didn’t want to eat it.

But in the end, there is one memory of the evening that I hold close to my heart, that warms me from the inside every time I think about it.

My beautiful son, looking at me with those big blue eyes, calling me a princess.

At moments like that, my cup overfloweth.


6 Responses to “Princess”

  1. shobavish December 13, 2011 at 4:18 PM #

    Tag surfing brought me here – l appreciate your slant on life and look forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. Lisa Hetherington December 16, 2011 at 9:42 PM #

    How wonderful! I hope that your son calling you “Princess” will be one of the things you recall when you look back on Christmas 2011.

    • runningforautism December 17, 2011 at 9:42 AM #

      It is a memory I will treasure forever for sure. Thank you!

  3. Annie December 17, 2011 at 8:26 AM #

    Tears before 7 am-usually not a good way to start my day! But what a sweet, sweet story!

    • runningforautism December 17, 2011 at 9:44 AM #

      Thank you! It was a tear-jerker moment for sure! I told my husband about it on our way to the event. Had to touch up my waterproof mascara which, let’s face it, is never waterproof when it really matters!

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