I had a new experience today. I went shopping with Eldest for clothes. It wasn’t an entirely new experience. I remember taking him to choose himself a t-shirt when he was two. He picked a bright yellow one and proudly told the lady on the counter that now he could look ‘just like Big Bird’. Since then, though, he’s shown very little interest in clothes. He’s happy just to throw on whatever I bring home for him – as long as it’s not cargo pants or a collarless t-shirt. In fact, most of the time he’s made do with hand-me-downs from an older cousin.
Today, though, we were shopping for a special occasion, the Graduation Dinner next week. In past years this has been a grand affair – ball gowns for the girls, suits for the boys. Months ago, when I asked him what colour suit he would want, he grinned at me and said ‘Pink!’, so I was a bit worried. But a few weeks ago it was decided that, given the state of the economy, ‘dressy’ and ‘neat’ would be the only stipulation. Normally, Eldest would have baulked at the very idea of going to a dinner, but this time he has a reason to want to go and, going off the clothes he chose, he’s obviously keen to impress her!
Our town doesn’t have a huge choice in men’s clothing. There’s one clothing store which is relatively expensive, a Target store and two second-hand shops. We started at Target! Miraculously the first pair of black trousers Eldest tried actually fitted him perfectly. I’d had Nanna all lined up to take in whatever we could find to fit his length (sewing machines hate me).
Then, keen to avoid the expensive shop, we moved to the second-hand stores in the hope of finding a jacket. They had some lovely jackets, but they either fitted him across the shoulders , but finished at his elbows, or they fitted his arms, but had shoulder pads that would have been perfect for playing gridiron. In one store though, he saw a waistcoat – black with a royal blue floral design in silk on the front. The first time he walked past it, then he stopped and had a closer look, then he took it off the rack and held it up to his chin.
“I want this instead of a jacket. What do you reckon?”
I bit my tongue as I found myself about to say “It matches your eyes.” (How motherly can you get?) Instead I muttered something about Nanna being able to take it in for him and he proudly took it to the front desk, looking remarkably like the two-year-old with his Big Bird shirt. For four whole dollars I reckoned he couldn’t go wrong.
Into the expensive store now. Here was mum inspecting the nice plain white shirts, or maybe a nice blue? There was Eldest taking a black shirt off the rack and nodding with satisfaction.(More biting of the maternal tongue - what's with all the black?). Then to the ties and a pale blue silk was quickly added to the mix. Together the two cost about three times what the trousers and waistcoat had cost, but I have to say the total package does look rather stunning. If I were the young lady in question, I’d be very impressed!
But I could be a little biased.