"There must be some kind of mistake," I said to the two delivery men.
"It's addressed to Kate Slocum," said the first delivery man.
"Mine too," said the other delivery man.
"That's me. I guess I'd better open them up," I said to no one in particular.
I picked up the first box and checked the label. It was addressed to me. I just had to check for myself. I got it together and smiled innocently into the camera as if I had no idea what was going on, which was exactly the truth so I didn't really have to act. I opened the box carefully with a box opener so as not to damage whatever was inside the box and there it was, my dress and veil. It was the Sophia Moncelli dress I'd tried on 6 months ago and fallen in love with. I'd given them all my measurements and ordered the dress without my mother knowing or seeing the dress. I'd arranged with Georgia, who had arranged it with the production crew, to order the dress and make all the alterations without my mother knowing. I had flown back to New York once for a final fitting. Andrew had covered for me while I had been away so as not to make my mother suspicious. I had pulled off a coup.
But what was in the second box? Perhaps they mistakenly sent me two dresses. As awkward as that would be, I could just send the one back. They'd only have to find a bride my same size to salvage the sale. I glanced again at my dress to make sure it was the right one. I'd try it on later to make sure it fit right. Now, for the second box. I carefully opened it with the box cutters and opened up the box. Inside was the Vera Wang dress I had tried on that my mother loved, mostly because it wasn't hideous. On top was a note for me.
I opened the card and it read:
I wanted to make sure you were the happiest you could be so I bought you the dress I knew you loved.
And that's when the tears started. What a great Mom! Yes, she's overbearing and over the top and overwhelming and every other over you can be but she was my mom and she loved me. This was her way of showing that to me. I finally got it! Some moms love you by letting you have your way, some push you in directions they know are best for you, some push you to do things on your own but my Mom, my Mom did things that were over the top. It was her way of showing everyone her love for them. It took me a lot of years, my entire life really to understand that about her. I always thought she had wanted the limelight for herself. A "Look what I did", kind of thing. In that moment with that note and dress before me, I felt I understood my mother and the way she expressed her love to me. I got it! And then my mother came bursting through the door. Very dramatic like and perfect for the cameras. I stopped my eyes from rolling. Understanding my mother and loving her over the top flair were two different things. I'd be working on the latter for the rest of my life.
"Darling, you got the dress!" said my mother.
"Actually, I got two dresses," I replied.
My mother stopped midway across the room, "What?"
"I have two dresses from Kleinfeld's," I said.
"How is that possible, I only ordered one dress," my mother replied.
"Yes, but I also ordered one dress."
My mother's face went into her fake smile. I could tell she was trying to figure out which one of the ugly dresses I had bought since she'd been forbidden to see the dress until today. She held back her revulsion at my possible dress choice and went with the innocent response, "I thought you didn't buy a dress when we were there."
The teenager in me came out, "Yes, but silly me, I thought I was supposed to buy the dress, so I did."
"Yes, but I knew you loved that dress so I bought it for you. Let's try them both on and then we can decide. Can I see which one you bought?" asked Mom.
"Nope," I said and grabbed my mom's hand and led her over to the settee in the corner. "I'll try on your selection first and then I'll unveil my dress, the one I bought."
"It's a good thing we have some time until the wedding," grumbled my mother as she got comfortable on the settee.
It took me no time at all to put on the first dress. I was back twirling before my mother in no time. She put on my veil and declared me just beautiful as she wiped a tear out her right eye.
"It is lovely Mom but wait until you see my dress," I replied and I literally ran back into the other room to put on the dress she had picked out for me, she just didn't know it.
It took me a bit longer to get into this dress. It had a ton of pearl buttons, a petticoat that needed flouffing and a detachable train that weighed a ton due to all the bling attached to it. The whole dress was heavy but I fell in love with it all over again. We fixed my hair, finished my make-up, put on the family jewels, my wedding shoes and finally attached the veil to my hair.
I readied myself for the explosion I knew was going to come when I walked into that room and then told my best friend Amanda to open the door. The door was opened and I glided, as best I could, into the room.
My mother started jumping up and down and yelling, "I love it! I love it! I love it! It's your dress!"
Hearing all the commotion, my father came running in through the door and stopped still, "Kate, you are breathtaking. Andrew isn't going to know what hit him!"
My mother, who had calmed down a bit, asked, "Is that the dress I wanted you to try on?"
When I nodded, she started with her, "I knew it was the perfect dress. I knew you'd love it!"
My father finally came over and gave her a pat on the back, "Okay dear, let's not gloat too much."
"I wanted to surprise you with the dress so I never showed it to you but I loved it the moment I tried it on. I arranged with Georgia to get all the measurements and everything else figured out while I was trying on all those other dresses so that you wouldn't suspect a thing," I told them.
"No wonder Georgia told me it wouldn't be a problem to order this dress for you. She made two sales in the same appointment. She made out like a bandit. You gotta be impressed with that woman," said Mom.
"So, are you okay with me wearing this dress? I really like the other dress but I want to wear this one," I said.
"Honey, you wear this one! It's just perfect and you'll look absolutely wonderful climbing into the hot air balloon after the reception!"
"What?" I gasped and then put on my best fake "I love my mother and her craziness" smile for the cameras.