“Mommy!” C.J. yelled as he entered my bedroom with his usual flourish. He was freshly bathed and in his fleece Monster High pajamas. I was lounging on my bed reading People Magazine, when I should have been doing the laundry.
“Yes….how may I help you?” I asked, not looking up from my reading.
“Where’s your wedding dress?”
“In the garage. Why?” I said, setting my magazine down.
“Can I have it?”
Now, when I married C.J.’s Dad in 2000, the absolute last thing I wanted to wear was my mother’s wedding dress from the 1960s — with its Victorian neckline, poufy shoulders and long tight sleeves made of lace with a daisy design.
My mother didn’t want me to wear her dress either. Thankfully. Under the watchful eye of my brother and his then-boyfriend, I selected my wedding dress and promised myself that I would not keep it for the daughter that I might have. No way. No how.
But, after the wedding and honeymoon were over I didn’t have the heart to trash my dress. And, I couldn’t bear to donate it either. I also didn’t want to pay the $200 fee to have it dry-cleaned and professionally preserved. So I put it in big plastic storage bin and put it in the garage. I’d deal with it later.
Then I got pregnant and the thought crossed my mind that we might have a girl and she might want to at least see and try on my dress. I decided to keep it awhile longer. We had a boy. Then I got pregnant again. It might be a girl. It wasn’t. There was officially no need for me to keep my wedding dress.
Two years ago we had a neighborhood garage sale and I half-heartedly hung it out for the highest bidder. Nobody wanted it — which made me kind of sad. But, then again, I didn’t really want it either. I thought about selling it on eBay or Craigslist, but that seemed like such a process. If you know me, you know that I hate a process. We had another garage sale a year later. Still, nobody wanted my dress. It continues to sit — ripped and dirty — in the big plastic bin in the farthest corner of our garage waiting for me to decide what to do with it.
“Sooooo…can I have it? Please say yes, please say yes,” C.J. asked again, bouncing up and down.
My heart and brain skipped a beat. Somebody wanted my wedding dress!
“Yes. You can.”
“Can I have it right now?” he asked.
“No, but when you are a little bit older, you can have it. I promise.”
“Yay!!!!” He skipped out of the room.
I pictured my son trying on my wedding dress in the years to come. I’d surprise him and show him my tiara and veil as well. He would look beautiful in it. More importantly, he would feel beautiful in it. I pictured him, sometime later, deconstructing the dress and making an entirely new garment or two out of it. I smiled a big smile at the thought.
My son wants my wedding dress and he can do anything he wants with it. Wear it, cut it, rip it, whatever. I’m glad that I didn’t purge the dress before I had kids. I’m glad that I resisted the urge once I had only boys. Because my boy loves fashion, lace, beading and all things princess-like. And, he wants my dress and he’s going to love it.
so nice. wood love to wear a wedding dress for some lucky guy
You are right boys should wear any type of princess, costume they want to and also wear the costume anywhere they want to go with her parents or friends or both
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lovely storey keep up the good work as mum
wish i had a wedding dress
I remember the magic when I was a teenage boy and slipped into my mother’s wedding dress, loving every moment of it. The zipper coming up my back. The veil draping over my face. The high heels on my feet. A snap of the camera capturing the smile of a young hetero male reaching the peak of femininity. I wished it could have been shared with someone understanding like you.
This is so beautiful and it made me cry. One Because it is so beautiful and Two because i’m getting married soon and it will be with out my parents. They passed when I was very young and so this just made me realize how much I miss them and how much I really miss my mom.
I LOVE your blog. You’re so inspiring, it’s such a shame that more parents out there aren’t as accepting and loving and caring as you are! This post made me shed a tear of happiness.
I love that not only are you offering it to him, but that you’re waiting for him to have it until he’s older, and it’s likely to have more meaning for him, and reflects the meaning it has for you.
After all the tragedy and heartbreak of this week, it is lovely to come to this place and see such joy. Some people may not see the joy in a mother giving her son her wedding gown. I do though.
Once again I come to this space after a horrifying event in this countries history. Once again I ache with the suffering of lives lost, children killed, adults maimed, hearts broken and I am reminded if what is important. Once again a little boy and his mama are teaching unconditional love, the love that seems so hopelessly missing in this world and I am reminded of these words,
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Here’s to fighting for CJ. Here’s to fighting for what is right and good. Here’s to a world worth fighting for!
Once again, your post brightens my day and brings a smile – and today, I really needed one! Thank you. Hugs to you and yours!
I always end up leaving the same comment here, YOU ROCK
You’re a great Mum who has one very lucky son. Just wish that my parents had been so accepting.
I’m getting married in 49 days (yikes!) and this post brought tears to my eyes. I am having my dress preserved after the wedding, and I definitely hope that one of my children will find a use for it someday (though I will never pressure one into wearing it). ❤ Love your blog as always and am anxiously waiting for your book.
For a kid who loves dressing up and feeling beautiful, being given a genuine wedding dress is probably a dream come true! 😀
One of the reasons i love this blog is it captures the essentials of parenthood, about loving the children, not because of who you think they are, but because of who they really are.
So, a wedding dress story. We were very poor growing up, and when i passed the note to my mum saying we were having a prince and princesses day at school, and we we needed costumes i had no clue what that meant. This was the 70s , pre ebay, and we survived week to week, often by hiding from whichever person we could not afford to pay that week.
My mum went into her wardrobe and with scissors thread and ribbon cut up her wedding dress and made me the most beautiful dress a princess has ever worn. Only once I was married did I understand what that meant.
Love means there is nothing you will not give up for your children.
Jemima, this totally made me cry (in a good way). Your mom rocks.
In cleaning out my mother’s house recently, my sister-in-law and nephew came across my mother’s wedding dress. Because my nephew is heading into the world of fashion (was recently accepted into 2 top schools in NYC), it was a no-brainer to give the dress to him to make something of it (as he totally salivated with glee!). I can’t wait to see what becomes of it one day. I can feel CJ’s joy.
I also love wedding dresses, and if I ever get married again, I know I’ll wish I could wear one for it. But I’m not willing to do a sex change, and I think too many of my family and friends would be utterly weirded out by the idea to make it worth it.
I feel the same way
I am am gay man,and he taking out today to buy a wedding dresses,we are going holiday soon,when I will have in plants for him so I will look like a woman,
on my wedding day
Amazeballs. I would love to see it when he’s done with it…….
What is it with us “special” boys and wedding dresses? I bought mine at a 2nd hand store, and I love putting it on 3 or 4 times a year, if only for a while. No longer a little boy, but a grown, happily married cross dressing hetero, with a knockout gorgeous wife. I have gone past trying to figure it out, and just accept it. So does she. Thank you for lovingly raising your children. The first time I can remember having femme feelings, I was 7, and would make beleive my cool, white bedsheets were a gown, which I would tuck around me tightly, and just lay there, feeling BEAUTIFUL, but a little scared. I am now 56, and know that I will never get rid of my wedding dress, either. Hard to believe I have been passing in public for more than 30 years. Just a lot of fun and a switch into another world for a while now and then. Thank you for your stories. I love them. Josey
My mother kept her wedding dress. When I got married, she cut it up and made a ring pillow out of it for me. However CJ enjoys your wedding dress, he will feel beautiful and loved, and that’s all that matters.
Your son has the best mom ever. Keep it up.
i wish my mum was so understanding i wish i could wear a wedding dress and have an understanding women in my life
Me 2. I wood LOVE to wear a wedding dress and marry a handsome Prince
This post touched my heart. My son too, would be the only person to love and cherish my wedding dress. It just makes me appreciate him even more today, and his love for beautiful things. The things we take for granted, our sons treasure. Thank You!
You know what’s so cool? Not only that C.J. wants your wedding dress — but that these days, ANY child — not matter what their sexual orientation or gender expression — grows up thinking they can get married. Awesome post, great news.
I’ve never had a wedding dress, never even tried one on, but sometimes…..
This is parenting at it’s best, and C.J. is so fortunate to have you in his corner.
This made me all tingly, especially this bit: “I pictured my son trying on my wedding dress in the years to come. I’d surprise him and show him my tiara and veil as well. He would look beautiful in it. More importantly, he would feel beautiful in it.” *This* is beautiful. I’m so happy that C.J. wants your dress and I hope it looks stunning on him.
You are a great mom. This is a great thing.
I just died of adorable-ness, did anyone else??
Yes, i kinda-sorta-almost died, but that is something that happens often for me when reading about CJ. He’s just charming 🙂
Every time I read your posts, regardless of the tone – happy, sad, upset, hilarious, whatever – I always end up feeling so much better about the world because people like you are in it. You are an amazing woman and you have an amazing family. Thank you.
I agree 100% with this comment!!!
I shared on FB. You are an awesome parent and this is an awesome post.
You are awesome…
I also had to boys so I never really knew what to do with my dress but didn’t want to get rid of it either..I still love my dress 🙂 My youngest, who is now my trans daughter, wants my dress. I had thought of using the fabric to make a quilt for each of my kids but my daughter doesn’t want me to tear it apart..She gets it out every once in awhile…she mostly sleeps in it, zipped up on her like a sleeping bag…I think it just brings her comfort…My dress, like yours, is still stained from the cake incident at our wedding..and the hem underneath where it dragged on the ground..I never cared to spend the money to have it professionally cleaned either…So, she gets out the dress every once in awhile and it will always be there for her.
Hello Alice, I just read the story “Passing My Wedding Dress On To My Son” and your reply and I would like to Thank You!! and praise you! for accepting your son as trans and now have a daughter!! As a M2F my life is so messed up because my Irish Catholic mother caught me and beat the living hell out of me at a very young age… Now at 63 and attempting suicide I have finally accepted myself but am unable to find a woman to have a relationship with that will accept me as I am… Your Daughter is Very Fortunate to have You!!
I miss my mom.