So I bring the sweater dress I bought a few years ago to my dear old Italian tailor for hemming.

“I no hem for you,” she says matter-of-factly when I step out of the dressing room.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“No,” she says. “Short enough.”

Now I’m laughing, recalling the time I brought her pants to be hemmed and she wouldn’t hem them because they didn’t look good on me.

“Really?” I say.

“You no 16,” she says, cracking herself up.

I take another look in the mirror and realize she just might be right. The dress comes to the knee.

Then I try on a top I want to be taken in.

“Now this is too big,” she says, pinning in the sides.

I don’t think I need to get on a therapist’s couch to realize I have found a version of my mother 50 miles from the real one. Makes me laugh the whole two blocks home.