At our house, there are a few things that are givens. I can count on these things just as confidently as I can count on the change of seasons.
The first given is that my children will have quite different reactions to the change of season wardrobe. My middle daughter will be on cloud nine, for this is an event she has waited for since the day after all her pants, long sleeved shirts, and jackets were packed away last year. There is something about clothing in a storage bin tucked away that makes them much more desirable than the appropriate season clothing folded neatly in your dresser drawers. She will dance and sing, twirling around as she holds her “new ” clothes against her with glee. She will try on every item and
declare it beautiful, and I will sigh with relief that some items still actually fit.
The next given is that my oldest child will be quite appalled at the thought of parting with her summer clothes. You must understand this is the girl who much prefers animal costumes to princess gowns, dinosaurs to baby dolls, t-shirts to sequins.
She also seems to have absolutely no sense of temperature b/c she wants to wear a t-shirt and shorts even in 20 degree weather. Jeans are too restricting, she says. It’s impossible to sit "criss cross applesauce in pants and anything that even loosely
touches her arms is “too tight”. She will watch mournfully as her t-shirts (all with cartoon animals or logos from chick-fil-a and her school) are packed away and replaced with what I consider cute little girl fall clothes.
She will try in vain to hide a couple pairs of shorts and her favorite shirts, hoping that I won't notice her bare arms and legs when she emerges in the morning for school.
Each evening we put her clothes out on her bed for school the next day. We alternate whose day it is to choose the outfit, b/c frankly I have given up my pre-motherhood dreams of having little girls dressed to the nines. I do draw the line when she chooses a t-shirt that has a ripped collar and faded Texas lizards. Every other day I am allowed to choose something that actually has pleats or, dare I say it, something not available in the little boy’s section of the store. She understands this agreement, though we do have occasional discussions about my choices for the day.
After getting dressed (a process that’s either joyful or filled with sorrow depending on whose day it is to choose), it is time to face the hair brushing scene. The makers of the de-tangle spray we use have stopped selling to anyone but my family because Olivia’s hair alone provides enough business for them. Like every good parent, I turn on the television to distract her while I pull and tug on the tangles that have magically appeared overnight. There will be no hairbows allowed and no headbands. She simply endures the brushing and if I am very lucky, allows something besides a ponytail.
Time for shoes. I find it very strange that the exact pair of shoes that fit so perfectly and were so comfortable in the store somehow morph into objects of torture to my little girl’s feet. She currently has one pair of brown tennis shoes that she wears every single day. This is something I have come to accept and offer only weak resistance on my days to choose her outfit. As these shoes become more and more worn, I am sometimes concerned that a well-meaning, compassionate stranger will offer me money to buy my little girl new shoes.
The Bible tells us to not worry about what we will wear. My daughter seems to grasp this command in ways that amaze me. Vanity is not a demon she wrestles with, and I am grateful. I am learning to put less emphasis on my children’s appearance. And actually, if you see my child in public wearing a ratty t-shirt with jelly stains and her good ‘ol brown tennis shoes, her hair obviously not brushed and a big smile on her face, you can smile knowing that I am in the middle of a lesson in sanctification that day. Either that or I didn’t catch her before we got out the door.