The Perfect Dress

This was written a couple of years ago and never published.  As the end of another school year rolls around and talk of finding the ‘perfect’ dress,  I remembered this and decided it was time to share it with you.  

There are some moments in life that are etched in my memory, better than a photograph, that fades with time – as if written in stone, preserved forever.

One of those moments was in March of 1979.   The birth of our daughter, Michelle.

On that a bright spring morning when the nurses handed us our baby girl to take home.  Wrapped & snuggled in several receiving blankets, I cradled Michelle tight in my arms for the ride home.  There were no car seats – no safety restraints – don’t judge me – those were not available.  As we headed for home, I looked down at those perfect rosebud lips, her perfectly sculptured nose and knew I would never forget that perfect moment.   I knew that she would not be tiny forever but I didn’t know how fast those years would pass.

Fast forward 13 years – that perfect baby girl was now promoting from 8th grade.  Suddenly we were searching for the perfect dress for promotion.   I was bound and determined that my daughter would not be dressed in ‘cocktail’ attire.  As these shopping events go, we butted heads.   Shop after shop we went until finally we saw “The Dress”.  It took a little convincing,  but “The Dress” came home.

The dress 1992


After the big event the dress was cleaned and wrapped in plastic and hung in my closet.

Little did we know that the dress was to become part of our family history.



The years flew by and before I knew it ‘my baby’ was expecting a baby of her own.   I was soon to become a Grandmother.

The big day arrived with a gush of water and a race to the hospital – a mere four hours later Alexis Rose entered this world.  Much like her mother before her, she had a perfectly sculptured nose and her mother’s rosebud lips.

The dress The morning that Alexis came home I stood in front of the hospital with my daughters and new Grand-daughter.   I don’t know why, but I had decided to wear “The Dress” that had been biding its time in my closet.

This time around I was acutely aware how fast the years would roll by.



Making Cookies


Soon that little girl was my kitchen helper.

So little and eager to do everything ‘just right’.




Growing up


We spent hours in the garden, planting flowers and picking tomatoes.  Playing in the sprinklers.

They were carefree days, that I knew would not last forever.

These  precious moments will be treasured forever.



Fast forward 13 years – our Alexis was getting ready to promote from 8th grade.

A notice came home from school that she was to be receiving an award.  When asked,  Alexis  claimed no knowledge of this award – “Probably citizenship or something……”  As if that wasn’t something to be proud of.

The evening of the award ceremony arrived and running late as usual, I raced to my closet to find something to wear.  In the back corner of the closet, I spotted “The Dress”, wrapped in plastic – waiting to be worn again.

I walked into the auditorium and sat by my daughter, Michelle.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes, “My dress!  You are wearing The Dress!”

The award ceremony seemed to last forever and Alexis sat next to me fiddling with the edge of the dress, waiting for her name to be called.

“Perfect Attendance”   She knew her name wouldn’t be called.

“Citizenship” she thought this was what she would be called for – but alas, her name was not called.  She slumped in her seat, head down.

She sighed and whispered in my ear, “Nana, I think they made a mistake.”

Finally they got to the “important” awards and Alexis slumped deeper into her seat.

Much to her surprise and our delight we stood and cheered as we watched Alexis receive the “President’s Award for Academic Achievement.”

Alexis' 8th grade awards

These are moments to be treasured forever and ‘The Dress’ was there.

Posted in Real Life Tagged permalink

About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, "Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my "name" Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don't bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.


The Perfect Dress — 20 Comments

  1. Hello Baking Nana, beautiful story and photos. What a wonderful award to win, and how proud the family is. Thank you for sharing your story..

  2. The Dress has endured through the years as a very special reminder of your daughter’s life. I also love the fabric pattern and for some reason it seems familiar to me. My three girls were in the era of the Gunny Sack dresses. Ugh! You’re a great mom alright. But, I already knew that! Hugs sweet Penny! (Not sure what happened above. It prematurely posted)

  3. Oh Penny, what a story to treasure forever! The very best memories I have revolve around my family! I love that

  4. omg, get the tissues! what a lovely story. thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Hello this is Michelle ( baking Nana’s) daughter, I just want to say you mean the world to me and my kids. I love you with all my heart and am very thankful to have you as my mother and a super grandmother to my children, and yes I remember that dress so very we’ll. So many blessed memories that the dress has been through and so many more to make, you are an amazing person and couldn’t ask for a better mother and my life. P.S. I can’t forget that fresh bread in the mornings that would blow my diet right out the door.
    Love you forever

    • Oh gosh! Now that made me cry! Thank you, sweet daughter – for sharing your life and your children with us.
      We are indeed, blessed!

    • Thank you Valerie. I am blessed. To have the honor of having the kids and grand kids so close – to watch them grow and cheer them on. I couldn’t ask for more!

  6. Baking Nana, after the busyness of the last few weeks, it was so nice to go through your story and photos and feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Many thanks. The dress is of roses, yes?

    • Hi Emeralds. Yes, the dress is a rose print and it still lives in my closet, safely wrapped in plastic. Alexis Rose will be graduating from High School in two years….. I may have to dust off the dress for that occasion. It will be here before we know it!

  7. I love it! That is so special. She will love looking at this post for years to come. BTW, my daughter was the only one to wear a black dress to her 8th grade promotion. What a sight to see! But she was in heaven with that—-her own little protest against school. She had no idea then that she would become a teacher! Ha! That’s a very nice story, Baking Nana, and thank you for sharing it!

    • Hi Marianne! 🙂 I can just see your daughter in her black dress! I can also imagine that she is a wonderful teacher – she understands! BTW – finding an appropriate dress, modest and yet cute is a challenge! Thanks for stopping in!

  8. What a lovely story! I know you are proud of your girls, my dear. This lovely tale speaks of how you are able to make people feel truly special. A simple gesture can speak volumes, can’t it?

    • Hi Brenda,
      Who would know that a very simple (rather inexpensive) dress would become such a symbol in our lives.
      I am proud of my girls – all of them. Today, I watched our little Sarah promote from 6th grade! I cried. My girls are growing up!

  9. Wow Penny – – what an amazing story!! And that is one well made dress (and beautiful I might add) – with an equally amazing history to go with it. Reading your story reminded me of the TV movie “The Wedding Dress” that had a similar type of adventure attached to a wedding dress – but your dress is a real life story – so you win!! And what an amazing achievement by your grand daughter – you must be so proud of her – and rightfully so!! Please keep that dress hanging in your closet…. I have a feeling its’ journey is not over yet!! Thanks for sharing “The Dress” with us – it was a most enjoyable read.

    • Hi Pam: I am sure that dress will make another appearance. It still hangs in my closet. Surprisingly, it was not very expensive. Goes to show you, not everything of value carries a big price tag.
      It amazes me how I remember that shopping trip as if it were yesterday. Yes, finding the ‘perfect dress’ was a rather traumatic experience, ending in victory! I suppose that may be why it holds value. A meeting of minds between a mother and her teenage daughter is a miracle.
      Thanks for stopping in!