Matric dance dresses and sacrifices

Although Pete and I do not have 2-legged children of our own, we certainly are surrounded by some very special little 2-legged people whom we have watched grow up over the years and who we enjoy spending time with. One way we get to do that is by taking them shopping on their birthdays. We go clothes shopping and then out for either breakfast or lunch – just the 3 of us.

A week or two ago I picked up Ira from school a few days shy of her 12th birthday for an afternoon of shopping. Pete was in Joburg so it was just going to be a girl’s afternoon. So naturally the topic in the car turned to fashion…. Ira announced “My mom said that your Matric dance dress was really ugly”.


And even though Wendy may have had a point – I have hidden my Matric dance photos so well that I can’t even find them – I still felt a sense of loyalty to that red, satiny ensemble circa 1990!

I replied with: “Well, Ira at the time I really thought it was gorgeous; I was going for a Spanish-inspired look to compliment my long curly hair”. I was hoping she would totally buy that story and maybe even defend my fashion choice to her mom….

Realistically speaking the picture I had in my head at that time of what the dress would actually look like was a little different to what arrived a day or two before the dance and far too late to do anything about it! Boy, do I sound defensive 🙂

But hey ho – it was the 90’s, and luckily anything went! Or so I had thought for all these years……

Steering the conversation away from my lack of fashion sense before Ira realised that perhaps I was NOT the person to take her clothes shopping, we moved on to the topic of hair.

Now Ira has the most gorgeous curly dark hair, and naturally she hates it…

I told her that I was never allowed to have my hair long when I was in junior school because it was so difficult to manage, but strangely once I started growing it, it was far easier to handle.  We both agreed unequivocally that having long curly hair was MUCH better than short curly hair as at least the curls could actually be tamed by gravity.

Now I consider myself quite a good shopper, but I think I have met my match in Ira, she certainly knows her own mind! We walked the entire length and breadth of the mall……….. twice.

But finally found a dress, shoes and a top which she simply could not live without and which all looked amazing with her long curly hair! We rewarded ourselves with milkshakes and pizza (sorry Megan – it was a VERY special occasion!), and I took her home in high (sugar induced) spirits.

So when a few days ago Wendy wrote on her Facebook page that Ira had cut her hair to donate it to cancer, I was truly speechless. I mean for once I was completely without words; I couldn’t even come up with a comment for the Fb post.

And when I heard earlier this week that some of the kids at school had teased Ira and her newly cut curly hair, it made me realise just exactly what that sacrifice meant for her.

So Ira, I want you to know just how proud I am of you and how brave I think you are.

I certainly would never have been courageous enough to do that when I was your age; who am I trying to kid, at any age!
And do me a favour, don’t listen to a thing anyone else says – you are awesome, and at 12, already an inspiration.

AND you certainly rock those short curls big time!


“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.” Mitch Albom

“She taught me all about real sacrifice. That it should be done from love… That it should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don’t have enough of their own.” Vernoica Roth

“When people see you’re happy doing what you’re doing, it sort of takes the power away from them to tease you about it.” Wendy Mass

“If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.” Taylor Swift


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