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I got kicked out of the dressing room

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I've been kicked out of the dressing room.

How did this happen?

A month ago I was helping you try on your first day of school outfit for kindergarten.

Remember? It matched your little sister's preschool dress, and you chose the bright pink lunch box to go with it.

Two weeks ago I was supervising your swimsuit fashion show for summer swim lessons. Would it be the ruffled top or the rainbow stripes?

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Remember? You learned to side breathe in it and haven't stopped since.

One week ago I was watching you spin in front of the big mirror as you admired the flaring skirt of your Easter dress.

Remember? It had to be pretty enough for church, but sturdy enough to let you collect all of the Easter eggs.

Just yesterday I helped you find the right size for your first pair of skinny jeans. You asked me to make sure the waist wasn't too loose and the length was right for your long, long legs.

Remember? We got in a debate about the strategic placement of "fashionable" holes.

And today, here I sit. Alone outside the dressing room while you try on clothes without me.

You can change hangers yourself.

You know when something is too tight or too baggy.

You'll show me if you like it.

"Thanks, Mom, but I'll take it from here."

And that's what it's all about, isn't it?

We spend years snapping snaps, buttoning buttons, adjusting straps and folding discards. We try to promote good taste and wise choices. We admire twirls and spins, jumps and ninja moves, all while keeping a sharp eye on safety and comfort.

And then one day, when we're not really ready for it, that phase is over. The door is closed and we're on the other side. We didn't even realize how treasured those moments were...and now they're gone.

You don't need me for that anymore.

"Thanks, Mom, I'll take it from here."

***

I've been kicked out of the dressing room.

But I'll sit here and wait. Talking and laughing through the door. Admiring when the door is open and remembering when it's closed. Seeing the many ages and years layered together and bringing us here.

Understanding that you don't need a chooser or an organizer, a buttoner or a size checker.

But you still need someone to tell you you're beautiful. You still need someone to tell you a number on a tag means nothing when measured against how you feel on the inside. You still need someone to smile at you when you finally open that door.

You still need a mom - and for you, that's all I ever wanted to be.

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