A Hundred Buttons
I heard some shuffling around in Mum’s room so I went to inventagate. There I found her going through her closet pulling out sweaters, skirts, scarves, pants, shorts, leggings, shoes. As each item came out she mumbled something under her breath and threw it in a growing pile on her bed. Lilybunny and I climbed on the bed and were immediately covered by a white, plastic bag that was very heavy. Lilybunny and I let out a startled cry.
“What are you two doing in here? I thought you and your bunny were playing in your room,” says Mum.
“We heard noises and came to inventagate,” I say.
“You mean you brought your stuffed bunny here to investigate. I decided to clean out my closet. There are things in here I can’t wear anymore. Some stuff I just don’t like and some stuff I forgot I had,” Mum says.
“What is in this thing?” I ask.
Mum looks at what I have my hand on and her face lights up with a smile, like when she is happy that I have eaten my green beans without a fuss. “This,” she says, “is my wedding dress from the day I married your father.”
“When I grow up, I am going to marry Daddy,” I tell her.
“Oh you are, are you? You can’t get married for at least another twelve years. Plus your Daddy and I are married so you can’t marry him, but I hope you find a good man like your Dad when you grow up. Did I ever tell you about all the silly things that happened on our wedding day?” Mum asks.
I shake my head no, but it sounds like a story I really want to hear about. I silently hope she tells me now and not later. Lilybunny hopes so too. Mum grabs the plastic bag by the hanger and lifts it up. I see it has a zipper from top to bottom. She hangs the bag on the back of the bedroom door. “Start at the beginning,” I blurt out.
She comes to sit next to me on the bed still piled with clothes. Some slide to the floor as she makes room. “The beginning… hmmm… that’s a long time ago now it seems. Your dad and I were married towards the end of September. We couldn’t afford a wedding planner so I did it myself. I certainly wasn’t made for planning weddings,” she started. I could tell she was going back to that September day even though she was still sitting next to me.
“Before the wedding, I had picked out invitations with tiny, colorful flowers that glittered along the edges of them. I had picked out flowers for me, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, mothers, and grandmothers. I had chosen a three-tiered vanilla wedding cake; but I was going to make the cake topper myself out of flowers because I didn’t want those silly people standing on top of my cake. I ordered my dress and picked out the dresses for the bridesmaids. There was a lot to be done that I thought I could do myself.” Mum went on, “We talked to the pastor who was to marry us. We talked to your great-grandma to ask if we could be married in her garden. We even had a practice ceremony the day before so everyone knew what to do.”
I could picture the practice in my head. Mum in her dress and Daddy next to her, holding hands, looking at each other and smiling. Grandma is wiping away a tear with a gloved hand. Nothing about that seemed silly to me. Mum got off the bed and went to the plastic bag with the zipper. She unzipped the bag and when the plastic was parted I saw a beautiful white dress with eleventeen thousand million beads. The top had short sleeves and lace and beads. The skirt was fluffy like marshmallows with beads going up and down in a pattern all the way around it along the bottom. My Mum looked at me like she was about to do something silly and sure enough she asked me to help her put it on.
She stepped into the dress and turned her back to me as she looked in the mirror. My mouth fell open and I couldn’t take my eyes off all those buttons. I must have said there were a hundred buttons because Mum said, “Not a hundred. There are only forty-three. I know that because I felt the same way when I saw them all. Can you practice your buttons while I tell you about the wedding?” she asks me. Leave it to Mum to always find a way to teach me something. I stay on the bed so I can reach her and steal peaks around Mum as she tells me that the weatherman had promised a beautiful summer day. How that was a good thing because remember the wedding was to be outside in the afternoon. Mum went over to great-grandma’s early to start work on putting out tables and chairs, stereo system, the place for the cake. Then Mum went inside to get started on her hair.
“I was half way through getting my hair curled and put up when your Aunt Lynn came to tell me what happened at the flower shop. When she went to pick up all the flowers, the florist said they had misplaced the order and hadn’t been able to order any of the flowers. Your Aunt Lynn told the florist that she refused to let me get married without a bouquet. The florist was working on a bouquet for another wedding, and your Aunt Lynn said she would be happy to have it. She was persistent and finally the owner gave in.”
“What is peristant?” I asked.
“Persistent. It’s like you and those buttons back there. There are a lot of them, and you keep working at it and not giving up. That’s persistent. That’s how your Aunt Lynn was with the florist. She talked and talked until the florist gave her a bouquet for me. That wasn’t the only silly thing that happened though. There was also the music. Your Daddy saved the day there. The pastor forgot to bring the CD of music to play when I came out of great-grandma’s house. It was called the Wedding March.” Mum laughed when she saw my puzzled look in the mirror. She hummed the tune and I instantly recognized it. I whispered knowingly to Lilybunny, “the Wedding March.”
Mum continued on about how Daddy saved the day while I got back to work on the buttons. I had gotten through more than half of them and getting faster. My fingers were getting sore, but I didn’t want to say anything because I wanted to hear the rest. “So your dad grabbed one of his music CDs. The two bridesmaids and groomsmen went toward the pastor. Then the Maid of Honor with the Best Man. Next were the Flower Girl and the Ring Bearer. It was finally my turn to walk towards the pastor. As I was coming out of great-grandma’s house, I noticed the music playing. Your dad was in a hurry and when he grabbed a CD, it turned out to be a group called Blondie. The song playing was called Rapture. The timing somehow worked out that when I was stepping outside, the words to the song were ‘…and out comes a man from Mars and you try to run but he’s got a gun and he shoots you dead and he eats your head.’ I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. Of course everyone thought I was crying because I was getting married, which made me laugh harder at the silliness of it.”
“I bet you looked beautiful,” I tell Mum. “There, I got them all. It sure felt like a hundred buttons.”
Mum grabs my hands and gently rubs my sore fingers. She moves to the side so there is more of me showing with her in the mirror. “It didn’t rain that day, but I had a bouquet thanks to Aunt Lynn and your Daddy waiting for me so it was absolutely beautiful. Now help me out of this gown while I tell you about the bees around the cake and why half the wedding pictures have your dad in jeans,” says Mum.
I just look at her for a minute. I look to her back with the buttons. I look at Lilybunny. “Come on Lilybunny, let’s go play tea party,” I say. I scramble down off the bed and race for the door. No way can I do those buttons again.