Before I tell you anything else, I wanted to let you know that God’s Will’s cat scans (or as my youngest son mistakenly prayed about yesterday, his “scat cans”) were CLEAR!! Woo hoo! Not today, cancer. Not today.
It’s my friend Ralph’s Favorite Stories Week here at Snoodlings. This is another story that doesn’t paint in me in the best possible light, which is why, most likely, it’s one of Ralph’s favorites.
Besides the one and only Ruby Jane, Ralph and his wife have two other children. Their youngest, Jesse, is a couple of years younger than my youngest. He’s going to be an astronaut when he grows up and he’s almost as precious as my own kids. When my youngest son outgrows his clothes, I pass them on to Jesse. This may sound weird, but I am emotionally attached to many outfits that my children have worn over the years. Getting rid of their clothes that are too small is very emotional for me. I attach memories to certain things they wore. When they can’t wear a special shirt anymore, I mourn the loss of an age they’ll never be again. But when I pass clothes on to Jesse, it’s like the clothes get new life. When I see him wearing something that my boys wore, I feel happy and relive the good memories. Again, let’s not dwell on the fact that I may have issues that need addressing.
Jesse loves getting the clothes from his friends, “the big boys,” so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. In fact, he expects to get clothes from our family on a fairly regular basis. One day his mom and I were talking and she told me that during a recent cold snap, Jesse was wearing a coat that I’d passed down to him last year and he was wearing a bulky sweater under it. He was uncomfortable because the coat felt a little snug across his shoulders and through his arms. He looked at his mom with disgust and said, “We need to tell Ms. Amy (he doesn’t call me Whimzie) I need a new coat!” We laughed, but his story reminded me that I had another coat one size larger that my boys couldn’t wear anymore. I told Tanya that I’d get the coat to her when our girls had ballet practice that week. I pulled it out of the attic and put it in our coat closet, which is also the receptacle for all the things that need to leave our house (library books, purchases that need to be returned, Jesse’s coat).
Since I had the coat where I should remember to take it with me, I of course walked out the door and went to ballet practice without it. When I saw Jesse wearing last year’s coat, I remembered that I had forgotten to bring the coat like I’d promised.
“Oh, Jesse, I’m sorry! I forgot to bring the coat.” And just as the words were coming out of my mouth, I happened to look over and realized that my youngest son was wearing the coat that I’d pulled out to give to Jesse.
You need to understand that my youngest son doesn’t really like to wear socks, shoes or outerwear. When I make the “everyone-put-on-your-socks-shoes-and-coat-call” before we walk out the door, he will almost always wait until the second that the rest of us are getting into the car to decide that he will participate in that group activity. In his rush, he will grab whatever shoes and wrap he happens to find in the coat closet. He has been seen in public wearing his big brother’s shoes that are at least three sizes too big. He has tried to use his favorite blanket in place of an actual jacket. He has even attempted to wear my shoes, but I was alerted to his choice by the sound of him tripping down the stairs on the way out of the house and was therefore able to force him to go back and find his own shoes.
So, yes, the coat he had on at ballet practice was too small, but without thinking of how it might appear to the others in the room who didn’t know that my son had another coat at home that fit him perfectly, I called my son over to me and said, “Hey, take off your coat so I can give it to Jesse.” I think he gave one “But, Mom,” but I was already pulling the coat off of his body to give it to my friend’s child. And because my son has a flair for the dramatic at times, he shivered and slunk into a corner as if he were being punished. Like we were doing a production of Oliver Twist and he had the lead.
In my defense, we live in the South. It wasn’t that cold outside. And I’d parked directly in front of the studio’s entrance so he wasn’t going to have to trudge through the frozen tundra to get to our car. But I guess it looked a little strange. And perhaps cruel. But I really didn’t think about how it must have looked until I was talking to Tanya on the phone later and Ralph asked for the phone so he could ask me, “So you really just made your kid take off his coat and hand it over to my son and your kid walked out with nothing?”
Well, when you put it like that. But it’s not like he was wearing his swimsuit, for crying out loud!
My friend Ralph. Making me feel like a failure as a mom and a person since 2004. I can’t wait to hear what he has planned for me to tell you tomorrow.