Diva Rocks The Red Dress

(I’ve had this in my drafts for awhile as a writing exercise, I’m sticking it up. It’s not about perfume… back to perfume on Monday, I promise.)

It´s official: I´m going to hell. I bought Diva her first skank dress – three of them, actually – for her last round of bar/bat mitzvah parties.

How did this come to pass? Well, it was easy. First off, I´d like to thank all the designers of dresses in size 12/14 (girls) and the junior department, and tell them I look forward to seeing them in the circles below me in hell, along with aggressive telemarketers and people who don´t clean up after their dogs.

There are six types of dresses available for 13-year-old girls:

1) The stiff, Easter-egg-colored satin affairs I´d bully her into if she were a junior bridesmaid at a wedding;

2) The tasteful, floral, dressy dresses from, say, Talbots Kids and The Wooden Soldier that work well for brunch or dinner at the country club;

3) The dresses that come size 7-16 in the girls department. I could write a book about everything wrong with those dresses, but instead I´ll state the obvious: if you take a particular dress design and make it in sizes 7 to 16, it will only be appropriate for a small segment of that actual age group. A dress that looks right on a 7-year-old looks absurd in a size 16, and vice versa. Also, they make the larger sizes without any accompanying darts, neckline changes or other adjustments that would accommodate the shape of an adolescent girl´s body;

4) Big, froufrou Scarlett O´Hara tulle-meringue-like confections, which are apparently bought by some girls for proms and quinceaneras (I was so mystified I asked);

5) The petite section of the woman´s department – all of which are too staid, too structured, too weird or otherwise too “adult” looking to appeal to a tweener, and are often quite expensive;

6) Hence the skank dresses. I have held firm on the Skank Line. This has not been easy, in an age where the fashion-forward girls in Diva’s school are now wearing micro-minis with thongs so that (I kid you not) their peers can see their business when they walk up the stairs of their junior high. I am insanely grateful that Diva mostly wants to dress in jeans, flip-flops and cute, belly-covering tops. But jeans don´t cut it for the bar mitzvahs, and her church outfits aren´t going to work, either.

For the past two years, as most of her friends have held onto their Olive Oyl little-girl bodies, sliding into size 0 jeans and then wailing that their butts look big, Diva has morphed into a curvy girl in a Mary-Kate world. She routinely gets mistaken for a 15- or 16-year-old, and not because she’s dressed or made up inappropriately. Like her father she has the big-boned, muscular arms of an athlete, the legs and thighs of a field-hockey player, and she’s bootylicious like Serena and J-Lo. (I am still thanking God for the day we discovered JLo Jeans, because there´s a woman who understands curves). I am quietly stunned when I watch her move with a raw, graceful power I will never have. I am from the land of the bird-boned women, with wrists (and legs and fingers and pick almost any other measurable dimension) smaller than hers, though she´s still several inches shorter than I am.

Sometimes I meet other mothers, mothers of boys from school, and they say to me, oh. Oh. You´re Diva´s mom. They look at me speculatively. Their sons have been in love with her forever. Because she´s funny. And kind. And sensitive. And she´s grown into the quirky, strong planes of her face and those Liv Tyler lips. But that´s not what she sees when she looks in the mirror.

In hell, all the designers of all the dresses we tried on over the last two years will get to watch, every day, for an eternity, as my beautiful girl tries on yet another dress (my back is turned to preserve her modesty, if she even lets me in the dressing room) and then I watch as she studies herself in the mirror, fighting back tears, until eventually she cries and we go home. I can tell her, I have told her, in every combination of words I can think of: you are beautiful. But it´s not enough.

So. There we were, parties looming, with her having outgrown her perfect Nordstrom dress we bought in November, now Yet Another Thing That Is Too Small. Perusing the rack of sleazy poly-chiffon dresses on sale at deep discount in the junior department at Macy´s, I watched her poke through them uncertainly, biting her lip. I took a deep breath and started grabbing. I said, we will try on ten dresses, and you will look amazing in one of them.

The first dress she tried on was a halter-strap disco confection of brown chiffon, gold sparkles, beads and sequins, and a handkerchief hem (its only saving grace, in Diva´s eyes.) She was already giving up. I stuffed her into that thing, made her take her bra off, ratcheted up the ties behind her neck as high as I could yank them, and lo! The thickest, prettiest 17-year-old you have ever seen was gazing at herself, rapt, in the mirror. I had two thoughts, simultaneously: 1) her father will strangle me with his bare hands if I buy her this dress; and 2) she absolutely slays in that thing, who knew? Maybe Amazon girls need dresses they can work – stuff with dangles and ruches and booty-darts. She stared at herself, in disbelief, thinking her own thoughts, which I imagine ran something like this: 1) I look so great! And 2) mom will never buy me this skank dress. She looked at me expectantly, head tilted down a little, waiting for the bad news.

Do you know what it´s like to look at yourself in the mirror when you´re 13, and every outfit is ugly and wrong? I do. Because my funny little twist on this story is: I had an older sister, who was teeny-tiny and hot and rocked the waist-length hair and the brocade maxi-coat and I always felt like Quasimodo in her presence. I, who grew up into a hulking size 4/6, have always, always been at war with that image of myself as freak. I have a particular photo of me – at 14, wearing a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut, braces, and exactly the wrong shade of peach – I trot out whenever I want to pinpoint the precise moment I never felt uglier. And here I was, Living The Dream all over again with my daughter, who happens to be blessed with a body she can´t quite appreciate. Yet.

So shoot me. I bought her that skanky dress, and a similar one with no sparkles but a faux-grecian-cross-wrapped top that would break your heart, and another one – in exactly the right shade of red for her (that’s her up there on the right, with one of her friends). We had the silly chiffon-nightie hemline on the red dress removed and the neckline tightened up, and then it was perfect. In the ladies´ shoe department (she is still barely clinging to my size, and I tease her that I´m looking forward to her outgrowing them) I found the perfect brown, sparkly, mid-heel, strappy glitter Disco Princess dressy bow-toe sandals to go with that ridiculous dress.

She wore those dresses over and over, and it’s a good thing summer’s almost done, because she’s almost outgrown them. That woman-child rocks my world, all 5’2 ” of her, and I hope that, some day, she can see how beautiful she is, the way I see her.

  • minette says:

    just now seeing this. please tell her for me that she is beautiful. and i love the dress. the color sets off her coloring so well! and it’s not so skanky, mom. you did great finding something that flatters her. she doesn’t look “big’ in any way. just healthy and happy. what more could you want. i hope she can see how beautiful she is very soon. xxx

  • Dusan says:

    She’s a beautiful, beautiful girl. The warmth and genuine kindness Diva radiates she must have picked up from you, but the smile – definitely her father’s. You two are truly blessed.
    Please tell her I told her (not that that’ll matter to her) to please be proud of what she is and looks like!

  • Patty says:

    I think she’s truly a gorgeous girl. But you know I thought that already. 🙂

  • cjj88 says:

    She is absolutely stunning March…congrats on raising a teen girl and monitoring what she is wearing. I see so many girls wearing inappropriate clothes that it makes me thankful to only have a boy:) kuddos to you…

    • March says:

      The boy clothing is definitely easier. Of course I guess I’ll be fighting with my son to get out of his sweatpants for the bar mitzvahs.

  • Lucy says:

    Diva is so pretty. She looks poised and happy and just perfect. And that dress is not skanky! Not at all! It is both age- and body-appropriate and the color is fab.

    Thank you for this post — I found myself both laughing and crying remembering what it was like trying to find dress-up-and-be-hot clothes, or just plain clothes, & having 2 gorgeous sisters who always looked good. I was a chunky kid, so the options were limited. Fortunately, my Mother sewed and sewed well and that took care of much of it (in retrospect, the clothes were better too — but you couldn’t tell me that at the time!)

    Both Diva and her friend are lovely and look terrific!

    (By the way, one way to view the images on this blog is to copy and paste the post into a Word document. The pictures should show up just fine. At least it has consistently worked for me.)

    Thanks again!

  • Susan says:

    Sorry to be so late posting- But your daughter is LOVELY!!!
    and you couldn’t possibly really think the red dress is skanky ’cause it’s not. (As the mother of an 18 year old son, I’ve seen skanky, LOL.)

  • sweetlife says:


    Weeping and laughing alternately over here.

    It’s just a heartbreaking age. I taught a class once, called “The Rhetoric of Sexy Girls” that was about the whole Lolita complex — we started with Nabokov and then read lots of stuff from feminists writing about their girlhoods. I had an equal number of young men and women and it was an eye opener for both. The same year I started a couple of programs targeted at 11-15 year old girls, and wrote an article in answer to the questions “Why do we still need feminism?” titled, “Because Junior High is Still Hell.”

    I think we never get over those days, really. They just lurk within us, making us kind or brave or shy or callous and mean, depending on what we do with those feelings.

    My mother was not as kind (or as self-aware) as you are, March. But my father treated me as an intellectual equal from the moment I could talk, someone worth taking note of — he even discussed his business problems with me!–and I’ve never ever forgotten it.

    Diva will remember all of this, and be incredibly grateful for it, even if she goes through a year (or two, or…) of amnesia in the coming days…

    • March says:

      Thanks — we’re working hard over here at Casa Loca on keeping it together. And that’s interesting about your father. I’m really close with mine. He always treated me with care and respect, and once I turned 18 he never again told me what to do (unless I asked). I really apppreciated that.

  • Amarie says:

    Oh yeah.

    My two girls are 16 and 13 years. Coming around to that dreaded “shopping for special dresses at 13” time is much easier the second time around- at least you are more prepared. One wonders that in this day and age of shopping that somehow the designers and shop buyers have so missed and miscalculated this niche group. My heart goes out to you. It is as trying a time for mothers as well as daughters: to see and redirect our relationship in new and unexpected directions. 😡

    • March says:

      Ah, so you’ve been there! I think it’ll be easier with Enigma, unless she stuns me by sprouting; she’s got that little-girl body that’s easier to dress somehow. Also, she cares less. But that could change.:(

  • sariah says:

    Hey March – Not skanky, but I get why that would be your reaction to that kind of dress for a 13 year old if its _your_ 13 year old. I was not even allowed to wear sleevless as a teenager, and I still don’t wear sleevless because it just makes me feel too naked. Crazy. Luckily it was the “grunge” period in the Pacific Northwest when I went to highschool, and the scruffy jeans and plaid shirt was easy enough to pull off.

    That is so great that she has you to go through all of that trying on crap with – it is so hard when nothing fits! I will have to look up those JLo jeans. Hey I was in Art With Flowers yesterday and tried the Absinthe. It does not agree with me, somehow too “fesh”. Tried the now EL Tuberose Gardenia too, my reaction after smelling a bunch of meh stuff was “now _this_ is some good s###, finally!”

    • March says:

      Yeah, it’s the exposed flesh thing. Some of the stuff I’ve come around to (I love explaining to her that back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed, having your bra straps exposed was embarrassing….) and some of the stuff — well, no. She’s not good at figuring what is enough and what is too much. Grunge would work for me!

  • sybil says:

    March…what a great post. Diva is beautiful, and she’s fortunate to have a mom who actually remembers the hideous, challenging age that 13 can be. I well remember the horror (not too strong a word) of trying on jeans, let alone dresses. It’s sad, but not everyone’s mom is as careful and kind as you so obviously are. And you are completely right about the options in girls’ dressy clothes. Went throught it for Viola (DD1) last year…another strapping, muscular girl (unlike her tiny-boned-yet-tall sister). We try and laugh about it, because what else can you do? (Although a little ice cream never hurts). I’m guessing Diva will come to appreciate those gorgeous non-standard looks in the years to come, as well as that strong, healthy body. And, after reading your post, Viola has some advice …”Is she doing a sport where her body type doesn’t matter so much? Because it will just make her feel awful to be doing dance or cheerleading. All those little q-tip girls…Blecch!!” (She’s a fencer, and literally any body type works for that.)

    • March says:

      Hey, yes, we have used laughter AND ice cream as a matter of fact!!! And YES, we are giving the anorexia-sports a wiiide berth. She has taken street dance (and is currently taking belly-dancing!), both of which have a lot of curvy girls. In belly dancing she’s at an advantage. Uh, I did just tell the Cheese “dance class.”:-“

      • sybil says:

        Belly dancing is great! And a lot more work that I would have thought…but fun and very good for the body image!

  • Maria says:

    March, Diva is beautiful! Oh, how I can relate to her size. I grew very early and then stopped around 5’3 3/4″ (now shrunk somewhat). I was wearing adult-sized clothes at 11 because of my developed body. At 11 I gave up trying to pay children’s admission at the movies because the ticket sellers would think I was trying to cheat. I couldn’t possibly be under twelve, they thought. OTOH, there’s some satisfaction in being more voluptuous than one’s mother. >:)

    • March says:

      I think it must be very hard to be that developed at an early age, particularly if your friends aren’t. Of course, all I wanted was something to work with. Difficult any way you slice it.

  • Robin says:

    So glad I had a boy. Sigh.

    Will just echo everyone else: she is stunning, and you’re a great Mom.

    Will also say that while I do know well how painful it is to be 13 and not look the way you wish you did, I do think it is better that way. The girls who thought they looked perfect at 13 were insufferable.

    • March says:

      R — I think that’s true. I happen to have some knowledge of a couple of the girls who seem to have hit their high point at 13, and that’s sort of sad. They went on to be less happy than plenty of other folks I can think of who were pretty low on the totem pole at that age.

  • luv_bug says:

    Thank you for posting this.

    I think most of us (I would say all, but then I think of some of the lithe blonde beauties I’ve known…) have gone through phases when we just plain hated the way we looked. Even as an adult, I still sometimes look in the mirror and wonder what my husband is thinking when he calls me beautiful. Not often. But every once in a while.

    The only way I got through adolescence unscathed was my mother, who told me every day–sometimes two, three, four times–that I was the most talented and gorgeous girl she’d ever known. I remember countless trips to the mall to find clothes that would somehow add curves to my flat-as-a-board chest, bony arms, and nonexistant hips or the perfect shade of makeup to cover up the pimples or add life to my bloodless lips. (That’s right, I was a hottie.) And my mom was always there beside me, willing to trek to countless stores and pay whatever it cost when we finally found The One. Because she, like you, understood how important a dress can be.

    Bravo to you and your beautiful daughter! You made me look forward to the day when I can do the same for a child of my own.

    • March says:

      Wow, here I am contemplating the clothing needed to CREATE curves. Which is a whole different way of shopping than what we’ve been up to. I can see the difficulty. And I do, yes, tell her all the time how fetching she is. Can’t hurt to hear it.

  • Christen says:

    Oh, March, what a great mom you are!

    I am one of the lurkers out there who seldom posts, but you moved me to tears today. Diva is lovely, lovely, lovely and so lucky to have a mom who tells her so…and who remembers being that age, too.

    I taught 7th grade for several years, and those kids broke my heart and made me laugh every day. Smart, funny, quirky, growing into their own skin, and just going through an awkward time in life. I remember feeling just horrendous at that age, and maybe that’s why I had so much space in my heart for them when I was teaching.

    Thanks for sharing with us!


    • March says:

      Thanks for delurking! And it sounds like you were an excellent teacher. My favorite teachers from that age held us collectively to high standards, and yet conveyed that they had some idea of how awkward and troll-like we felt … and that we were WRONG.:)>-

  • Linda says:

    March, what a beautiful, beautiful post. You’ve made my day.

  • tmp00 says:

    She’s lovely, and the dress is not skanky at all.

    In a very minor way I am dealing with the same thing- my godchild is getting to that age (nearly old enough to drive!?!?!) that I am seeing a whole adult emerging when, for my own selfish reasons I still want to see the little girl. How can she be 15 when I am still 29?

    You know, I thought I was fat and unattractive for the longest time. Then I tried on a pair of pants from 1989 that used to fall to the floor if I didn’t belt them… :((

    Tell her she’s beautiful and keep telling her. Tell her that we all thought we were fat and unattractive when we were young, and that were were, to a person, dead wrong. Tell her to hold her head up and tell herself she’s pretty and walk like she means it- because confidence is 9/10ths of the battle.

    Then under you breath tell her not to have sex ’till she’s 25

    • March says:

      Boys. Ugh. I am trying to be open-minded. However, we have this running inside joke, too complicated/boring to explain here, that any physical contact with a boy will make your legs fall off. Thus far she seems to have confined her fantasies to Harry Potter, and that works for me.:d

  • Judith says:

    Wow! She is stunning!! I, too, identify with her trials, having been taller than all the boys at the Bar Mitzvahs and crowned with impossible “you MUST NOT have hair like that” curly hair that my mother took me to get straightened with lye starting when I was 10 (she had hair like that too, and she hated it). But Diva is especially lucky to have such a really wonderful, perceptive, and understanding mother.

    • March says:

      Augh!!! Your mother straightened your hair?!?!?! Oh, lordy. And of course all I ever wanted was really curly hair … and to be really tall, except every tall woman I know said it was horrible when they were young.

    • Judith says:

      Well, she was, of course, from an earlier generation, and as I implied, she straightened her own hair. She was a very smart, educated, and unusual woman for her time (she was a lawyer), but she still bought into some rigid ideas about female beauty. When I stopped straightening in college and told her that she should stop telling me I had “the bad hair,” she looked at me with puzzlement and said, “Well, your sister has the bad legs.”:) OY! We are lucky in many ways to have been born a bit later (no matter how beautiful the earlier perfumes and clothes–and even ideal body types-0-were)!) PS I still give thanks that I was not subjected to the junior-year-Spring-vacation nose job that many of the girls in my (mostly Jewish) high school underwent.

      • March says:

        That is so funny! And I am sure your mother was doing what she thought was best, with all the love in her heart. My own mother was mostly indifferent to my appearance (hence the husky jeans) and I have to say I would have valued a little more attention. But her attitude was, hey, who cares? Which isn’t all bad either.

        And I am so happy you skipped the nose job! I of course think a larger nose is a thing of beauty and character, having one of those Barbie button-noses.@};-

      • sweetlife says:

        Hey Judith — my mom is from that generation, too. Except that she ironed hers instead of using lye. All through junior high and high school I had an elaborate, 2 hour hair straightening routine. In my junior year of high school I rebelled and have never looked back!

        But you know, it took me eight years to find a hair dresser who didn’t want to blow dry/chi iron etc. it into submission…

        My mom still gets her hair done once a week.

  • Kim says:

    Oh the trials of teenhood! But your daughter’s goodness and intelligence shine through – traits that really add to beauty with the years, as you are so wonderfully teaching her.

    Dove has an interesting “campaign for real beauty” and their new short film took my breath away the first time I saw it. Check out http://www.dove.us and click on the lower right “Onslaught.” It really sums up visually what you are talking about.

    • March says:

      Their models are gorgeous. And there’s a new model for one of the more zaftig brands (Guess?) who has the curves of a glamazon. Remember when Anna Nicole Smith used to be a hot clothing model?!?!? I think it was Guess …. man, are those days over. When you look at photos of, say, Marilyn Monroe it’s stunningly clear how curvier the desired female form used to be. What saddens me is that the Dove models are so very far from our current aesthetic ideal. I keep waiting for the pendulum swing.

      • Kim says:

        Dove’s Onslaught film is about talking to girls about beauty and self-esteem – worth checking out and in only 30 seconds they get across an amazing message. I also like that at least Dove is showing women with gray hair in all it’s glory! Isn’t it funny how Marilyn Monroe is still this amazing beauty icon, yet few seem to realize how curvy she is – maybe that is part of her permanent appeal?

  • Jen says:

    Okay, I got the picture to come up. Simply gorgeous.

  • Jen says:

    I can’t see the picture for some reason but thank you for this post. Diva is indeed lucky to have you for a mom.

    • March says:

      Jen, I think this has something to do with the way I save pics to upload them. There’s a way to condense the file so it’s smaller, but I don’t seem to get it right. Sorry.

  • Suzanne says:

    I agree with Chaya in that I don’t think the dress is skanky, so have no fears. Her creamy skin, those lips, and that cascade of shiny raven hair! — gosh, yes, your Diva is stunning, and her friend is so very lovely, too. Their enjoyment of being together at that moment makes the photo all the more beautiful.

    • March says:

      Thanks — it’s not that skanky, just a new step for me. And her friend is lovely — that’s my favorite friend, another funny, nice girl who I can put makeup on and fuss over.

  • reeceam says:

    March!!! This made me cry – so lovely.

    I too wish you had been my mother when I was thirteen.

    I have to ask – what perfume does Diva wear with the red frock???

    • March says:

      It depends. She swipes stuff from my closet, clothes-wise, but even she’s leery of my fragrances, having been appalled more than once by some horror of mine.:-” Remember, I have mostly samples, and they don’t have the skull and crossbones labels…

      So she sticks to her own stuff, which right now is D&G Light Blue (which is IMHO an excellent fragrance), one of those goofy Ralph ones (Blue? Cool?), or a random Demeter, because who doesn’t want to smell like a crayon or a spring garden or etc.?

  • Camille says:

    Diva is beautiful, and the way that you see her is even more beautiful; I’m so glad that you shared your view with us. I hope that she realizes what a special mom she has. We do.:x

    • March says:

      Thanks — she is a great kid, and I look forward to her coming around to the idea that she can be pretty AND not tiny.

  • Christine says:

    I can’t get the image of her to show up on my computer, but teenagedom sucks. I was a solidly built 13 year old (daughter of a bird woman) too, used to get lots of much older boys to pull over their cars in my Summer of the Hooch (aka the Summer my mother was away in Italy and my dad worked all day). I don’t know if there is anyway to get a teenager to genuinely like their bodies and theirselves, but it seems your doing a great job. Sometimes the hooch wear is a necessary self esteem builder.

    Good luck with the kids and I hope Diva slays the Bar Mitzvah crowd dead!

    • March says:

      You made me laugh!! The summer of Hooch. Yes, indeedy. Here, let me skip the lecture about how we shouldn’t need to feel empowered through our boobs and say I used to run around in a tube top with overalls, which makes you look like you’re topless, fascinated by the effect it had on males everywhere. (Hey, remember painter pants and overalls? Heh. Possibly not. Why haven’t they made a comeback?):”>

      • Christine says:

        Oh, I don’t mean to say that we necessarily need the hooch wear for the self esteem. And I swear I wore me some odd getups myself. And yes I remember the atrocity of overalls (Ugly, ugly, ugly). It’s just that especially at thirteen, when you know you may be smart, it’s still important to feel pretty. And occasionally the hooch wear helps in that department (although I gather from other comments that the hooch dress, is not all that hooch – again, work blocks the pics *weep*). Frankly, she’s bound to get attention no matter what she looks like, so long as she’s in the realm of normal since everyone is thirteen and hormones are stronger than common sense it would seem.

        Plus she has the benefit of being smart, and “cool” and she has access to an arsenal of killer scents. Girl is a winner all around.

        • March says:

          Well, I have to admit that clothing wise I must be more conservative than I realized. Nobody else seems alarmed by it.

  • cinnamon says:

    This made me cry. What a wonderful mum you are. i recall it being next to impossible to find ‘nice’ dresses when i was a teenager. i don’t have a girl (i’ve got a six year old son) but given all the gross images children are bombarded with (the too skinny celebrities, the overly sexualised ads) providing ongoing positive reinforcement to our children to help them feel comfortable in their own skin is one of the most important parental duties, to my mind.

    • March says:

      I have a five-year-old son, and I have to say I find the clothing a welcome change (Batman! Thomas the Tank Engine! The same dinosaur shirt five days in a row, I don’t even care.)

      The sexualized images of teens in fashion bothered me enough already; the skinny thing REALLY freaks me out. I contemplate tucking an XXL Sharpie Pen in my purse and scrawling “FEED ME” across 3/4 of the female model images I see in the street.

  • chayaruchama says:

    What a dazzling creature !
    And you can feel her soul.

    Well done, little mama.
    [The dress isn’t THAT skanky, for God’s sake!]
    I find- and I’m sure you do, too-
    That if you get all unreasonable about the little things, then they find BIGGER ones to torture you with;
    I’m sure you choose your battles carefully.

    She can come stay with Jewish Mama any day !

    Kisses to you both….

    • March says:

      Thanks, honey. I think the hard part for me (and moms everywhere) is from my distance in years, I’m always thinking, can’t you be a little girl for awhile longer? I worry about her attracting attention from boys a LOT older than she is who don’t realize her age. At the same time, yeah — I do want her to be happy and you’re right, the dress is fairly modest, all things considered. Just blingy and not especially to my taste (and you should see the brown glitter one!)@};-

  • Anne says:

    I can see that as the years go by and she becomes an adult the two of you will become true friends. She will read this entry some day, smile and give you the biggest hug. Peace.

    • March says:

      Thanks! I do look forward to the day we’ll be friends. Right now (sometimes to her intense irritation) I’ve chosen to be her “mom” instead, figure that’s where she needs the work.;)

  • Divina says:

    Thank you, thank you, THANK you for this beautifully written post. It has touched my heart. You are such a great mom – March thank you so very much for sharing this. Your girl is absolutely stunning. With all my heart I wish she manages to see herself through your eyes soon.

    • March says:

      You’re welcome. I wrote it awhile ago in a burst of pent-up frustration over the whole frigging process. It’s so important to the girls to look “nice” for these parties, and the dress shopping was just miserable, more miserable even than the regular clothes shopping. I know 13-year-olds are self-critical to start with, but I feel like the readily available clothing options aren’t helping any.

  • Elle says:

    My God, she’s absolutely gorgeous and, more importantly, she just seems to radiate being a genuinely kind, very intelligent person. You’re lucky to be her mom and she’s very lucky to have you.

    • March says:

      Elle — she’s one of those old-soul kids and always has been. She can drive me absolutely insane sometimes, but she is a genuinely nice person and unusually mature. The Cheese and I cannot figure out where all this came from.:-?

  • Louise says:

    March-even if I didn’t love you, I would instantly love this beautiful woman-child of yours. I see plenty of your spectacular grace (yes, yours) in her, and that smile that blasts straight through the young-teen angst. And the just-so-ovius classic beauty. I wish I had a girl (sometimes). I wish you were my mom at that age, too.

    I was the funny, solid younger sister (don’t laugh, yes, I have joined the birdy women club with age). My sis had straight, waist length hair (I had short fuzz), was very petite with a chest I can’t ever remember not being prominent, and just beautiful. She caused rear-end car accidents by staring grown men at age 14. And she wore the tiniest Juniors sizes back when sizes were true. I wore the “Chubbies”-yeah, that’s what they called them. But ya know, we still both managed to dislike our bodies. Blame our parents, the critical soceity, media or whatever.

    I only hope that Diva learns to shake off the critical self-image, and see what a lovely girl she is, and what a stunning woman whe will become. A little skank in a dress surely can’t hurt. Love you.

    • Louise says:

      “ovius” is just too scary a malaprop/typo in this case-must correct to “obvious”

    • March says:

      Louise, I can’t imagine you being “solid!” And I am laughing at the shared memory — I wore Sears’ Toughskins jeans from the Boys’ dept. in HUSKY. There’s an esteem builder. But look how great we turned out!

      PS I sort of like “ovius.”

  • Lee says:


    You know my thoughts already.:)

  • Jennifer says:

    Ah, March she is beautiful. And I had the same exact problem as she did (even share the height) and only grew another inch. Nothing like being thirteen and having the body of 16 year old and still wanting to wear 13 year old clothing. It’s a hard time to be a girl, especially with the type of body image expected, I was lucky I graduated from high school before the full trend of the present boomed. Sadly I can’t say it will get any easier in clothing department, she is lucky though that she isn’t big chested (you are truly screwed if you have a large chest and trying to find shirts that don’t scream matronly or look at these “ta-tas”). And jean shopping still brings me close to tears.

    • March says:

      The trend now is sooooo thin. At least when I was her age, you were supposed to look curvy. And she is, uh, filling out her tops a little more — which I think simultaneously pleases her and (as you note) makes shopping just that much more difficult.

  • Divalano says:

    March, you are an amazing, wonderful mom. It makes me happy knowing there’s women like you raising daughters like your Diva … who is, by the way, stunning. But you know that, I think 😉

  • Tigs says:

    She is absolutely gorgeous. It stuns me that she can’t see that. But teenagehood is a weird, weird time.