I remember when Little Miss was just turning two, a friend of mine gave her some dress up clothes for her birthday. She had a daughter six years older and wisely told me that though she’d gotten rid of the majority of her “baby” toys, the dress up clothes were the ones that she kept no matter what because children of all ages loved them, even when they didn’t fit so well. That has stuck with me over the past four years.
And it’s really true.
I remember playing dress up all the time as a kid, with my friends and by myself. I had a favorite pair of shoes that I’m pretty sure I rarely shared with anyone. I remember them as hand me downs from my mom when she grew tired of them – which is where most of our dress up clothes were acquired – though she insists we went to a store and I picked them out.
They were beautiful. To me. They were high heeled wedges that I somehow managed to walk in. And the elastic type straps that went across the tops to hold your feet in? They were perfect. They were rainbow colored from red all the way to violet. I had a belt that matched. I was in love (fortunately, my tastes have matured), and those shoes were the basis for every outfit and adventure I had with my dress up trunk.
I remember being a doctor, lining up all my Cabbage Patch Kids in the waiting room and calling them back one by one to cure their mysterious ills while wobbling back and forth in those wedges. Then there was the school teacher who taught neighborhood children in the basement, always wearing those precious shoes because teachers had to dress up, you know. I was a veterinarian caring for stuffed animals abandoned at an animal shelter, carefully stepping around the messes they left behind that my assistant (my sister, usually) was required to clean up. I’m pretty sure I was even a fire fighter in those shoes, pretending that the unfinished stairs of my basement was the ladder I needed to use to save the babies from the burning building before successfully putting out the fire.
I find it interesting now that so many of my games with dress up involved various career choices that I wanted to explore. I was never one who wanted to be a ballerina, fortunately, as I’m not sure how those shoes would have done during that exercise. Ultimately, I didn’t become any of those. My imaginations in the basement with my dress up clothes and my precious shoes were enough for me to decide that maybe that career wasn’t really what I wanted to do, but boy my imagination was stretched and I came up with some really great stories along the way.
I wouldn’t trade my dress up trunk or my rainbow wedges for anything. I love that the wee ones continue to use their imaginations as they dress up, as well. You never know where it will take you. Where did yours take you when you were growing up?
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In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a copy of the book “Paddywhack Lane’s The Costume Trunk” by Bob Fuller for review as a part of the From Left To Write book club. We do not write traditional reviews but rather write posts inspired by the books. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.