Six weeks ago, as I was cleaning out my daughter, Molly’s closet, I found an old pair of my pajamas stuffed in the back.
“Weird,” I thought. I threw them back into the giveaway box where I had put them a month earlier.
Two days later the pajamas were back on her shelf.
“What gives?” I thought.
I bought those pajamas, along with a matching pair for Molly, as a Valentine’s Day gift 6 years ago, when I was pregnant with her brother. She and I wore them these past 6 years, sometimes together, sometimes not, until I realized that mine were too big and hers, too small.
It is something I do: buy matching clothes for my family. I don’t mean the classic matching sweaters for the family Christmas card photo. I am just not hip enough (do people still use that word?) to hang with Jimmy Fallon. Anyway, I prefer the day to day items, shirts, jammies and such.
If you asked me about it before now, I really couldn’t explain it. I didn’t even think about it.
I asked Molly about the pajamas. Her answer, “I just want them. They make me feel good.”
You know what? They make me feel good too.
I guess rumbling around in the back of my head, and the reason that Molly loves it too, is that matching with each other on the outside reflects how we match on the inside. My husband, my kids, and I are a team. Every day. They belong to me. I belong to them.
In these past almost 7 years with kids, and the 8 years prior without, we’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, how to divide up labor, to resolve conflicts, to cooperate, and to respect each other’s individuality. Any good team works toward those goals, right?
My kids are very young now and we spend a lot of time together. But I can already see, when Molly asks to get a few items on the grocery list on her own, and orders her own food at the restaurant, and, especially, when she grabs the phone and runs upstairs (out of earshot) to talk with Nana or Aunt Patty in private, that we won’t be together like this forever. Nor should we be.
As my kids get more and more independent, I’m hopeful that the lessons learned from being on their first team, and the memories and feelings associated with them, will carry them through thick and thin.
So, I will always buy matching clothes or accessories for my kids. More than anything else, I hope they remind them of these special times. Plus, can you fault me for wanting to send along an extra shirt in their bag? I’m still their mom.