Ten years ago. July 10, 2006. Just after midnight. We said our final good-byes to my mother. She was just 57 years old. That is only 15 years older than I am as I write this post. She was diagnosed with colon cancer only 18 months previous to this day. And just 5 weeks earlier, her doctors told us she probably had at least 5 more years before the cancer would progress to where it took her life. And a very short 5 weeks later, we were standing beside her bed in a nursing home telling her good-bye.
It was intense. It was sad. There were so many mixed emotions. I had been in this same spot 11 years earlier as I said my final farewells to my father. He was just 54 years old when the cancer took him. I was familiar with the feelings, but I was 11 years older this time and had become a mature adult since losing my father. But I think that made the feelings even more intense.
We had already made plans with the funeral home that was located right next door to the nursing home. Just before midnight, a terrible thunderstorm began, making the events of the night that much more surreal. And just around the moment that my mother took her last breath (I can’t remember if it was just before or just after), we watched lightning strike the roof of the funeral home right outside of mom’s window. The roof went up in flames right before our eyes and the firetruck sirens were heard within minutes. I remember it like it was yesterday yet it feels like a million years ago. Sometimes, it feels so unreal, like things you read in books, things that don’t really happen to real people. But I can assure you that this is how it all happened.
And now ten years have passed. My mother never met my husband. She never met my children. And they never met her. They can only know her from the stories that I tell. I know in my heart she would be driving me crazy if she were alive today. But that doesn’t take away the feeling of loss. So all I can do is to keep telling my stories. And that’s my intention with this post. To tell one story. A story that relates very specifically to my blog.
When we were children, we could not afford the latest trending fashions. So my mother made many of our clothes. She was a pretty good seamstress which I could not appreciate as a child. All I knew was that my friends were wearing Gap and Benetton clothing and I was wearing hand-me-downs from my sisters that were “Made with Love by Mom” and they even had the tags to prove it! I wrote a little bit about our handmade clothing on my page More on Fashion & Style. There is even a photo of a “Made with Love by Mom” original on that page.
As I got older and started discovering my own unique taste in clothes, I began to appreciate this skill of my mother’s. I also began to appreciate the value of one-of-a-kind clothing. I would beg my mother to help me make original pieces. I only learned very little about sewing myself and can barely sew a straight seam, so I relied on my mom to be my own personal seamstress. I would come up with the idea and she would make it happen. In fact, we did this with my prom dress. I had a picture in my head. She took me to buy the fabric. And together we created an adorable emerald green sequined dress that fit like a glove.
Jump ahead a decade or so and I knew my mom’s time on earth was coming to an end. We began creating unique and one-of-a-kind pieces for my wardrobe again. This is when we created this ivory asymmetrical hem tunic. We also made a pair of mustard colored cropped pants to go with it, but they are much too big on me now. Of course, I still have them tucked away in box of keepsakes. I also still have a box of fabric and patterns for pieces that we were planning to create, but then she became too ill to sew and I had not learned enough to complete the pieces myself. But I cannot bring myself to do anything with all the stuff in that box. So it sits in my basement untouched.
About once or twice a year, I pull out this tunic to wear. I have no idea why I don’t wear it more often. I love it every time I put it on. It is so comfortable and I think it is super flattering as well. What do you all think? Should I bring it into a more consistent rotation? It is definitely very versatile as I have styled it a different way every time I have worn it.
This time I decided to wear a pair of boyfriend jeans, my new espadrilles that I got for next to nothing with my Old Navy rewards, my favorite tassel necklace, and my butterfly kimono (which I bought last year in memory of my husband’s grandmother who absolutely adored butterflies and any butterfly print. I know she would love this kimono and I think of her every time I wear it!) So two pieces of this outfit have significant sentimental value to me and deserved a post all their own! I miss both of these amazing ladies and wish they were here to read my little ole blog!
Tunic: Made with Love by My Mom
Kimono: Ross Dress For Less (from last year)
Jeans: White House Black Market (No longer available, but you can shop their jeans here).
Sandals: Old Navy Espadrille Ankle-Strap Sandals
Necklace: Cato Fashions (from last year, but you can shop their necklaces here).
And since the beginning of this post was so serious, I want to end with a little bit of silliness.
Here are some goofy outtakes during this super fun photo shoot with my dear friend, Amy!
I like to dance when I start feeling super uncomfortable in front of the camera. No matter who is taking the photos, Amy or my husband, they both think it’s hilarious to keep snapping away!
We saw this adorable flamingo. And whenever you see a flamingo, you must have a picture with it. Straddling it…
Then we went inside to use the restroom and there was an entire glass case filled with ducks!
I had to take a picture of all the stuffed ducks especially for Debbie of Fashion Fairy Dust. She and I share a mutual hatred/fear of living birds. But dead birds, I think we can both appreciate!** And that’s a story for another day!
**Please do not confuse that statement thinking we are cruel to animals. We are not. I am a lover of all living things. I would never purposely harm any animal. I just really do not like birds. They freak me out! But ironically, I really do love bird prints.
The gorgeous lady behind the camera/phone…
Thank you, Amy, for being such a good sport!
Keeping it on the edge,
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