Several days ago, a coworker handed me a lovely pair of red corduroy pants to try on as she was trying to size up which of us ladies in the office might best fit into them. She was giving them away! They are a beautiful shade of red and might be perfect for me to wear in November when I get to play Christmas Elf at our local resort where we set up Christmas trees and decorations every year.
The day that she handed me those pants was completely hijacked by my son’s depression and the pants left, forgotten at the office. After visiting my him tonight, I came home and started my bed time routine. The red pants were laying across my bed, as I had brought them home today so they didn’t spend the weekend on my desk. I put them on and was completely overwhelmed with joy as they fit very nicely. There is not a lot that feels worse than finding such a pretty thing and not being able to sausage yourself into it.
Happy with my new red corduroy pants, I went to fold them and put them in my closet for this fall. As I was folding them, I ran my hand on the material and I was taken way back, way back in my memory to as I choose to recall, my first day of school. My dad was a Preacher in a small town in Kentucky. His very first church out of Seminary. We lived in a little house in the middle of no-where, surrounded by farms and cow pastures.
All that we had was supplied by the Church. My parents didn’t have a lot, but they did possess a Sears charge card. I am fairly certain my parents paid monthly on this early debt for most of their adult lives.
I was just listening to NPR this week, as someone was talking about how Sears is desperately struggling in this time of Amazon, Costco and Home Depot and how they sold their “rights” to Land’s End and their Craftsman tool line. Sears built it’s reputation building small stores throughout rural America. Coincidence to hear any news of Sears, but none the less dots, I like to connect the tiny details in my week.
I am a tactile person. I like the feel of a super soft t-shirt, the swish of a taffeta skirt when I walk with purpose, the weight and weave of a big bulky sweater, and the interestingly enough, the tuft of corduroy.
The feeling of these new pants sparked a memory of a pair of burnt orange corduroy pants, Sears Tough Skins to be exact, and my first day of school. I recall my Mom telling me I was very excited for my first day of school, but I believe I have always been an anxious being and the stress of getting on a bus all by myself and traveling into town to school with strangers was very overwhelming. Most of my clothes were homemade, so they were not tight or restrictive. These pants were truly tough and to be honest, I have never truly handled buttons around my belly with ease. For most of my life, I had to wear a belt as I did not have hips and pants slid right off. But synching a belt on tight “enough”, or excessively tight as to prove a point to my Mom (as I am finally willing to concede was probably more the issue than the rigidity of the pants) made my stomach hurt really, really bad. I am certain my Mom had not mentioned to our pediatrician that I was a difficult child who was super difficult about eating, following direction, or handling and maneuvering change and new situations. It just wasn’t talked about 40 years ago.
So, my first day of school as best I can remember went something like this. I didn’t like the ugly, tight, rough orange pants and didn’t want to wear them to school. I am certain the triangle top my Grandmother had sewn me that absolutely did not cover my boobies was much more comfortable, along with the elastic waist band shorts that matched the top. While I feel my Mom’s struggle, to keep me from getting sent home for being inappropriately dressed my very first day of school, she was raising a very strong willed being, who had decided those orange corduroy pants would not be rubbing my belly all day.
It seems I got myself so worked up that I accidentally vomited on my new school pants that I didn’t want to freakin’ wear to school. I have no recollection of what she put in me in at the last moment to push my ass onto that school bus, but I don’t remember being yelled at or made to pay for my defiance.
As a Mom who is struggling with a child who is struggling, I can only imagine what raising me was like.
Tonight, sitting on the floor, across from my son with his big brown eyes telling me about how he has struggled through his day starting with not sleeping well, to his pants slipping down as he doesn’t have a belt to keep them up and having to follow stupid rules, I am very certain that for some of us parents, our job is just to keep them clothed, their bellies full of whatever they will eat on any given day and to help them, sometimes shepherd them into the next day.
For most of my life, my experience with brain chemistry issues, as it is now referred to, has been my own rambling path and without help or guidance due to stigma, I have fumbled around to figure out life as a grown up with anxiety and depression.
The other night I was talking to my Mom and told her that I wasn’t sure how she did it, but I was grateful she had helped me reach adulthood, where a huge amount of the “high school” stress and struggle shed off me. She replied she wasn’t sure what the hell she did, as she was dealing with her own issues and struggling to figure out this grown up shit.
Tonight, as I put away my sweet new red corduroy pants for my future, I am praying for grace and guidance that will allow me to see my children find their own perfect, round about, meandering, by route of the long way and school of hard knocks path into the adulthood.
It always delights me when a touch or smell transports me to memories long since forgotten by the hectic pace of being a parent.