My daughter wanted a designer prom dress I couldn’t afford and rejected the dress I made for her and called me worthless
I love my daughter and I want the best for her. I wanted her to have a better life, a better start than I did, and I think I’ve succeeded in giving her that, even though she probably doesn’t agree with me.
My husband and I divorced when she was nine. He left me for a wealthy, older woman, so I’ve been raising my Hannah on my own. My husband picks her up every other weekend and whisks her away to a life of luxury I can’t provide.
It’s not easy to compete with that and to be honest, I don’t even try. Things came to a head in her senior year when she told me she wanted a certain prom dress by a well-known designer — something that would cost over three times my modest salary.
Of course, I said no. I explained that we couldn’t afford something like that, but I promised her I’d make her a dress as pretty as that one, a unique dress no one else would have. She looked sour and mumbled that maybe she should live with her dad and Rita (his new wife).
The next day I came home with several swatches of fabric and showed them to Hannah. Her best friend Amy was there, and she loved the swatches and the ideas I showed her. but my daughter was not impressed.
“That’s going to look gross, mom!” she screamed, throwing the drawings on the floor, “That’s STUPID!”
“Hun,” I said, “I based it on a dress Audrey Hepburn wore, it’s retro and elegant!” Retro is cool, right?”
Amy nodded her head vigorously, but Hannah screamed: “Retro is cool, but that is plain UGLY!” She stormed out and I could hear sobbing on her phone to her dad. Amy gave me a hug before she left.
She’s a sweet girl, and she’s been struggling since her mom passed away. She whispered to me: “Don’t worry, Hannah will come around!”
And she did, a little. She allowed me to measure her for the dress and didn’t sneer too much when she tried it on for the first time. Unfortunately, her compliance didn’t last. A week later she came home and threw a flyer at me.
I picked it up and read the flyer which announced the prom, the date, and the theme. At the bottom, in fat letters, it announced: “Prize for Most Original Prom Dress!”
“Read that!” she cried, “Best original prom dress!”
“Hannah, yours will be completely original! No one else will have one like it…” I pointed out.
Original doesn’t mean crappy and homemade,” she screamed, “I’m calling dad, and HE’LL buy me a proper prom dress. He’s not a worthless loser like YOU!”
I admit I sat down at that kitchen table and cried my eyes out. I’d poured my heart into that dress, and now it would never be worn. I was still crying when Hannah stormed out, announcing she was going shopping with her dad.
I looked at the pale blue satin dress I’d made, with the hundreds of different-sized pearls shimmering on the wide skirt, the slender bodice with the scooped neckline. It was so pretty. I’d never worn anything that lovely.
Three hours later, Hannah was back, carrying several large shopping bags with the logos of expensive boutiques. She smiled at me triumphantly: “I have the PERFECT dress,” she said, “No thanks to you!”
Something you reject as worthless may well become someone else’s greatest treasure.
A little later Amy arrived and greeted me before running upstairs to see Hannah’s ‘perfect dress.’ I sighed and looked at the blue dress. “I’m going to finish it,” I said to myself, “Even if she doesn’t want it.”
And so I sat down with the dress on my lap. glittering silver and blue, and carefully started hemming it with the tiniest stitches. I was just finishing when Amy came downstairs. “Oh,” she gasped, “Is that the dress you made?”
I smiled and shook it out so Amy could see it. “Yes, what do you think?” I asked.
Amy stepped closer and touched the gathered, pearl-encrusted skirt. “It’s the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen,” she whispered, “I wish..” she shook her head and tears flooded her eyes.
“Amy,” I said, “What’s the matter?”
Amy whispered: “I wish my mom could have made me a dress just like that one.”
“Amy, I’d be proud if you wore this dress,” I told her, and suddenly she was hugging me and sobbing. Amy tried on the dress and it fit her like a dream. “You just need the shoes,” I told her, “And you’ll be a vision!”
On prom night. Hannah came downstairs in a sophisticated red velvet dress which I thought left too much skin bare and didn’t flatter her coloring at all. She had on an expensive pair of very high heels and carried a sequined red purse.
She looked pretty, but the dress was too ‘old’ for her, though I didn’t tell her so. I told her she looked lovely and she replied coldly: “No thanks to you!”
A few minutes later, Amy and her date arrived, along with Hannah’s date. Amy was an ethereal vision, and she glowed with happiness. “You’re wearing THAT?” asked Hannah scornfully, “SERIOUSLY?
Amy smiled happily. “Yes, and I love it!”
“You’re such a geek, sometimes, Amy Loften!” Hannah cried, and after posing for snaps they all left. I turned on the TV and sat watching my favorite show, then I had dinner. I kept thinking about Hannah, and I hoped she’d have a magical night to remember.
I was in bed reading when I heard the front door opening a little after midnight. A little while later there was a knock on my bedroom door. “Come in!” I cried, and Hannah walked in. She had obviously been crying, and all of her carefully applied makeup stained her cheeks. She was carrying the glittery shoes by their flimsy straps.
Mom,” she whispered, “Can I talk to you?”
“Of course, honey! What happened? Are you alright?” I asked, alarmed
Hannah rushed over to the bed and into my arms. She started crying. “Oh mom, it was AWFUL! There were two other girls in the same dress as me and it was so embarrassing! And the prize…”
Hannah was sobbing so I could hardly understand her. “Amy won the prize with YOUR dress, and everyone went crazy over it and I was so STUPID mom, and I’m so sorry…”
“It’s OK hun,” I said, rocking my girl, just as I’d done when she was little and had scrapped her knees, “It’s all going to be alright.”
“But I was so horrible to you, mom…I am so sorry…I was a jerk, wasn’t I?” she asked.
I smiled. “Just a little…But how about you go and wash your face while I make us some hot chocolate and you can tell me the good parts about the prom?”
Hannah sniffed. “OK…Can I have extra marshmallows? And mom? Do you think I could sleep with you tonight?” I want downstairs to make the hot chocolate with a smile on my face. Hannah had learned a hard lesson, but it had made her my sweet little girl again.
What can we learn from this story?
1. The dollar price on something doesn’t always reflect its true worth. Worth and value are two very different things.
2. Something you reject as worthless may well become someone else’s greatest treasure.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.