I spent Saturday shopping for dress clothes with my son. Homecoming is in two weeks, and I knew he’d need a new dress shirt and blazer. I bought him dress khakis in late June and they were a little long at the time, but when he tried them on Saturday morning they ended somewhere mid-calf. Add that to the list.
We went to Macy’s. Generally, I hate Macy’s. Everything is always on sale, so it’s hard to tell whether I’m overpaying. I think the answer is yes. It’s also disorganized. I like my stores tidy. My son, however, feels right at home.
Clearly every other mother in town had the same idea. We gathered by the three-way mirror. Add some Chardonnay and it would have been a great party. I managed to locate a jacket in clearance that didn’t make him look like David Byrne, one pair of 30×32 khakis and two shirts with a small enough neck size that they might not wouldn’t look totally ridiculous. This was harder than it sounds.
My son handed me his wallet for safekeeping and went into the fitting room. I stood in the waiting area with the other moms remembering the good old days when we could cross the Rubicon and just walk into the fitting room with them. Instead, we waited and watched the boys parade in front of the mirror.
After seeing a handful of boys face the mom-guantlet twice, I texted my son.
What is taking you so long? Stop texting Nick and put the shirt on.
He didn’t respond, but came out in his street clothes and shoved an unopened shirt package into my hands. “It took me forever to open the other shirt and it didn’t fit. Do you have any idea how many pins are in this thing? Homecoming is in two weeks. I don’t have time for this.” I told him he better get used to it and started taking out pins myself. He had a stricken look on his face. “I don’t have to fold the other one back up do I?” I toyed with saying yes just to see what he’d do, but I thought it might send him over the edge.
After dealing with the pins, I gave him the shirt, and told him to hand over the phone. He sulked back into the fitting room like he’d been grounded. He emerged after a few minutes. Everything fit him perfectly, and he looked so much like my husband I got all misty. “You look very handsome,” I told him. The other mothers agreed. I could tell he thought so too.
The sales associate rang up the purchase and handed the package to my son. He took it, turned to me, and put out his hand for his phone and wallet. He’d reached his limit. Having a flock of mothers cluck over him didn’t help. “Are we done now?”
I pulled his wallet out of my purse. It’s blue nylon and Velcro and has a Detroit Tigers logo on it. My sister gave it to him. He treasures it, but when I handed it to him I could see in his face that the image of himself as a lady-killer was totally broken by one little detail. “Almost.” I replied.
I took him over to accessories, and after surveying the choices, pulled out a basic black leather wallet. Nothing fancy–enough for his I.D. and cash. “This one, I think.” I put it in his hands.
“Yeah.” He said, and smiled. “This one is nice. Does it come with cash included?”
“Ask me after I’ve forgotten how much we spent today.” We both know the answer is yes, but we’ll banter about it until the morning of the dance. It’s all part of the process. He smiles and says thanks. That isn’t usually part of the process, however, and the bill is already forgotten.
You’re welcome my not-so-little man.
Words by J. B. Everett