Ana’s Skirt

Bernie and I were invited to attend a fundraiser to support a program that a friend is involved in. The program involves work with college students and teenagers, so I had this image of an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner with lots of young people running around in matching t-shirts and plates of pasta for second helpings. I planned to go casual dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt.

As it turned out, we were asked by our daughter to keep our seven-year-old granddaughter overnight while her brother had a sleep-over for his 10th birthday. We had no problem with taking Ana along to the fundraiser with us. She likes spaghetti.

When she was dropped off at our house, Ana showed me what she had brought along to wear to the dinner. It was a yellow skirt that I had seen many times on her mom. “It is kind of big for you, Ana,” I said.

“It’s okay, Grandma. I can put a pony in it.” She meant that she could bunch up the waistband and tie a pony tail band around to hold it tighter.

“You will have a big bump under your shirt,” I said.

“That’s okay. I do it all the time.” She was right about that.

“I can make the waistband smaller on my sewing machine,” I said. “But it is your mother’s skirt and if I do that, it won’t fit her.”

“That’s okay. She said I could have it.”

So I cut a slit in the waist band of the skirt, pulled the elastic up shorter, cut off the excess, sewed the ends together and closed the waist band again. It worked perfectly. It was still a little long, dragging on the floor a little bit, but it had an unusual jagged hem that would be ruined if I shortened it. So I left it long. Ana had a black long-sleeved shirt to wear with it and she topped it off with a necklace with a small sparkly heart. I pulled her blond hair back in a pony tail and used a curling iron to create sweet little loops around her face.

She looked stunning and I looked dumpy. “I don’t think I can wear jeans and a sweatshirt sitting next to you,” I said. I changed to slacks, a turtleneck sweater, and a nice scarf. Bernie already looked pretty good in his maroon shirt and slacks, but no tie (he hasn’t worn one since he retired five years ago).  Off we went to our night out.

When we arrived at the fundraiser, I was stunned to find it an elegant affair. Ana was the only child in attendance. We sat at a table with friends and they were all attentive as could be to her. The waitress was especially attentive, treating her like a princess. And the more she did this, the more Ana acted like a princess. She ate every bit of her roll, breaking small pieces off at a time. She ate her whole salad, holding her fork just so. She said “thankyou” and “no thankyou” at all the right times. She sat with total patience and dignity during a series of presentations designed to initiate financial support for the program.

There was a silent auction and I bid on and won a basket of items hand made by artisans from Central America. There were two purses made of woven materials from the area. I let Ana pick one of these for herself. She fell asleep in the car on the way home. We were proud to have her with us.

I am still grateful to her for inspiring me to wear something other than jeans and a sweatshirt to such an elegant affair. As for the skirt, when I told my daughter what I had done to it, the look on her face told me that Ana’s perception that her mother had given her the skirt was pretty much in her own little blond head.


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