Excuse Me, Do I KNOW You?

2:21 PMHeather

I've got it! The invention of a lifetime. Better than the slanket. Or the clapper. Or even the chia pet. It's guaranteed to earn me MILLIONS of dollars, as well as worldwide fame, and accolades from moms around the globe. Oh, I'm giddy at the thought.....

Here it is. It's a label that we mothers of preschoolers can slap onto their precious little backs when they come out in that fashion faux pas of an outfit. You know--the kind that makes you want to duck your head in public, loudly exclaiming for all to hear as the child cling to your legs, "EXCUSE me, little child, do I KNOW you?" This label can be applied with a simple pat on the back (as in, we are PROUD of their independence)...and the label reads in large NEON letters, "THIS child dressed himself. I am a mother allowing my child the freedom of expression."

Boy, if I had a dime for every time I coulda used that label over my ten years of mothering. My compliant oldest child was not so much a problem. He was not only compliant in his behavior, but also in his clothing choices. And, for you inquiring minds, NO, this has NOT lasted! I find it laughable (albeit exasperating) how he now tugs and moans at his Sunday clothes, weeping and nashing his teeth about how he can't wait to "GET OUT of these SUNDAY CLOTHES!" And, for the record--they usually consist of jeans and a collared shirt. Seriously. Too bad he doesn't appreciate that in MY day, little boys wore ties to church!

Now, my middle child was born a middle child and we weren't even planning to have a third. He has always been, shall we say, more of an independent thinker. He doesn't mind obeying the rules--as long as he can make them. HE was the child for whom this label idea could have been really handy for me. I suppose I've either had early senility set in, or I've repressed the memories of his preschool days because a friend recently reminded me of when she first met me--and my middle child. He had his clothes on inside out. And, backwards. And, he liked it that way. Day after day. Being quite artistic, he liked to wear LOTS of colors, and didn't care if they matched or not. He is where I learned to pick my battles. He'd proudly come down the stairs, oblivious to the fact he should be arrested by the fashion police, or that he'd be in a shoe in for "What Not to Wear." Taking a deep breath, and calmly (so as to not provoke the child), I'd say, "Um, your shirt is on backwards. And, your shorts. And, they are inside out." He'd smile smugly, and say, "Yep. I like it that way." UGH. If at all possible, I'd cancel all plans that involved going out in public.

My youngest child has a bit more fashion sense, but she, too, can occasionally have a "fashion don't" kind of day. Like last week. When she wore turquoise and neon green tights, a too-short denim skort, a light blue tank top, and a fuschia hoodie. Are you getting a picture? It was a day she was going to preschool, of course. I was debating whether it was worth it, as I looked at the clock and knew we were running behind. I decided to feel her out a bit first. "Sweet angel, that outfit...um. Well, let's pick a shirt that matches those tights. And, I think that skort is too short." She simply stood in front of the mirror, twirling in complete adoration, and said confidently, "I think I look beautiful." Coulda used that label that day, too......

I guess I have to admit, however, that my Heavenly Father could use a similar label on me some days. I wake up grumpy, and stomp around, clothed in my selfishness and pride, and short tempered to top it all off. The day goes horribly wrong, and then I cling to Him, throwing a fit about my DISASTROUS day, and He probably would like for all to hear him exclaim, "EXCUSE me, do I KNOW YOU?" He'd love to slap a label on my back saying, "Ugh, she dressed herself today." Because I missed the boat--backwards and inside out--and smugly declaring I like it that way. All the while, He has a fabulous outfit picked out just for me. You, see, "
as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12.

May I remember how childish I can be in my "dressing" for the world to see the next time I see a preschooler sporting their bright apple green frog rain boots with their red inside out and backwards shorts with a powder blue t-shirt, also inside out and backwards. Not that this example was from real life, mind you--I'm speaking hypothetically, of course.

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