I t was that time of year again and business was booming. Baruch Hashem, of course, but that also meant I needed to help with the family business.

My father owns a flower shop. On ordinary days, that doesn’t impact my life significantly, (aside from the money I can or cannot spend). But come Erev Shavuos, the store takes center stage in our lives.

In honor of Matan Torah, every chassan and kallah must send a flower arrangement to their mechutanim and future bubbies and zeidies. Families order bouquets for their Yom Tov table. There are around six hundred budgets, tastes, deliveries and pickups, cards and phone calls, bowls and vases, demands and expectations. We deal with nice people and not such nice people. Relaxed customers and others who are not so. Some clients continuously follow up on their orders, some swipe their card and go… In short — it’s chaotic. Hence, my story.

I flipped my hair this way and that. A twist, a clip, a flick — all set. The figure in the mirror got a once over, then a twice over. Once approved, she disappeared to step into her shoes.

“Bye, Mommy. I’ll be going now. All you want me to bring you before I start working is a nine-inch-round-pan?”

She didn’t even hear what I said, giving me the mommy look.

“Now, you hold off for one minute! What kind of pajamas are you wearing? You can’t go out like that!”

“What’s wrong with it?” I protested. “If I’m going to work in Tatty’s store, I have to wear practical clothing. It’s very likely my clothes will get dirty.”

“It doesn’t matter; you won’t get dirty. You can’t wear this shmatte.”

Not again! We had this argument yesterday as well. I suppose yesterday’s tee was not too bad-looking if it didn’t meet up with as much resistance as today’s did.

My mother was already inside my closet, selecting my cutest skirt. Shortcuts were never allowed — even if I was going to help my father in his crowded workshop before Shavuos.

“If you get it stained, I’ll have it professionally cleaned. Please do me a favor and wear this.” She held out the skirt she had picked and promptly resumed her post at the ironing board.

Although I was officially “not going out yet” and still in college, I was already 18. It was the perfect time to establish my name as a well-dressed, put-together young lady. And on that point my mother was not willing to compromise. Underdressing at my stage was scandalous.

No, I am not the kind of person who doesn’t care how others view me. I definitely take my time primping in front of the mirror, but I didn’t think it important to always be in kallah-meidel attire. Comfort is more my style. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 709)