My older sister, Megan, and I were born 13 months apart. I wore her christening gown. Then it was her old coats and pajamas. Finally, I glommed onto her prom dress. Growing up, I half expected to re-wear my sister's wedding gown. Despite these experiences, I never felt deprived by a childhood of hand-me-downs. If my height didn't mandate tall sizes, I'd simply shop at Goodwill.
With three boys, I hoped to continue the tradition of cast-off clothes. Yet things veered wildly off course when I put my oldest child's christening gown on my second son. Daniel was 11 pounds at birth. Jack was considerably smaller. There was an emergency trip to the department store, and then another one a few years later when my youngest child arrived weighing a (comparatively) miniscule 7 pounds.
When Daniel made his First Communion last year, I special-ordered a suit to ensure it had the length and shoulder room required. I paid for alterations. Then I wondered if we should convert. Those Protestant people seemed nice. First Communions were getting expensive.
A year later, I was on the hunt for another Communion suit. My middle son is extremely narrow, and I again paid for massive alterations.
My mind traveled back to when I made my First Communion. For whatever reason, I wound up being a full year older than my sister had been when she had hers. The end result? Megan's stupid dress didn't fit.
My mom made me try it on five times to be absolutely sure. I looked like a deranged Shirley Temple trying to play 5 when I was actually 10. Defeated, my mom and I headed to Gately's Department Store. As I dawdled near the 10-cent candy stick display, my mom rifled through the racks.
At long last, she ushered me into a changing room. When I emerged for inspection, my mom bowed her head in prayer, begging God to delay any further growth spurts until after Mother's Day.
The dress did fit, just as I feel confident that Jack's suit will fit this month. My mom is a wreck, though. "How can you be so certain he won't grow?" she asks.
I tell her I hedged my bets. I used her same little prayer and I bought Jack a chocolate-frosted doughnut for good measure. My mom rolls her eyes and tells me she's bringing her sewing box with her the morning of the Communion.
Some people just have no faith.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.