The Highest Compliment

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I wasn’t one of those girls who ever dreamed about their perfect wedding, so when Joe and I finally decided to get married, I was pretty low-key about the whole experience. While I didn’t obsess over seating charts or reception playlists (seriously, I didn’t even do a “sweating for the wedding” fitness program) there was one component that I did care a great deal about; my dress.

I had heard people talk about how long it took them to find the “perfect” dress and how they had to go to multiple places, so I thought I should start looking, sooner, rather than later. One evening after work, I went to a local bridal shop and selected a few gowns to try on. There was one that I really was excited about, so I purposely saved it for last. With sequins and a swishy mermaid tail, it was way fancier than I expected to ever select, but it was calling my name.

As soon as I slipped it on, I knew it was “the one.” It was beautiful and fit perfectly, with literally no need for alterations.

After returning home from our honeymoon, I would wear the dress around the house, even doing housework in it, until I heard Joe’s car in the driveway. At that point, I would unzip it and sling it across a chair, where it would remain until I could wear it again. Side note: this behavior went on, undetected, until I didn’t hear his car one evening and got caught in my beloved gown.

Eventually, we had the dress cleaned and hermetically sealed, in a keepsake box, where it lived with Joe’s parents. A while back, my mother in law suggested I take it home and open it, as she knew what joy it gave me. (She’s a pretty great lady).

Honestly, I felt silly about opening the box, since it had been sealed for so long, but then a friend wanted to borrow it for her own wedding. Decision made!

Now, the dress has returned home. As you might expect, the first thing I did was to put it on and admire how very beautiful it is. The sequins and swishy tail were even better than I recalled. Naturally, I considered having it resealed, but let’s be honest, we all know I am going to be doing housework in that thing.

It makes me happy to see it hanging in my closet and I find myself grabbing the fabric to touch it every chance I get.

The other day, I walked past it and realized that if I were getting married today, I would choose that dress (and that man!) again, just as I did 18 years ago.

In that moment, it occurred to me that this is the highest compliment I could pay the dress and frankly, one of the best you could give anyone… to let them know that in a world with so many options, not only do you love them, but you would take the ride again, with them, with zero hesitation.

We have a tendency to romanticize beginnings, but when they are no longer bathed in the glow of newness, we can lose our appreciation for what we once held in high regard. This happens not only with familial and romantic relationships, but also in the work place. We tend to take each other for granted and don’t realize how lucky we are to have the people who choose to stay in our lives.

If it’s been awhile, remember the story of how you chose the people in your life, tell them how much you appreciate them and let them know that you would choose them all over again.

And if you want to do that while wearing sequins and a swishy mermaid tail?

Well, then everybody wins.