There is nothing worse, as a parent, than being physically away from your child when he needs you.
I think of 7.0 magnitude earthquakes, fires, burglars and child predators. These are the things that run through my mind as I sit at my work desk; knowing my three sons walk home, each day from school, in 90 degree heat. The home alarm, cell phones, etc. won’t deter someone who means to do them harm. I am grateful to the Moms who watch for my boys and beep, in greeting to them, as they drive by on the busy street they tread to saunter home. And so, when I picked up my phone to hear the eldest sobbing; my heart dropped. At first I thought he was joking since this son likes to play practical jokes. But from the quiet sobs I could tell this was not pretend. This was very real.
I need you, Mom. My pants ripped and it’s bad.
Surely he was joking, right? Most of this month I have harangued him; asking how his clothes fit. He claimed they were fine; he didn’t need to go school shopping. This son does not do school shopping. My first urge was to retort, I told you so. You should’ve walked the mall with me instead of going in the game store last Sunday. But I held my tongue as I placed the call on speaker, to relay the situation to the hubs. Without hesitation his response. Go! Go home and drag him shopping.
It takes exactly 11 minutes, with light traffic, from work to home/school. He sat on a bench on the trail home. Thankfully it happened after school and his friends, unsure of what to do upon seeing flesh and briefs, could only stand around him to shield him. But my son continued, alone, to walk home. It was then that he teared up and made the call.
How did they rip in half, you ask? He was attempting to catch his friend’s cell phone before it hit the pavement. As the friend and he dove for it; the friend accidentally grabbed my son’s shorts; ripping them exactly in half. The shorts were precariously tight fitting, as it was.
As the son shared this with me, via speakerphone, I couldn’t help it. I had to inwardly laugh. He solemnly relayed that a lot of middle schoolers witnessed his incident as they made their way off campus. But they did not laugh; they, thankfully, looked the other way. It is a mere five minutes from the back gate of his junior high to the trailhead where he sat. But it is amongst a large contingent of tweeners in a school of over 1,100 kids. His friends walked with him as long as they could. His large backpack hid the rest.
Thirty minutes later, in consolation, we sat with blended beverages with the green siren. She beckoned to me, I swear. Hence began our date, my eldest son and I. It is rare that he and I get time alone as we plotted where we would go. It would take thirty minutes, tops.
I watched my son roam from rack-to-rack in the department store. Another parent approached to say that, she too, had a tweener who was refusing to shop for clothes. We commiserated as we watched our boys clank hangars; disinterest obvious. T-shirts began accumulating on my cart but there were no shorts or pants; the reason we were here. I had just experienced shopping alone with the middle son on Sunday; having no problems perusing the sales racks with various items in his arms. The polar opposite. My youngest, also, is a shopping hound; my boys’ interests all distinctly different. After an hour I had to snap the shot below.
Another thirty minutes flew by before we both sat in a large dressing room. This was the third time we had tried various sizes and, both frustrated, began to evilishly laugh. A really big, loud, boisterous laugh. It was preposterous sitting here with shorts littering the floor, my son amongst them. An hour and a half of our day had been taken from us. He was done. But our mission was not accomplished; not one pair of shorts were in our cart to purchase. We bought the shirts and the decision was made to try another department store.
At the two hour mark we made our way out of the second store, bags laden with clearanced shorts for less than half the price that the other store wanted. We grinned at one another; he happy the ordeal was done, myself, happy with the price. Later, as I peeled stickers and cut tags to place the clothes in the wash this son approached me from behind; giving me a big hug.
Thanks for getting me and taking me shopping, Mom. You’re the best.
It made my shopping date worth it. Not quite the way I thought I’d spend quality time; but hey! I’ll take it any way I can get it. I am laughing out loud. Simple words. Value. Priceless.