Sunday, December 11, 2005

Matching set

When I was a wee child, my parents did not have a lot of money. My dad graduated from law school when I was two and my sister was four. For several years after that, he was getting his footing, and it wasn't until my adolescence that we began to live comfortably, and then well. As a result, my mother made many of the clothes that Ann and I wore.

About twice a year, a box of clothes would come in the mail from my great-aunt and great-uncle, who lived in Nashville, Tennessee. They had two daughters, who were about 10 years older than we were. They lived very well in Grand Ole Opry land, and dressed their daughters to the nines in matching dresses befitting the times. Unfortunately, by the time Ann and I fit into these clothes, the "times" would be 10 years past.

How we dreaded seeing that box come in the mail! Oh, the ugly matching dressed it would hold. My mother forced us to wear them all, not wanting to let any free gift go to waste, much less expensive dresses that she could never afford to buy us. No matter that the style in Nashville is much different than the style in Delaware. No matter than peter pan collars have been out of style for 8 years. Ann and I would beg and plead to get out of wearing these dresses, or at least not have to wear them at the same time, but to no avail. I'll have to find some old photos so you can see just the how bad they were.

Consequently, children in matching clothes make my skin crawl. I have a feeling that even without the traumatic childhood memory, children in matching clothes would make my skin crawl, but this is my excuse. Once, at a holiday party, I saw a whole family matching: the same plaid in the mom's skirt, dad's pants, little boy's short overalls, and little girl's dress*. YUCK.

This year, my mother-in-law purchased a cute red plaid outfit for Vivian to wear at the holidays, with a matching plaid button down shirt for Isaac. Fortunately, I felt comfortable enough to thank her profusely, but mention that I just didn't like the kids to match, so I'd probably just have them wear each outfit to different events. I reassured her that I would be happy to put them in their matching outfits and take a photo for her, and she rolled her eyes, but otherwise accepted this deal, no doubt chalking it up to yet another character flaw of mine.

So. You may imagine my surprise when I realize that my son likes to match his sister. Every night at bedtime he runs excitedly into the room, saying, "Let me pick out the p.j.'s, Mom, let me! Here, here, Vivian should wear these ones. I think she likes these, Mom!" He'll pull out a pair of hers, one of the one-piece ones that snap up the front, and then race to his drawer, searching for his. He only has two pairs that snap up the front, and both of them are too small, but he insists that if Vivian is wearing a one-piece, then so must he. The other night, he got more specific, insisting that Vivian wear the pajamas with the trucks on them (a hand-me-down, they used to be his), since his also had trucks.

So far, this need to match has only manifested itself in night-wear (thank god), but I wonder if it's only a matter of time before he is asking his grandmother for matching clothes for his birthday. Oh, she will be so vindicated!

* Okay, here I have to admit: that family is related to me. My mother's first cousin and her family.

No comments: