The Red Sweater (Or Absence Thereof)

by Cindy Palin

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I was driving home from a delivery when I saw her.  Long, dark, curly hair knotted at her neck, jean jacket that looked two sizes too small, and a hint of red sweater, just not enough to cover the bare roll above her belt-line. It gave me a tummy-ache just wondering how she could breathe, let alone move her arms, and not to mention the goose bumps. I almost thought she was wearing a white life buoy and that certainly was the message that came across. “Save me!” 

I don’t think she was trying to send that message, but she did.  “Save me from college,” “save me from my third grade wardrobe,” “save me from my poor laundry habits,” or just “help, save me!”

It took all the control I could muster not to pull over and throw a blanket around her - at least until I could find Stacy and what’s his name from What Not To Wear.  It reminds me of the time I saw a friend’s daughter crossing the street mid January in her flip-flops.  I wanted to report her for blue toes, but nobody gets arrested for that.

I pulled onto the highway, turned towards home, and determined right then and there to write my kids a “letter of thanks.” 

"Thank you for wearing clothes that fit. With the exception of the one time my son put on a neon bodysuit as a joke in the figure skating locker room. Oh, and the time he modeled his grandmother’s Hawaiian muumuu at his sixteenth birthday party while singing “I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain (it was karoake-themed).  

Thank you, girls, for not wearing necklines past your navel like certain reality tv stars whose names start with a K. (Since I don’t like what she represents, why should I mention her name?)

  • Thanks girls, for thinking for yourselves, dressing to bring attention to your brains and not your curves, and for NOT getting on the “stupid” bandwagon.

 

  • Thanks kids, for wearing clean clothes to church and not insisting on having a new outfit every time Christmas or Easter rolls around.

 

  • Thank you for buying generic cltohes instead of brand names, at least for the most part.

 

  • Thank you for wearing socks and shoes in the middle of winter, even if the socks don’t always match and even if it means stealing your parents socks.

 

  • Thank you for packing winter coats in the car for long drives in case of inclement weather, even if you don’t wear them.

 

  • Thank you for NOT going “commando” - well, practically never, except maybe at home while you’re waiting for clothes to dry in the dryer.

 

  • Thank you for knowing how to do your laundry (with the exception of one of you, ahem, who thinks Downey does it all. If you reading this, remember - you do have to use soap first).

 

I can’t save the masses from dressing like streetwalkers or in clothes that would fit a two-year-old, but I can take the time to celebrate my children and their choices.  They continue to make me proud.  Now just watch, chances are they’ll read this and show up at Christmas wearing red sweaters they stole off some Barbie or Ken doll.

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