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By Daphne Biener

We were heading to a family wedding over Labor Day, and I, not one to embrace the shopping experience under the best of times, decided it was time to buy a new dress. I’ll give you an idea of how often I willingly undertake such a mission. I’m pretty sure the last time I tried one on I had to peal down leg warmers – navy blue ones with whales and hearts and matching sweater (lest you think that somehow I was in on last year’s fashion trend). Nevertheless, with my fashion consultants (ok my daughters, age 6 ½ and 4) giddy and in tow, I hit Nordstrom and found a gorgeous dress.

I stood in the 360 degree mirror, letting the girls “ooh” and “aah” at the rarely seen sight of mommy outside of her jeans. As has been happening since I was 15, the palm of one hand moved quickly into position, protectively covering the pooch. It tried in vain to flatten the sucker. The saleswoman, Hilda, winked. “Not that you need anything, ah-hem, but have you ever tried Spanx?” Hallelujah! Who knew such miracles existed? My years of self-imposed exile from the fashion world have served me poorly.

With my tummy neatly contained beneath the blue silk of my new dress-to-be, I turned my attention to my breasts. I guess I haven’t paid them much mind lately, what with breastfeeding a thing of the past and Mardi Gras a thing of a distant era. Apparently, like me, they have settled down. Waaaaay down. Hilda noticed too. “Don’t worry, we’ll get lingerie over here, hon.”

Lingerie came, armed with what she claimed to be bras. They were not. They looked like raw chicken cutlets held together with the twist-tie from a bagel bag. Doubtful but willing, I suctioned them on to my pathetic breasts and danced a bit for the girls’ amusement. They grabbed the remaining samples and jammed them onto their sweet young chests, propelling me momentarily into their teenage years (of which I am very very afraid) and stopping my heart. Acadia, my four year-old, was disgusted (thankfully) and tossed them aside. She looked confused. “Mommy?” She caught my eyes in the mirror. “I think you should just wear your own boobs to the wedding.” And I did, reinforced that is, with a good, old-fashioned (yes, strapless) bra.

You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.

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kelcey kintner