Illustration 1: THE SHIRT.
Meet “The Shirt.”
AKA “The Apple Festival t-shirt,” AKA “the Captain Applesauce t-shirt,” AKA “my summer uniform.” (My son’s title for it.)
For about 4-6 years in his early life, my oldest insisted on wearing the same Superman shirt almost every day. My middle boy never did that, but my youngest has attached to himself to this shirt, dating from 1980-something and passed on to us by my mother-in-law. It was threadbare then. Now it’s see-through. With runs.
Folks, this shirt is a size 5T.
My son is coming up on TEN YEARS OLD.
Today, I had him take it off so I could cut his hair, and as I watched the runs stretch, I shook my head and said, “Son, one of these days, you’re going to take that shirt off and it’s going to split right down the middle. And when it does, I want you to say, ‘Shirt, I have loved you well, and you have served me well. Rest in peace.’ “
My son froze. Stared out at nothing for a long moment. Then, he said, “I think maybe I should not wash this shirt anymore. Because it might rip in the wash.”
Illustration 2: THE SOCKS
Half an hour later, I’m coaching the same child through using Zanfel scrub on poison ivy. “Take your socks off,” I said. “And throw them away.”
“WHAT?” he shrieked. “But these are my best socks!”
I got a case of the giggles that lasted a full five minutes.
You know what? I bought a bunch of No Nonsense socks like twenty years ago that are just slightly too short, and I keep waiting for them to wear out so I can get rid of them. They won’t wear out. How does he do this? EVERY WEEK there are 3-5 torn socks in my laundry. I don’t get it.
But I just shrug and say: