Wearing Grandma’s Dress

“Wearing Grandma’s Dress,” New Era, May 2012, 40–41

Wearing Grandma’s Dress

I thought my plan was flawless, but Grandma had something else in mind.

“Grandma, I’m so sorry, but I can’t go to church with you. I forgot to bring a dress and shoes,” I told her in my most regretful voice. Not wanting to go to a ward of strangers, I had purposely left my church clothes home when I visited Grandma. I hadn’t washed my hair nor put on any makeup, and I waited until a half hour before church to give Grandma the news. I was positive Grandma would agree I was not fit for church.

Smiling, Grandma quickly appraised my condition: “Rachelle, this isn’t a problem. We’re close to the same size, and I have the perfect outfit for you.” She opened her closet and pulled out a blue paisley grandma-skirt with a coordinating pink blouse. The sleeves were too long, and the skirt’s hem swished around my ankles. Not only was Grandma taller than me, but she also had long, narrow feet. After attempts with different shoes, she helped me stuff tissues in the toes of some colorful beaded loafers.

“You look beautiful,” Grandma beamed. I pasted on a smile, but I was aware I couldn’t look anything but ridiculous in an old-lady dress with flat, greasy hair. Grandma was optimistic, and with her sweet prodding, we headed out the door for church.

“Bishop,” Grandma said as we entered the foyer, “I’d like you to meet my granddaughter Rachelle. She’s come to visit me for a few days.” I shook hand after hand as Grandma proudly introduced me to practically everyone in her ward.

It was a relief when sacrament meeting began and we were seated quietly on the bench. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t concentrate on any of the announcements or songs. I kept my head down, hoping none of the young men had seen me. I was seriously wishing I were in my own dress, wearing makeup, with stylish hair.

The priests began to reverently bless the sacrament. It wasn’t until the priests began to bless the water that I finally started to listen and realized what I had done. I had been so worried about attending an unfamiliar ward that I had given no thought to remembering God, His Son Jesus Christ, and what They have done for us. I realized that I had even planned to break His commandment by not coming to church. I had also lied to my grandmother about forgetting my clothes. I felt ashamed.

As I thought of our Savior and His love for us, my heart lifted. I had planned to not come to church, but here I sat. This made me smile. I was grateful for Grandma, for the borrowed dress, and that Grandma loved me enough to bring me to church. She had helped me put God first and keep His commandments.

I never “forgot” my church clothes again.

Illustration by John Kachik