Mom Jeans, Black Socks, and Other Things You Don’t Want in Your Closet

“It’s happened,” my husband Chris tells me solemnly one afternoon as we’re standing in the kitchen packing for a picnic.


“What’s happened?”


He glances at me sheepishly. Pushes the picnic basket aside and hoists his tennis shoe up onto the countertop, slowly pulling up his pant leg to reveal his ankle like some sort of Victorian bride.


My eyes widen. “Black socks?”


He nods. “The only thing left would be the sandals,” he says sadly, putting his leg back down.


“But why?” is all I can think to ask.


He shrugs, putting a few napkins into the picnic basket. “They’re actually quite comfortable.”


My husband and I had been worrying about this day. We made a pact, when we were about 25, that we were not going to do “old people” things. We were always going to dress cool, talk cool, be cool. We were not going to wear elastic-waist jeans or colored socks. We were going to be hip. Forever.


Our plan began slipping, of course, only a few years later, when we began approaching our 30s. Continue reading


“Wow,” says my little guy as I come downstairs, “you look be-yoo-ti-ful, Mom.”

I clonk down the last few steps in my high heels. Adjust my work blouse. Blush. “Thank you,” I tell him. And then I go in the kitchen and calmly revel.

My son just turned nine, although he’s very small and I think of him as younger. Plus he’s the youngest child, which sticks him with a certain “baby-state” status, I suppose.

I listen as he goes back to his morning program – Full House or something – and stir my oatmeal. I add the blueberries in. Put down my spoon. Revel again.


Deep sigh. …

I figure I have another five or six months of such gushing. Maybe eight, maybe nine. I recall fifth grade as being a huge turning point with my older son, so I’ve got about eight months until then.

My oldest son used to think I looked like the Columbia Pictures icon. When he was about three, we’d all be sitting on the couch, watching City Slickers or some such thing, and the Columbia music would come on. The iconic goddess would fall into her place – looking a little like the Statue of Liberty, or something, only with redder hair. Now I guess this would be a good place to mention that I – under no circumstances whatsoever – look like any kind of goddess, red hair or otherwise. I don’t have stature. I don’t wear robes. I don’t carry a torch. And yet, to a 3-year-old who loved me, I guess I did. “It’s Mommy,” he would say, pointing to the screen, looking to his father for verification. My husband always had the decency not to laugh.

So this morning I make oatmeal, stirring the blueberries in. And I think about my boys, and how I get to be a goddess for a few short years – maybe eight, maybe nine. …

You spend all of your teens, and even some of your 20s, hoping a handsome man will tell you that you look beautiful. But no one tells you that the comment you’ll hang onto forever – the one you’ll start to mourn – is the unsolicited one coming from your little guys, four feet tall, when they’re missing eyeteeth and have cowlicks in their hair. …

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