She took her last stitch and knotted the thread, sewing complete. Wearily she rubbed a hand across her eyes and glanced out the window. It would be dawn soon—time to wake the girls and start out for Easter services.
She looked at the newly finished dresses hanging from the kitchen doorjamb. They were miniatures of the dress she’d planned to make for herself—tiny, light blue frocks, pearl buttons and a bit of lace at the collars. She’d been up all night, racing the sun. And now, just in time, they were done.
Sadie slipped into the bathroom, turned the faucet handle and splashed water onto her face, not waiting for it to warm. The cold sent a shock through her beleaguered system, driving the sleeplessness of the night away. She gently took the twin dresses and carried them to the room—no more than a closet, really—where her girls slept.
“Happy Easter, Jill,” she said softly, touching both girls on their shoulders. “Happy Easter, Jan.”
The girl’s eyelids fluttered slowly. Jill, as usual, was the first to sit up. “Happy Easter, Ma—“ she started, but froze when she saw the garments.
She kicked Jan, who muttered complaint and opened her eyes. Immediately the younger girl scrambled to her knees, leaning against her mother, gawking at the dresses. “Are those for us?” she breathed.
“Well,” Sadie laughed, “they’re certainly not for me!”
The girls clambered out of the bed, examining the dresses without touching.
“They’re too beautiful to wear!” Jan cried, clasping her hands in front of her.
Jill’s eyes narrowed as she looked more closely. “Where’d they come from?”
“I made them.”
“Oh, Mama!” Jan gushed. “They’re so lovely! They’re so—“
“Where’d you get the fabric?” Jill’s dark eyes darted from her mother’s face to the dresses and back.
Sadie smiled gently at her oldest. Since the beginning of the Depression, with Eugene gone, she’d gotten too smart, she thought, too old. “My mother sent it,” she answered simply.
“For you!” Jill cried loudly, almost angrily. “That dress fabric was for you!”
“Oh, Mama, no!” Jan touched her mother’s arm, sadness and concern in her eyes. “That was for your birthday dress…”
“That’s what Grandma said, “Jill added sharply. “That was supposed to be a dress for you! You haven’t had a new dress since…” she blinked, “since Daddy died.”
“Grandma just wanted you to be happy again,” Jan whispered.
Sadie hugged her girls close to her, letting the dresses fall to the rumpled bedclothes. From her shoulder Jill’s muffled voice rose in protest. “She said she sent the fabric so you could make the dress just the way you wanted it! She said it wasn’t for us! She told you that in her letter.”
“I know, I know,” Sadie said. “But when I got to thinking about what would make me the happiest I knew it would be seeing my two angels walking into church on Easter Sunday in these.”
“But Mama—“ Jan started.
She interrupted them both. “Grandma would understand.”
The girls looked doubtful.
“This day is all about Jesus and what He did for us. He gave of Himself so we could have something we could never get without Him.” She looked for Jan to Jill.
“Salvation,” the older supplied.
“That’s right. And these dresses aren’t’ anything like what He gave us, but it’s my way of saying I love you, just the same.”
Jill slowly nodded.
Jan smiled. “I love you, too, Mama.”
“Well then,’ Sadie smiled, “let’s go to breakfast, and then there’s only one thing left to do before we go.”
“What?” the girls chorused.
Sadie held the dresses up for the girls to see. “Try them on!”
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