My cousin is getting married next weekend. I have not seen her in a couple of years. Sad that we've gone so long, she is my only cousin on my mother's side and one of only three total. The two on my father's side are much younger and I have never known them well. I have met the man she is marrying, but I really only know him through secondhand stories. I do hope that she has found the person that will fulfill her, she is a wonderful person and deserves all the happiness this world has to offer. For the wedding, we will fly home to Kansas. I haven't been back in a while and I am looking forward to the visit. I may be alone in this, but I love the landscape there. The gently rolling hills and big open sky. Truth be told, when I first moved to Maryland, I was a little overwhelmed by the proximity of everything. There was no room to spread out. I used to drive the back roads to escape from the mild feeling of claustrophobia I felt in the city and even just among all of these trees. Which isn't to say that we don't have trees back home, we do, but they aren't packed together like they are here. It will be nice to get back but in the meantime there are some preparations to do. (This is the only picture I could find that showed any of the landscape. That is my best friend, Aparna, and I, in 1997 or thereabouts, in the Flint Hills of Kansas. What hills, you say? Oh, they're there. And yes, I had a perm. Shut up.)
One essential item that I needed was a dress for the wedding, so off I went to the mall. Unfortunately, I am not the same size I was the last time I wore a dress and I want to look halfway decent for this shindig, so I needed something new. It has been a source of much unhappiness for me that I have struggled so much to lose the last few baby pounds. They have settled on my body in such a way that almost none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. What happened to my waist? How can five measly pounds cause me to be two sizes larger? I take long walks several times a week pushing thirty pounds of baby and stroller, but I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. Until today.
I found a dress I liked and grabbed the unpleasant size I've been wearing lately and on a lark, grabbed the next size down, as well. I didn't really expect it to fit, but what the heck, I had some time to kill and a little bit of ego left to crush. In the dressing room, I pulled on the unpleasant size and immediately realized that, joy of joys, it was WAY too big. So on went the next size down and unbelievably it was also too big. Can this be happening, I thought, have those long, sweaty (and you know how much I hate to sweat) walks finally started to pay off? The answer is yes! YES! So, thinking this was a one off, I ran back out to the racks and grabbed another couple of dresses in the various sizes. Racing back into the dressing room, I threw my clothes off and pulled on the next size down first and not only did it fit, but it was a little loose. Oh, the happiness. The sheer, pure joy of it. Like when I was a kid and I would laugh and laugh as I hit the high points on the arc of a swing.
Ridiculous that something so superficial should bring me such elation. But it does. Oh my god, it does. After spinning around in the dressing room like a pretty, pretty princess, I gathered up my favorite of the dresses in the not unpleasant size and left the others to languish on the rack at the dressing room door. I practically stopped people in the aisles to tell them that I was finally getting somewhere, that things were looking up. Walking out of the store with my new dress in hand, I got a tinge of the excitement I always feel when I touch down in Kansas City, that anxious happiness as the wheels of the airplane bounce along the tarmac and we slow down before pulling into the gate. As excited as I was before, I can't wait to get there now so I can put on my lovely dress in the much better size.