When my daughter asked me to go with her to the mall the week before Christmas Eve I felt like I had been asked to be waterboarded.
"Ok, anything for you sweetie."
We headed there and luckily, as a native of Little Rock, I knew the back roads and could find a decent parking spot.
On the way up the stairs to Dillard's she was telling me she wanted to find a bralette.
"What's a bralette?"
Eye roll. Go figure.
We made it to Airie on the third floor and I settled down to being the Mom who looks at her daughter and approves clothing. But I was still curious about the bralette. How, I wondered, was it different from the bra?
While she was trying on clothes I decided to ask the sales clerk.
"I'm a 36 C, or B. C now." Weight gain has its perks. It's universal. But I'm still determined to get back into the jeans I could wear back in the Spring, ones I have worn for most of my life. No rush. I've stopped getting on the scale daily. I'm going to take it slow. It's not that I don't love how I look, it's just I'm a little bit frugal. It might be expensive to buy all new jeans. I'm only about 8 pounds away. Not really sure. I stopped getting on the scale. I vow to enjoy the holidays.
"You need a large. That's my size too."
I went over to the 50% off bin and grabbed about 10. Tried on three, and fell in love. Screw more trying on, if the rest doesn't fit, I'll just donate to Goodwill. I'm done with the dressing room.
Epiphany. I haven't had such a comfortable bra since my night nursing bra. It was white and cotton and elastic and wonderful. But these were lacy and racy and beautiful. And they didn't have the ridiculous padding and shaping that I had tried to escape for the last 20 years. Even if bras are designed by women, they must have been controlled by men. The only ones I love I bought 15 years ago and cannot find, despite much research. Ones that still have wires, but no crazy padding. These bralettes were a cousin of those. A superior cousin, one that didn't gouge and bleed me as it was falling apart on a plane or at work. I felt like I was in Heaven.
I told the sales clerk: "I feel like this is the day I learned to ride a bike. Or drive a car. These are amazing. I have my underwires, but I cannot imagine I will ever use them again."
Meanwhile, C was texting me. "Where are you? I'm at Forever 21."
That was on the bottom floor. The mall was hot and crowded. I was sweaty and uncomfortable. I looked for stairs, and found them to the second floor, but not to the first where she was. Escalator was stressful and out of the question. I found the elevator and rode it with old women and women with strollers.
I met C in the food court. "Mom, what took you so long?"
"Well, escalators stress me out. I have an irrational fear. I can face it, but didn't feel like it today."
"What? Really? Escalators?!!"
"Um, yeah. I could have handled it if you were with me. The ones in the main mall are so out in the open. I feel like if I step on one I will be riding into oblivion. It's so crazy, I know. These are nothing in comparison to the DC Metro. They are ten times as long. I was sweating and shaking the whole time. I think I will be fine on the ones at Dillard's." And I was.
I'm wearing bralettes for the rest of my life, I think.