Parenting is a highly reiterative lesson on the folly of judging others, yet it seems to take many little ah-ha moments for me to learn.
Driving through morning carpool as the seasons change, there is a diverse array of garb. The girls in first grade start wearing tights with their cute little skirts. Overnight, the boys in second grade might trade their shorts and t-shirts for a Broncos sweatshirt and jeans. A few of the little ones even march onto campus in jackets.
Then there is the boy who stands with his too skinny shoulders hunched, hands stuffed in pockets, shivering in shorts and pledging allegiance to the flag during all-school outdoor assembly. Or the girl who has grown inches since spring, revealing bare, knobby knees and goose-bumped arms as snowflakes land in her hair.
And as a mom of little ones, you can’t help but think, “Who is his mother?” Or “Where are her parents? She is going to freeze to death!”
Well, after years of judging other parents for their lack of control over their child’s clothing decisions, I know who his mother is.
It’s me. The mom of middle school boys who wear shorts in winter and no sweatshirts at recess. They refuse to wear a jacket to stay warm when the morning frost still glistens, just in case the afternoon sun makes them look like dorks carrying winter coats.
It was not long ago, when that bothered me. No more.
It is not that I care less about whether they catch pneumonia, or less about how they present themselves to others, or less about how I am judged as a parent. I do remind them a hundred times or more. But I know that when they can’t take it anymore – well before they die of hypothermia – they will decide on their own to dress sensibly.
And I am focused much more on preparing them to be good, hard-working, kind, successful, happy young men… who may look a bit ridiculous in the year’s first snow.