The Linebacker’s New Clothes
Fri, 2016-08-05 05:00 News Staff
Renae Brumbaugh Green
-- Coffee Talk --
The man-child is now a high school freshman, which doesn’t seem possible since, in my mind, he’s still four. But school records and the fact that he now towers over me both indicate that yes, he’s growing up.
Unfortunately his taste in clothing, in my opinion, hasn’t progressed at the same speed as his height. Call me what you will, I do have a desire for my young man to look sharp. One of these days, he’ll need a job, and he’ll need to make a good impression on a potential boss. This is in direct opposition to his desire to wear nylon athletic wear for every occasion.
He doesn’t even care if it’s clean or not. To him, the smell of sweaty gym socks only adds to his manly aura.
He needs an intervention.
So, good mom that I am (or attempt to be,) I decided to do a little clothes shopping.
Don’t judge. Last time I took him shopping, he refused to try on anything except elastic-waist shorts and t-shirts with logos that said stuff like “Shout Out to the Sidewalk for Keeping Me Off the Streets,” and “Fresh.” Which are fine, I guess, as long as that’s not the extent of your wardrobe. And as a disclaimer, I will let him choose a couple new things for himself before school starts. I just wanted to get ahead of the game.
I’ve tried this experiment once before. I bought him some clothes . . . and I started simple. Cargo shorts and solid-colored or striped t-shirts, instead of the silly sayings. He turned his nose up at them, swore he’d never wear them, and finally relented. After receiving compliments from members of the fairer (and better smelling) gender, he decided cargo shorts might be tolerable.
So I figured, since it all ended well last time, I’d try it again. I hit the end-of-summer clearance sales and scored some great deals on impressive, brand-name school shorts, jeans, and nice t-shirts. By nice, I mean, they’re still t-shirts. I’m hoping to pass through polo-style shirts somewhere around the middle of sophomore year, and graduate him to button-downs by the time he’s a senior. It’s all in the plan . . . I’ll keep you posted.
But when I presented him with the new clothes, he gave me a blank stare. Then he said, “Mom, could you take me with you next time? I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I’ll never wear those. Not in a million years.”
I don’t know what I expected. But that hurt my feelings way more than it should have.
Fortunately, the woman child was present, and as a big-sister-college-student, she has me beat by a long mile in the cool factor. She stepped in and said, “Why don’t you try them on? I actually think they look nice. I’d go out with you, if you wore those clothes . . . and I were five years younger . . . and you weren’t my brother.”
He gave her that don’t-make-me-gag-I’d-never-go-out-with-mysister look, picked up the stack of clothes, and went to his room. And thus ensued what I like to call, “The Reluctant Model Fashion Extravaganza.”
He’d try on a set of clothes, schlump out to show us, and I’d try very hard to keep my mouth shut while his sister told him how attractive he was. She even promised, if he’d let me buy him a pair of Tom’s or Sperry’s, she’d let him drive her car.
And bit by bit, she worked her magic. By the end of the show, he’d decided the clothes might not be that bad after all. He might wear them. Once.
As frustrating as his lack of fashion growth is to me, I can’t judge. I’m just as resistant to growth and change, in so many areas of my life.
When presented with new opportunities to stretch out of my comfort zone, I look at God and say, “Next time, please consult me. I’d never do that. Not in a million years.”
That’s when He patiently urges me to just take a crack at it. It might not be so bad. And reluctantly, I dip my toe in the water of change . . . and eventually I’m reminded that if God picked it out for me, it’s probably a good fit. I might as well try it . . . once.
Change isn’t comfortable for me, but without it, I’d never grow. I’d be stuck in emotional and spiritual nylon athletic wear, when I could be wearing Gucci and Prada.
But I’ll never get there if I’m not willing to stretch outside my cozy box and attempt something new and different. Not everything will be a perfect fit, but I’ll never know if I don’t try.
And to show my willingness to embrace new things, I think I’ll go shopping today.
“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved,” Matthew 9:17.