My husband and I learned how to depend on Divine Providence to meet out kid’s needs, especially our fashion-conscious teenage girls because we had nine children and little extra cash.
With the grace of God, we lived through scores of tragic-comic dramas as my saintly husband, Michael, shopped with our six daughters. Since I was at home with a crew of little ones, dad was the designated chauffeur and shopping monitor in our family. He is a smart man; he always prayed before driving into town with the girls.
Our oldest daughter still remembers and mentions a miracle shopping trip when she was 14 years old. She had her heart set on black, Baby Jane shoes for her grade eight graduation ceremony. As they entered yet another massive shopping mall, Michael heard the Lord whisper, “Turn right and go into the first shoe store you see.” Right in the entrance was one pair of Baby Jane shoes, in the right size and on sale for half price. My daughter was thrilled and satisfied with the rather plain dress her grandmother sent for her because she wore those shoes.
For my second daughter’s graduation from our small country elementary school to high school, Dad volunteered once again for the shopping expedition into the city.
Four hours later, my daughter barged through the kitchen door, glared at me and announced very dramatically,
“I am never shopping with him again!”
She stomped through the kitchen and slammed the solid wood door to the hall behind her with a dramatic flourish.
A few minutes later, her father slipped through the front door, shoulders slumped and silently communicated his exhaustion and defeat.
“So,” I queried tentatively, “How did it go?”
Michael sighed and began to describe one scene in a dress shop. He had picked out a few pretty dresses which he felt were appropriate. Holding up a flowered print dress with a high, round collar, he called out to his daughter, “This one is very pretty.”
Our daughter responded by rolling her eyes dramatically,“Daaad…that’s way too childish.”
The sailor style dress that Michael thought was perfect was similarly dismissed. Then, our thirteen-year pulled out a black, spaghetti-strapped, slinky, black dress and squealed, “Dad, this is exactly what I am looking for!”
Poor Dad sighed but allowed her to try the dress on. She emerged from the dressing room complaining,
“It makes me look fat.”
Right then and there, my poor husband’s only desire was to sink into a deep hole because the store attendant and her customer both weighed about 300 lbs. each. Both women chimed in and exclaimed to our 115 lbs. teenager, “Oh no dear, I don’t think you look fat at all!”
As usual. God managed to work out our dilemma. Our oldest daughter came to the rescue. She borrowed a cream-coloured dress from a friend, embossed with swirls and a Chinese style collar that was decent but not childish. The dress delighted our daughter and calmed my husband’s nerves.
It was and still is an educational experience for one of my adult daughters to shop with one of her younger sisters. After a particular stressful shopping trip, my oldest daughter stumbled through the door, complaining about her hard to please sibling. She rolled her eyes and sputtered, “Do you want to know what kind of dress she wanted me to buy?!”
I laughed, “Oh, we know, sweetie, we know.”