Last week the stars aligned for me on a bright, Wednesday afternoon when I actually heeded the alarms of my phone apprising me of the perfect time to depart in order to pick up my kids at our pickup spot. At long last, I wouldn’t be the last parent there, witnessing my kids’ sad, little faces wondering if their mother had forgotten them. I kid, my children love it when I’m late because it means they get to run amuck a bit longer. Well I mean, they either love it or are so accustomed to it that they’ve learned to recognize this silver lining with their bright attitudes. Raising kids with such grand abilities to make sweet lemonade when their mother is constantly handing them lemons is obviously my entire goal when I’m tardy to pickup (wink, wink). Anyway, that’s hardly the point, back to this sunny Wednesday when I was uncharacteristically early for pickup.
So there I am, parked at the curb where I and a dozen other mothers usually pickup our kids after school. I’m watching, with a faint but pleasant smile curling my lips as school kids begin to stream out in busy and chatty little clumps of after-school energy. They giggle, they run, they jump, they fall randomly and unnecessarily and there’s always that one kid whacking everyone with his backpack and that one girl who can’t seem to hold onto her bag and coat at the same time. I chuckle at the boy who runs down the sidewalk screaming like a banshee for no apparent reason and then roll my eyes and try not to roll down my window and yell at the kids who are abusing the lone and barely thriving tree in the grass. With an annoyed sigh I turn my eyes to a boy and a girl walking together lazily and my eyebrows pinch up a little as I take in their bedraggled appearance. The girls’ pink shirt is dirty and stained, the boy’s shoelaces are loose and dragging and both children have holes in their pants—pants with hems that barely brush the tops of their mismatched socks. Yikes, their mother must be out of town…she must have been out of town for the last 3 months by the looks of those too-short pants. Oh and look at that, the little girl’s hair is sagging and her bow has almost fallen out while the boy drags his hammered backpack on the ground.
Now wait just a minute, I recognize that precariously hanging bow and that limp backpack. I suck in a breath as I realize, these bedraggled children are in fact MINE and I have definitely not been out of town. I gape at their flood-like pants as my older son catches up to them and I see that his pants are just as sad. Holes are everywhere and—is that a missing button on my younger son’s pants?!! How did this happen? When did they grow so much? How have I not noticed the state of their clothing when they were leaving the house each morning?! Who’s idea was it to let me be a mother?!!!
I look around in horror, wondering if anyone else has noticed and is pitifully shaking their heads at these sad, clearly parentless children. When I look closer at the other passing children however, I notice that my kids are not alone in the state of their clothing. There are many stained shirts as I look around, and short and holey pants are abundant, with shoes that are barely hanging on. Everyone needs some new school clothes!
The problem is—and I’m faced with it every year, but every year it hits me anew—it’s nearly springtime and I don’t want to have to purchase new cold-weather clothes for the last few weeks of cold weather when my kids will have grown out of those newly purchased clothes by the end of summer anyway! What to do?!
This is why, last Wednesday on that bright and sunny afternoon I pulled my my LTTP aside for a consultation while the kids had their snacks. I flipped to the “Back to School” section for next year. I found the “Shopping List” page and wrote myself a note,
Dearest Danielle’, you’re looking lovelier than ever I see, who knew that was even possible? However, this year, buy everyone 1-2 pairs of pants and shirts that are a size bigger than the rest to get us through next spring without looking homeless. Also, opt for those pricier shoes this year, you know they’ll last longer! Also, learn to habitually pick up the kids on time woman!
I’m convinced this will solve our end-of-the-school-year-wardrobe-crises next year. As for this year? Just hang tight everyone, summer is almost here and then you can burn—or repurpose—those wrecked articles of clothing!