It’s one of those mornings. Everything was going swimmingly. I was up early. Lunches were made before the kids had risen and I was already half a cup of coffee in, before I heard the first door open. Everyone was cheerful. The day was going to be glorious….. until…..
“You can’t wear that to school, put on something nice.”
And that’s where it all went down hill. Apparently my son didn’t just throw this outfit together. This was a thought out strategy. Every mismatched, entirely inappropriate article of clothing had been carefully selected. He didn’t just blindly grasp at his closet in the dark. Each bit of it had some well thought out meaning that I was failing to grasp. And despite all evidence to the contrary, “I secretly yearn to be a hybrid Mariachi-Hobo-Clown” wasn’t what he was going for.
So now the argument starts.
“No” he says.
“I’ll find something nice” I suggest.
“I like this!” he counters.
“Please don’t do this” I beg.
“YOU DON’T DO THIS” he bellows.
After more back and forth than I’d care to get into, I reach a point where the argument is just not worth it. Time is running short and let’s face it, who am I to deny him his personal artistic expression. He’s going to wear whatever he wants today and I’ll have to just simply endure the judgement from other passersby, crossing guards and the faculty.
But then I realize that the the only people I will see this morning are almost exclusively other parents who have undoubtedly gone through this same exact struggle at some point. They too have argued about states of dress and have also despairingly conceded defeat. I know that they must be wondering what the other parents might think of them. From my perspective, upon seeing kids dressed alarmingly like blind hipsters on festival day, I think to myself “looks like that kid dressed himself.” Simple. No judgement. Just complete understanding for, and solidarity with my fellow progenitor. Just the other day I saw my friend Rebecca on the walk to school, her son, decked head to toe in grey sweats, looked like a gym teacher from 1983. She suggested we make pins that indicate when a child has dressed him/herself.
Since it would never occur to me that the parents are behind this affront to fashion, the chances are they are likewise not judging me. Does my son look like a 19th century homeless serf on laundry day? Yes. Yes he does. But from now on I’m not going to bother trying to explain to them the reasons why. They already know. They’ve been there. It’s time for us all to embrace it and skip the apologies. Besides, I’m winning no runway awards in the morning myself. And I’m certainly not apologizing for that.