Our son’s wardrobe is mostly Dri-Fit T-shirts (and their knockoffs) and gym shorts. The only slacks and collared shirts in his closet are his school uniform.
But I couldn’t send him off for his yearbook photo looking like he’s ready for basketball practice. Our son’s school asks students to dress up and not wear jeans for their photos.
The day before he was to smile at the camera I got this: “Mom, I want a green Dri-Fit collared shirt for picture day.”
“Why green? And what if it’s not Dri-Fit?”
“Because, I’m feeling the color green, and if it’s Dri-Fit it will dry faster after I sweat at recess.”
I don’t have a magic wand, but I’m nice enough to at least attempt to find what he wants. With the boys at the park playing baseball, I went off alone on a mission to find this shirt.
I always start at Kohl’s; 90 percent of the time I can find something that works there, and the store is always having a sale. I wasn’t going to pay a lot of money for something he’ll only wear a few times.
Our son is in between the largest kid size and an adult small, so after no luck in the boys’ section I strolled on over to the men’s. I browsed clearance first.
There was a blue-ish green knit collared shirt. No. An orange Dri-Fit collared shirt. No. A dark army-green Dri-Fit collared shirt. Not the right green, I was told after texting a photo.
Just when I thought trusty ol’ Kohl’s was going to let me down, there it was.
In between the oddball things you find on the clearance rack (like old-retired-man-Hawaiian shirts) was a bright green, adult small Dri-Fit-ish collared shirt. And the best part … it was reduced to $13!
“Hey, I found what you are looking for,” I called and told him. “It’s not Nike or Adidas, but it’s exactly what you asked for.”
“I don’t care if it’s not Nike, Mom.”
Our son isn’t adamant that he wears name brand clothing. Sure, he’s got some Under Armour, Nike and EvoShield stuff. But he also has Target and Walmart brands he wears almost daily. I put my foot down on a few things, like those ridiculously priced North Face jackets. No way, not paying that, and he knows not to ask.
It could be that’s he still too young to care. Or maybe it’s that he wears the same thing as everyone else at school. Or maybe, just maybe, we’ve taught him that a swoosh doesn’t mean you’ll jump higher or run faster.
Whatever the case, I’ll ride that train as long as I can.
I can remember a few times as a kid I wanted the name-brand stuff really bad. I talked my parents into getting me one of those stupid, expensive, puffy Starter coats. I wasn’t into professional basketball, but everyone had one. I went mostly by color. The Charlotte Hornets won me over with their cute little mascot and purple and blue-green colors.
I get it, when you’re young you want to fit in and be on trend. Eventually I grew out of wanting or caring about what everyone else had.
I hope we can pass on to our son the importance of being humble and not going through life thinking you have to impress others.
In the meantime, we’ll get him what he needs and, every so often, what he wants. Within reason, of course.