Monday, March 2, 2009

Sisterhood of the Unraveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Unraveling Pants

Why is it that sometimes I think my youngest daughter is raising me instead of the other way around? With a 10-year age difference between my oldest and youngest daughters, Christine has practically been an only child because her older sisters have been out of the house for so long.

Although the stereotypical "only child" has been portrayed as spoiled, pampered and selfish, I can vouch for the fact this is not true.

Case in point, "the ripped pants."

"Honey, do you have to wear those ripped pants?" I looked at my daughter, shaking my head.

"But I like these pants, Mom. They're comfortable." She proceeded to pack her backpack for school, ignoring my exasperated sighs and rolling eyes.

"The teachers are going to think you don't have any good pants to wear." I tried turning on my pleading voice.

"But I do have good pants, Mom; they're just not as comfortable." She walked into the bathroom to pull her long hair up into a ponytail.

"What will your friends say? They are going to make fun of you because you have a big hole in your pants."

"But I don't care what my friends say. If they make fun of me, then they weren't friends to begin with." She turned on the water and started brushing her teeth.

"What about the dress code? I don't want to be called to school to bring you a decent pair of pants." I was running out of objections, but I didn't want her wearing those pants to school.

"But the dress code says you can't have holes on the butt of your pants. They don't want us showing our underwear. It doesn't say anything about holes in the knees." She rinsed her mouth and headed for the front door.

"But honey, I just don't want you wearing those pants!" I knew my voice had gotten forceful, but I couldn't help it.

"Why Mom? Are you worried about me, or are you embarrassed for yourself?"

I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at my daughter with different eyes.

"Mom, these pants are comfortable. I'm not wearing them to make a statement. I'm not wearing them to upset my teachers. I'm not wearing them because of my friends. I'm not wearing them to go against the dress code. And I'm certainly not wearing them to make you mad. You're a great mother! You shouldn't worry so much about what other people think of you." With her speech complete, she kissed me on the cheek, threw her backpack over one shoulder and headed out the door to the bus stop.

I was dumbfounded. I suddenly realized I was more worried about what people thought of me. I was afraid her ripped pants would be a bad reflection on me. I was going against everything I had ever tried to teach her.

Out of the mouths of babes.

(Edited to add: this post appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Tuesday, March 17, 2009)

1 comment:

  1. Ah, life lessons... As one of those students who got sent home for wearing hip hugger bell bottom pants and a polka dot shirt to school I can see where the daughter is coming from and I learned this lesson early on. I try not to critize young people for what they wear, but I do, however, object to some of the styles. Like, the pants hanging down and the boxer shorts exposed. It drives me nuts to see these guys mostly, but some girls too, always tugging at their pants to keep them from falling down around their knees. I am not sure what the statement is in this style and maybe if I understoond it, I might be able to tolerate it more (but I doubt it)... I love ripped jeans, by the way... got a few pair myself and talk about objecting... I imagine some of the young people out there object to an old man grooving in thier style. Oh, and I bet they are saying (yuck, grooving!)... Maybe this is a good lesson for all of us.. thanks Bobbi.


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