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Epiblogue: Mourning hand-me-downs that were ugly until handed down

Submitted by on Tuesday, 2 June 2009 No Comment

hand_me_downOne set is fire-engine red and silky-soft enough to sleep in. The other is gold and blue and could pass for a soccer uniform.

And both set off a pout so prominent Big Guy was in danger of tripping over his lip as he stomped through the house.

“No fair! I want a basketball uniform! I want a soccer uniform!” he wailed.

I suppose a loving, caring mom would have rushed to the nearest retailer to buy similar clothing – never mind that there’s no way on Earth I’m going to be able to locate West Virginia University apparel on the West Coast.

But there are times when the cold, hard facts are the only path in the face of poutiness. I opted for Mean Mom instead.

“You had a basketball uniform and a soccer uniform – these both were yours. You never wore them.”

“But I want to wear them now!” he countered.

Chances are, he would not.

Both sets entered Big Guy’s dresser, if not his life, as he turned 3. They were a little big, so they hung around for two summers, unworn because anything that didn’t cover him from wrist to ankles was suspect.

It took until May that year for him to agree to¬† shirts without “sleeves that go all the way down.” He’s worn shorts exactly twice in the past three summers, and both times because it was 100+ degrees at soccer practice time and I insisted.

He’ll happily spend most of the day in his swim trunks, but when it comes time to get ready for school, jeans it is. He came close to giving in a few days ago – “You know, maybe shorts aren’t so bad,” he said after a day in the pool – but once again caved in the face of strictly imaginary peer pressure.

“What if people make fun of me?” he asked Saturday.

“Why would they do that? C wears shorts all the time and no one laughs at him, do they?”

“No, but …”

By Sunday, I was pulling summer hand-me-downs out of the garage and there was no “but.” He had to wear shorts right now, rushing to his room to cram himself into the two sizes too small basketball ensemble.

“See!” he said. “It fits! I can have it back.”

And I suppose it did fit if you don’t mind a day-long wedgie. I was tempted to let him find that out at school the next day, but there are some torture techniques even I oppose. “No, hon, it doesn’t fit. Let’s put it back in your brother’s drawer.”

Boots, meanwhile, scampered happily through out the house thanking me profusely. “I’m so happy you bought all these new clothes just for me! I love them! You’re a good mommy!”

As if that delusion didn’t make me feel guilty enough, Big Guy had to make sure Boots was clear on where the clothes came from.

“No, she didn’t buy them for you. They were mine first,” he glared.

Boots ignored him. “I’m going to wear the basketball tonight. Can I sleep in it?”

“When can I have a basketball uniform,” Big Guy interjected.

“After you start wearing all the other shorts that are in your drawer,” I said.

I’m counting on not having to make that purchase this summer.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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