Thirty eight years ago my mother held in her hands a pair of silver heavy set dress making scissors. They were a pair of scissors with faded black paint to distinguish the handle. She stood there with the scissors in one hand and the delicate folds of the white fabric in the other hand.
The fabric was embroidered with the smallest of flowers that had tiny yellow centres. Lace ran along the edges of the fabric. My mother held in her hands the white fabric of her wedding dress, poised and ready to cut.
On that day she took her beautiful wedding gown and cut away at the seams and the folds that held her dress together. Each new piece she cut was carefully measured and carefully planned. No piece could be spared and no mistake could be made. For slowly, her once prized wedding dress was being turned into a christening gown. My christening gown.
I wore her dress on my christening day. My sister wore the dress on her christening day. A generation later AJ wore the same christening gown and so too did PJ. It is one of my family’s most prized possessions. A white dress that was created to mark the beginning of a love story and in time grew to mean so much more.
While my christening gown sits on top of my wardrobe, safely tucked away in folds of tissue paper waiting for the next generation I have had reason to think about that gown again this year.
There are some questions you are asked in life that change you. Change you in ways that define time. At the start of this year hubby and I were asked the incredible honour to be our little nephew’s godparents. More than that, we were asked to be his Nouno and Nouna.
Trying to define what that means to both hubby and I almost seems futile. For the moment I start to pen the words and the emotions evoked from being asked this question I only stop myself, catch my breath and smile. This is something greater than any definition I could write.
On the list of preparations bestowed upon me as a Nouna was the simple line item – choose his christening gown. On the list of preparations it was the most important. I coveted heirloom lace gowns, modern gowns, vintage gowns, gowns that bespoke the tradition I yearned to give to our godson.
When hubby and I walked into the store and I looked at all these beautiful long flowing gowns my heart sank a little. Our godson will be ten months on the day of his christening. He is already a bustling busy little boy and my heart knew that these delicate tiny newborn gowns were not meant for him.
In the end I followed my heart. Something a little modern, a little vintage, a little element that reminds me of his Nouno and a little element that reminds me of me. I can’t wait to dress him in it. I can’t wait to hear the click of cameras as the moments and memories are captured forever. I can’t wait to give him his christening gown to keep and hold onto forever.
I do not know the fate of my wedding dress. But in my prayers I hold a candle for the day that my grandchildren will one day wear my christening gown. And in all his blessings, I want our godson to know that his children and their children were in my thoughts when I choose the gown that will mark his christening day too.
What has become of your wedding dress?
Do you have a special christening gown in your family?
Are you a godparent, a Nouna or Nouno?