I have this hilarious memory of my older brother Joe. He is one of the most humbly intelligent people I know. He has memorized every word he has ever read and as far as I know could learn to do anything if he was determined to do so. Of course with extreme intelligence comes a few short comings in common sense.
I remember Joe, not a morning person at all, would come down the stairs, eyes still closed from grogginess and plop down in his seat to a prepared bowl of cereal, which he would promptly inhale before any of us were allowed to say a word to him.
In this time one of us would most likely find something wrong with Joe’s wardrobe. He generally misplaced something like his shirt was inside out or backward or sometimes both. Sometimes he would accidentally put his pants on backward. There was one time in particular that included a certain younger brothers underwear.
Joe eventually grew out of his dressing habits and I am quite proud to say that he retained his intelligence and has become a sufficiently good dresser.
Yet, because of my past experience with boys and clothes I have a carried a certain prejudice with me through to motherhood. So on Sunday, when we were rushing to get ready for church, I thought it might be a bad idea to ask Andrew to dress Clare while I ran through the shower, brushed my hair and teeth (not with the same tool) and splattered some make up on. I remembered my brother.
I said to myself, “Oh come on Val. Andrew dresses himself every day. He is a grown up. He has a wonderful sense of color and style. He will pick out something lovely for Clare. Maybe even better than you could.”
I passed Clare off to Andrew with specific instructions, as if he couldn’t figure out what to do on his own, and sped in the direction of readiness.
But as I looked closer I saw that the onesie fit differently than I had ever seen before. Then I realized that it was in fact on backward.
“This is on backward.” I said. “Did you know that?”
“Oh.” replied Andrew without any movement to respond.
“…should you change it?” I asked gently.
“Whatever.” from Andrew. “I was wondering why the tags were in the front. So I ripped them out. I think it looks good this way.”
I pause and stare at her shirt front. “But…I mean…it DOES look good but…I just…”
“You want to change it?” said Andrew.
“No! I didn’t say that. No. No. I um…just…”
“It’s going to bother you isn’t it?” said Andrew.
“Yes it will.”
“No. It WON’T”. I said insistently.
The truth is, I didn’t want to change her. It was so cute.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. People always say that. But I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to put her in that onesie the right way.
Let’s hope she does learn how to dress…eventually.