The invisible woman in a red dress.

“Isn’t your 100 days up yet, mom?” Caleb asked me this about 12 days after my 100 day dress challenge had ended.

I actually can’t not wear my wool& canyon red dress these days, despite the challenge being over. I try to wear something different as the day begins, but I gravitate back to the dress. I have 3 wool dresses on order, coming the end of August, my reward dress, my bday dress and a sister challenge dress that I’m super excited about.

“Yes, yes it is.” I replied and then continued to explain my next plan for the my wool dress life. Caleb was walking back into his room, interest waning by my 3rd sentence.

What I wear is not that important to my 20 year old son. That’s the way it is and the way it should be. Other things that go unnoticed by most the family: What I wear (unless it is the same thing for >100 days), how I clear the table of their leftover cereal bowls, pick up their towels from the bathroom floor, go through and throw out junk mail, clean the knife that cut the birthday cake for the birthday that was days ago, and countless other tasks that no one else really cares about but once piled up undone seem as though we are living in a horror movie scene gone wrong.

This is absolutely not a story of division of labor in a marriage post or asking how to get my kids to help by a wonderful chore chart. Bill is a freakin’ superhero and the kids are amazing humans and I’ll just leave that at that. The truth is I don’t mind doing these invisible tasks that no one really cares about except for me. I like some level of order and get overwhelmed in the chaos. I also am not very good at keeping up with all of it, all the time, and when I’m gone; as I was this past month, the things just don’t get done. The world doesn’t end, it turns out, if dry groceries remain on the table along with take out dishes from a few meals ago.

This is a story of grounding yourself as a person. The dress has been very grounding for me. I look at my clothes in my closet and I want the dress. Other things that ground me as a person: nourishing my body, moving my body, praying, stopping to listen to the birds chirp, pausing and noticing the sunrise, the sunset, looking for the moon every night, cooking something that I made from my kitchen, reading letters written to me from my sister, mom, friends from the 1990s, walking with a friend, making decisions, saving money, discovering a new song I like, looking at my loved ones–like really looking at them, listening to favorite podcasts, making a doctor/dentist appointment, making art, letting go of the past, yoga, drinking water, going to bed before 10pm, filling out forms early, feeling grass with my bare feet, pulling weeds, letting go of blame and hurt and really, truly, loving and living in a world in a red dress, in a sort-of picked up home, with humans that make me laugh.

It’s been a weird summer and my kids start school in 2 weeks and then every week after that for 3 weeks. It will be a time of preparation and transition as college kids move out, homeschoolers become at-school schoolers and I look toward the next thing.

I am hoping to not believe the lie that now things will be calm and peaceful. Coming out of covid restrictions and a stressful few years before that, it would be easy and fun to think that now LIFE will go smoothly for a time. But I have learned and hope to remember that LIFE continues to have edges and hard lines and lines to draw and boundaries to set and disappointments to navigate and losses to accept and what will get us through will be the practices that we choose that daily ground us.

So put on your metaphoric red dress everyone! Or put on a real red dress, I suggest wool, but whatever it is, find the ground and look up at the sky and see what you see! I mean really SEE it.

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