“You don’t have an Easter bonnet for her?” my mother gasped.
My wife had just unveiled the dress she’d bought our daughter to wear for Easter, but apparently it was an incomplete ensemble. “Um, no?” my wife replied, confused.
“But how can she go to church on Eater Sunday without an Easter bonnet?”
Something my wife did not learn until this Easter is the importance my mother places on the little girls in our family having bonnets to accompany their dresses on Easter Sunday. Growing up with two younger sisters, I remember it being the biggest effing deal every year for them to find the perfect hats for their outfits, because my dad and I would wait for my mom and sisters outside of every damn clothing store in the mall, wondering what the hell was taking them so long, often ditching them to buy me a couple of packs of baseball cards. (Thanks, Dad!)
“Well,” my mother smiled. ” Don’t worry. I’ll find her a bonnet.”
We weren’t worried, Mom.
With all that my wife and I have going on (and the knowledge that no hat stays on my daughter’s head for longer than five minutes anyway), our feeling was, Sure, if it will make your heart sing to get her a bonnet, knock yourself out.
Sure enough, a day or two later, when we were picking up the kids from her house, my mother presented us with a pinkish-purple bonnet she boasted to have found at our local “everything-costs-one-dollar” store, a place she now swears by as THE place to find fun toys, stickers, and holiday favors for the Twins without breaking the bank.
We had to admit, the bonnet was pretty darn adorable, so it was settled–our daughter now had an Easter bonnet and my mother would finally be able to sleep at night again.
Easter morning came, along with my son throwing an Oscar-worthy tantrum about his own outfit now known as The Passion of the Collared Shirt. My son DESPISES collared shirts and claws at them like a dog wearing one of those post-neuter cones until we take them off, but it was Easter, dammit, and he was going to look nice whether he liked it or not. Meanwhile, our daughter sat there like a little angel, all ready to go and elatedly sporting her bonnet.
In fact, to our surprise, she was so psyched about the bonnet that she kept it on for the whole car ride to church, and even turned heads on our way in, attracting coos and aw’s from several of our fellow churchgoers. I could see my mother inflating with pride as she caught sight of the face-melting cuteness HER one-dollar bonnet had inspired, and when we took our seats next to my parents, she gave my daughter a big, near-tearful hug. “You look so pretty, baby girl!”
And that’s when she noticed something. “Hey, what’s this on your bonnet?”
She poked a finger at my daughter’s hat, revealing a hole in the side. This, of course, caused my daughter to remove her bonnet and investigate, and a slight tug on the hole caused the cheap plastic thread to unravel even more, widening the hole to about halfway around the hat.
I took the opportunity to transform the hole into a talking mouth. (“I am a hat. I go on your head. Hair is delicious.”) This was just about the most hilarious thing my daughter had ever seen, and after her own puppetry performance, the entire top of the hat had unraveled off, and was now dangling off the side.
Church hadn’t even started yet, and we’d already suffered a major wardrobe malfunction. I could see my mother trying not to be annoyed, and to her credit, she did a pretty good job.
Sadly (particularly for my mother) we did not get any pictures of our daughter in her bonnet. I didn’t say so at the time, but I was reminded of the age-old phrase “You get what you pay for.” I just couldn’t help thinking that if a dollar bought us 20 minutes of hat time, perhaps a six-dollar hat could have lasted two hours, affording us the additional in-church cuteness and post-church photography session for which the bonnet was intended.
Maybe next year, when my mother again feels The Bonnet Hunger and insists on obtaining yet another hat for our daughter, this will be something to keep in mind. As for me, I’m just glad my son’s shirt wasn’t the poorly-made dollar item. If my tenacious little boy had found it actually possible to physically remove a shirt collar, we’d be in a lot of trouble.
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If not, I have a gift for you–a gently used Easter bonnet.