Take Sunday for example. We were headed to our church's 100th anniversary banquet. Elyse was wearing a black dress with a hot pink sash. After I zipped it up, she did a quick twirl and sped out of the room. She came back loaded down with multicolored Mardi Gras beads and a fuzzy pink purse with silver ribbon wrapped around the strap.
"Sweetie," I said. "I think you have on a little too much jewelry."
"Ohhhh..." She frowned and stretched out her arm, revealing six plastic bangles and two Princess Tiana rings. "I want to look like a foxy mama!"
I choked back laughter and explained that sometimes less is more. We agreed on two hot pink strands of beads and a a purse with fewer ribbons. Just then the phone rang; it was my mom's friend Aunt P.
"There's something I need to tell you."
I was instantly concerned. "Is everything o.k.?"
"Your mother has been going through her costume jewelry all week. I'm afraid she's going to come out of the house looking like... well, I don't know what, but I need you to get over there and make sure her outfit is together."
Since the stroke, Mom has been a teeny bit challenged with coordination. I try to make it to her house before any important occasion. "I'm almost ready, then I'm heading over. I told her I'd be there by 3."
"Please. I'm counting on you. I have a feeling she's going to be covered in rhinestones."
Mom had on mismatched sparkly earrings when I got to the house. "Which ones look better?"
"The big ones," I reply.
She smiles and nods her approval. "See, I knew it. Help me with my dress." Her dress was black with a large rhinestone brooch at the cleavage. I zipped it up, and she did a twirl I had seen about 30 minutes before.
"What about a necklace?" She asked. I looked at her hands; she had on two diamond rings and a tennis bracelet.
I repeated my less is more speech. Mom sighed. "You are really stifling my creativity."
I laughed. "That's the second time I've heard that today."
Everyone at the banquet told Mom how great she looked. I heard her tell a few people she would have looked better if I'd let her wear a necklace.