I was about five months pregnant with my daughter and in between my regular bouts of vomiting when my mom came over for a visit with a small package in her hand.
“Estelle, I got you something to wear,” my mom said handing me the package. “Maybe not for now, but later when you’re bigger.”
“What is this?” I asked as I opened up the package and pulled out a ginormous navy blue garment, that Mama Cass would have been proud to own.
“It’s a kaftan, or what used to be called a house dress,” my mom said with delight. I thought you might like it.”
“That’s not a kaftan, Mom. It’s a muumuu—a huge one,” I said, full of righteous indignation.
“Mom, that’s so rude,” I continued. “Look at how small I am. I’m barely showing. I’ll never get that big. Please take it back, I don’t ever want to see that again and for the record, I’m extremely insulted.”
“Okay, okay. Calm down. I thought it might have been helpful, but I’ll take it back,” my mom said.
This is what a house dress looks like. Who knew?
Nonplussed, my mom put away the muumuu, and I didn’t think too much about it. I was busy becoming a micro-expert on all things pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.
Flash-forward, a few months after the “muumuu incident” and I was so big that going from the bed to the bathroom to vomit each night (yes, I enjoyed that particular side effect of pregnancy up till my 32nd week) was such an ordeal, that I pulled the “royalty” card of yore and told friends and family alike that I was going into “seclusion” until after the birth.
I’m surprised I didn’t send out an engraved announcement about my “seclusion” although I hardly felt like a Queen, but instead more like a vomiting, flatulent, Prairie woman. Still, one day, I called my mom up. I had come to an important decision.
“Hi, Mom. Listen, I can’t fit into any of my maternity clothes anymore, and besides, the heartburn makes anything that is constricting in any way too uncomfortable. You don’t by any chance still have that muumuu?” I asked.
Her answer brought tears to my eyes.
“Estelle, I saved the muumuu for you. I had a feeling you’d want it one day.”
Do you know, I wore that muumuu every day until the day I left to give birth in the hospital, 70 pounds heavier than my original weight. By that time, the muumuu was a pale replica of its former self, what with the missing buttons down the front and faint vomit stains by the hem that washing couldn’t eradicate.
Somehow, none of that mattered. My mom had been there for me when I needed her, and now I had someone who might need me to give her a muumuu one day.
You bet I will.
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