A GW Boutique Tale of Transformation and Appreciation

It had been a while since I’d been to the GW Boutique before my visit last Monday.  A long while.  As in, if I sat down and thought about it, I’d probably find myself in the middle of withdrawals.  I’m not making light of withdrawals, y’all.  It is a serious need I have.  To find great bargains and bring them home or give them to folks I love.  It makes me happy.

So last Monday, I looked around and found a dress that I really, really liked.  The Fella looked at it and asked, “Isn’t it too short?”

Well, without trying it on, ummm, well…..yes, it probably is.  But you know what?  I brought it home anyway.  And I tried it on and wouldn’t you know it, it was too short. I spent the morning of our Alumnae weekend festivities back in April in a dress that hit my knees when I was standing, but when I sat down, well…..I was raised to know better.  Now that I’m a girl of a “certain age” I just don’t think I can pull it off.  (Actually, I should pull it off…..that would solve the whole problem.)  I was so relieved to change into my shorts and shirt for the afternoon events.  I came home and told my Fella not to let me walk out of the house EVER AGAIN with a dress that short.  (It was okay ten years ago, but no more.)  And he didn’t let me down.

I was sad though.  The dress felt good and I loved the way the top was made.  After thinking on it for a bit, I decided to take the leap.  It was from the GW Boutique after all.  If I messed it up, I wouldn’t be out too much.  But if I succeeded…..well, a girl can dream.  Even one of a certain age.

A call to my Aunt, who is a talented seamstress, and a trip to get the right needle, and I was set.  With a pounding headache, I cut, I pinned, I wound a bobbin, and I was set.  Five minutes later, the hem was done.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

And, oh y’all. My new favorite summer top. Seriously.  I’m ready to raid my closet and attack the rest of the dresses from my twenties and thirties…..well the ones that have survived the cut so far.  I love the transformation here.

Another great find that day sent me on a trip down memory lane.   This cute little number right here–

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag.  I didn't retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag. I didn’t retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

It is a fun shade of green, one of my favorites.  And it is tiny.  My friends, for those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting up with in “real life,” I must confess–I am not a “tiny toter.”

If anyone has watched Anita Renfroe’s Purse-onality performance, you know the different kinds of folks–from those who are tiny toters to those whose cars serve as their purses.  Ahem.  *looks away* And I, alas, am not a tiny toter.  Remember Justin Case?  He requires that I carry a massive bag with smaller bags inside full of all sorts of things.  Justin Case we need them.  Unfortunately, Anxiety Girl concurs.  She also thinks I need to carry everything but the kitchen sink with me whenever I leave the house.

I so aspire to be a tiny toter, y’all.

It’s nothing new.  Many years ago, maybe fourteen or fifteen, Aub was taking dance as was her friend, whose Mama was my dear Joyful friend.  We were supposed to meet them there on Saturday morning. But they never arrived.  I was on my way home when I got a call that they had been in an accident and were at the hospital.  Before I could get there, another friend called me and said she’d seen the vehicle being towed through town.  Totaled.  A mess.  My heart was pounding.

When Aub and I got to the hospital, I saw her girls.  They were both okay, thank goodness.  I was told my friend was back in the ER room, and that I should go back to see her.  I left Aub with the family in the waiting room and went back.  I walked in that room, and what I saw filled me with gratitude.  My friend was sitting up on the bed/table.  She looked okay.  She was very sore, and I can’t remember what other injuries she had, but she was okay overall.  So thankful.  It could have been so much worse.

I went over to hug her.  I asked her how she was feeling.  She was in pain and told me so, and then she looked at the tiny toter I was carrying very unsuccessfully with things hanging all out of it and over the sides, and said, “I’m really hurting but I’ll be okay.” She paused and pointed.  “And YOU need a bigger bag.”


That’s the kind of friendship I have always loved.  The one where she loves you so much she calls you out on your junk and you love and respect her enough that you say, “I know, right?  I’ll try to do better.”

Which is pretty much what I said.

I think that’s the last time I really tried to be a tiny toter as an everyday thing.  I graduated on to diaper bags, twice more, and wound up embracing it as my style.  I carry the convenience store around in my bag–baby wipes, pain reliever, homeopathic remedies, bandaids, gum, fruit snacks, crayons, paper, keys, matchbox car or two, extraneous Legos, Polly Pocket clothes, extra clothes, tissues, gloves, a book or two ALWAYS, and all kinds of electronic chargers.  I’m ready y’all.  Until I’m not.  And then I reassess and sometimes get a bigger bag. To carry.  More.  Stuff.

But I love that little green bag.  I carried it for some business we had to handle last week.  I tucked in just what I really needed for those few hours.  (I was on this little venture without my littles, so that made a difference too.)  I have to tell you I felt rather chic carrying my tiny toter, dropping my keys and phone inside and being able to see them–right there–anytime I glanced over.  Sometimes during the meeting I just glanced over.  Hello over there, keys and phone, I see you in there.  I like seeing you. Aren’t y’all just too precious, right there waiting so patiently for me in this cute little bag? 

*sigh*  I wish I were a tiny toter all the time.

But it’s not to be.  As Mama said, to everything there is a season. And right now is not the season for me to tote tiny bags.  Everyday, anyway.

But I’m going to hang on to this little cutie.  I think from time to time I will find it appropriate to carry.  And one day, it might just become an everyday bag for me.

In the meantime, I am thankful for my new summer top and for the ways that we can find beauty and usefulness in transformation.  I appreciate my Aunt who empowered and encouraged me to go for it.  The courage to transform anything, including ourselves, takes bravery and encouragement from those we love.

I’m also thankful for the great friends who have joined me on this Journey–who, like my Joyful friend, see my “stuff,” call me out on it, and never stop loving me through it all.  That’s a treasure beyond compare right there.

And finally, I give thanks for an ordinary extraordinary trip to the GW Boutique.  One that had me transforming and appreciating where I am all at the same time.  See, one day I know I’ll be back to the tiny toter.  The last one I carried with any success I put away on September 19, 1995, the day my first baby was born.  And one day, I know, when I’m carrying this little green bag or another cutie like it, I will look back wistfully and wish I had a reason to carry my big ol’ convenience store bag again.

Or maybe I won’t.  Who knows?  Life’s an adventure, and I’m thankful I’m not just standing in line waiting to get on.  No matter what bag you carry, it’s all about where you are, where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and most importantly, who’s along for the ride.

Love to all.



A Bicycle Ride Down Memory Lane

Last week after much anticipation and watching the local “yard sale” website, this joined our happy little family.

pic of awesome bikeOur little guy, Cooter, was beyond excitement.  He had no idea that I had finally found the one, and when he saw it, well–it was totally worth it.  And it was quite the bargain as well.

He put on the cool helmet that came with it and took off.  I was surprised at how well he did, considering that for the past couple of years he’s only ridden his Big Wheel .

pic of happy rider

Only as he took the curve the bike wobbled and he fell over and this happened.

pic of his booboo

Poor little guy.  We went from best day ever to the worst. thing. that. ever. happened.   He was so pitiful.  And in soooo much pain.  The red stuff made it worse, I’m pretty sure.

So the next day, after Leroy came over and lowered the seat and tweaked the training wheels, Cooter set off again, and this time my boy was prepared.

pic of jeans kneesNo comments please about the foot safety and lack thereof with the whole flip flop thing going on.  Ahem.  I’m actually surprised he was wearing shoes at all.  Not that I care too much.  By the third child, I find that my standards have relaxed.  A lot.  We all go “butterfeety” around here.  But I digress.  The jeans.  His choice.  To protect his knees.  I was impressed.  He saw a problem, and he problem solved.  But he didn’t give up riding because of the fall.  Seems like there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

It reminded me of when I was in first grade.  I was learning to ride my bike without training wheels.  My bike was a beautiful red one that my cousin had graciously passed down to me.  I thought it was all the more awesome because he was pretty cool.  And I was bound and determined to ride it.  Without training wheels.

The road to my Granny's house.  It hasn't changed that much in all these years.  At least as I can recall.

The road to my Granny’s house. It hasn’t changed that much in all these years. At least as I can recall.

Daddy drove me and my bike over to my Granny’s which was maybe a half hour from our house.  She lived at the end of a long and winding red dirt road, which now carries our family name.  Daddy pulled over to the side of the road, let me out, and pulled my bike out as well.  He set me to riding and sent me on my way.  I think at some point he passed me and went on up to the house.  I was riding along, free as the wind.  That feeling of being on my own, pumping those pedals, careening along, utility poles flying by as I rode past–there’s nothing like it.  And then I caught a glimpse of her mailbox.  Not much further now.  And I made the curve turning towards the house like a champ. There was Daddy and Granny waiting.  I was so proud and thrilled and full to bustin’.  And then as her porch steps grew closer and closer, I realized something very important.

I couldn’t remember how to stop.

And, unfortunately my knees caught the brunt of Granny’s steps making the stop for me.  That little booboo in the picture above?  Nothing compared to my knees people.  It was ugly.  Fortunately Granny had the right medicine to make it all better.  Mercurochrome and a big glass of Coca-Cola.  We all sat on those steps together while I sipped and heard what a good job I’d done right up to that point.  Fixed me up just right.

Until a few days later when, filled with joyful glee over a day going well, I decided to skip down the catwalk at school on the way to run an errand for my first grade teacher.  I skipped and tripped and opened those knees back up.  The worst hit was on my heart because skipping was not allowed on the catwalk.  I just knew I was in trouble.  And yet somehow it all turned out all right.  My heart.  My knees.  And only a small scar or two to help me remember that day.

Of that first time without any help, riding along, on my jazzy red bike that was a gift from my cousin.  And sitting with my Granny and Daddy, two of my all-time favorite folks. Then there’s the Coca-Cola of course.  Good memories, good times.

I hope one day Cooter will have some cool stories to share of his adventures on his awesome yellow bicycle.  As I watch him sleeping tonight, it occurs to me that I’ve bought my last bike with training wheels, and that this is the bike that he will have his first independent adventure on.  Sigh.  I know that in this life he will fall down, but I hope there will always be someone to listen to his hurts and encourage him to try again and cheer him on when he does.  Most of all, I hope he will always have the spirit and strength to try again, no matter how many times he falls.  And if it takes a little Coca-Cola to help boost that spirit, well, that’s okay too.

Now off to find a bottle of Mercurochrome to keep handy.  I’ve got a feeling we’re going to need it.