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  • Writer's picture Gabrielle Elise Jimenez

If only...

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

When I was a little girl, I remember watching my mother at her sewing machine making beautiful wedding dresses for other people and I always thought that one day maybe she would make mine. When I was in my twenties I met and married my first true love. I asked my mom to make my wedding dress. She said yes.

We lived four hours apart at the time and we did not have the luxury of the internet, so I would mail her pictures I found in magazines of what I wanted my dress to look like. We would talk on the phone once a week and I would tell her in great detail about the dress I hoped to wear. I didn’t get to see the dress until two days before my wedding, which made me nervous, but I was also really excited to see the gorgeous gown she would bring me. It would be my dream wedding dress.

When she arrived at my home and pulled the garment bag out of her car, I cried, and I couldn’t wait to see it. When I opened the bag, I found the dress was nothing like I had imagined. I was upset but I never told her that. It was not what I had sent her, it wasn't what we talked about, and it didn’t fit the way I had hoped, but I never said a thing. And while I did not say anything, I think she knew.

I look back now, and I remember thinking all day that this was not the dress I hoped it would be. I regret that.

I recently found some photos of my wedding day and the photo I have attached to this blog, is her and I. And what I see now, is her smiling at me, in a loving and proud way. I don’t remember that. What I also see is a dress my mom made for me, with pearl buttons all down the back with hand crocheted button loops, and beautiful pearl trim around the sleeves. What I see now is all the work she put into it, and how truly blessed I was that my mom made my wedding dress. If I could only go back to that day, just for a few minutes, I would say, “thank you mom, this dress is magnificent, and I love it.”

There are no do-overs, some moments only happen once in our lifetime. How we handle them, the words we say, and our behavior and mannerisms will be remembered forever, either by you or by them. As we get older, we can’t help but look back on things we said or did, wishing for a do-over, wishing for a kinder word. Looking back reminds me to do better moving forward.

What life is teaching me these days, is how truly precious moments can be. They are these wonderful little snapshots that get stored away in our hearts forever. It’s like your own personal photo album of your life; who you were, what you experienced, and who you have become. I am a far kinder and more compassionate person than I was in my twenties, certainly more appreciative of all my blessings. But when you are young you don’t think about those moments as being the only glimpses you might ever have into time you shared with the people you love. You think you have the luxury of a lifetime, but we know that cannot be promised.

Appreciate the moments you have now… say kinder things, be a kinder human. And slow down… don’t rush through your life… savor it all with child-like enthusiasm. Don't live a life wishing you had done or said things differently, live your life now never having to say that. And learn to forgive yourself for things you might have said or done so long ago... make peace with that. Could I have said or done things differently? Absolutely... but I am doing that now.



This is a blog I wrote about my mom's blue tape measure... the one she always had hanging around her neck. It is the same one she brought with her to do the final touches on my wedding dress... the same one I carry in the pocket of my scrubs every day.

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Linda Sylvester
Linda Sylvester
Oct 08, 2022

Oh Gabby, I just love YOU so much!!!

Oct 09, 2022
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Oct 08, 2022

Thanks for reminding me that there are no "do-overs." I have a challenging relationship with my younger sibling. She doesn't forget anything and often brings up the past. I am still working on trying to be kind because all dad ever wanted was "good health" and for his "daughters to get along." Your words served as a gentle reminder that perhaps I need to forgive myself for the things I have said so that I can move forward to make peace with her. I suspect that is what my dad would have wanted. Be well. Eileen

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