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L’il Sis and I went shopping recently and, while trolling through the sale dress rack, found a dress we both liked. L’il Sis saw it first, so I suggested (being the generous, thoughtful mother that I am) she try it on. She did. It fit beautifully and was gorgeous on her. She was thrilled. Seeing how good it looked on, I said that, since we wear the same size, if she didn’t mind, I’d like to try it on as well. I did and loved it. So we had a dilemma. Who was going to take it? We recognized this as an ass-backward variation on the “OMG that woman at the party is wearing the same dress as me!” theme.

“You saw it first,” I commented magnanimously.. . with just a tinge of envy and remorse.

“Oh but it’s the style of dress you love,” said L’il Sis. This gentle ‘testing of the waters’ wouldn’t last long and we both knew it. Someone was going to lose. And short of taking each other down in a cat fight in the middle of the store, there were few ways to end this amicably.

But I took the high road. Ever the diplomat (stop laughing) I said: “How about if I buy it, it will stay in my closet but you can use it when you want it? Not forgetting, of course, that I am the one forking out the money. But I’m prepared to be generous with it. And I bet this is a dress that Gill would wear too. We can split it three ways. Think what value we’re getting!” (This was the closest we’ve come to solidifying our informal lease arrangement on each others’ clothes.)

So we had a plan. Two days later, L’il Sis asked meekly if she could borrow the dress for work. “Well, I haven’t even worn it yet,” I pointed out.

“Well, I just thought I’d ask…it’s no big deal.”

Thinking it over, I agreed that she could wear it first. “Just don’t spill anything on it,” I warned.

“No problem. I’ll be careful.”

She was and it appeared in my closet again that night. It was obvious, when recounting the number of compliments she’d had, that she really liked the dress.

The following week, The Man in My Life was taking me out for dinner. I told L’il Sis.

“Oh, how nice. Why don’t you wear The Dress?” she asked.

“Hmm…I could, but I think we’re going a bit more casual,” I said.

Did she look crushed or was I imagining it?

She waited a week and then approached me again. “Mom, do you suppose I could borrow The Dress again?”

And that’s when I understood. She had wanted me to wear The Dress for dinner so she wouldn’t seem to be monopolizing it — and before I had even worn it once! She’s no fool.

I have plans for The Dress in a couple of weeks so I’ll have to remember to ‘book it’ beforehand. When Gill is here, we’re going to have to devise a schedule. Or maybe one of us can wear it to a function for an hour, rush home for Number Two to wear it for the next hour, then Number Three can wrap up the evening. That’s going to be one very well used, dare I say tired frock!

I don’t mind sharing clothes with my daughters, but I am grateful that we all take different shoe sizes. Since L’il Sis has almost as many ‘shoe accidents’ as I do, I could see a major tug of war over footwear. But it would only be a two-way battle. . . as much as Gill likes to think she rocks the look, nobody really wants her Birkenstock clogs . . . especially for a more formal occasion.

I know, Gill, you’re deeply offended. I can feel it all the way from here.

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