In August our family escaped the heat and ran for the hills (ok, mountains) in Colorado. Aaahhh… such a fun time, We even enjoyed getting a little dog action while we cared for my brother’s pet.

While we were there, I did my motherly duty – capitalized on any opportunity to kill a few birds with one stone. When tooling around, having fun in Vail, I b-lined for a rack of men’s shirts, jackets, sweaters and grabbed an all-black zip-up. Perfect for Teen Take-Out and his school’s requirement for a solid black over-garment.

“Mom… That’s looks like a girl’s sweater,” TTO protested.
“What are you talking about?! Look. It’s clearly on the Men’s rack. There are no women’s clothes at all. … Just try it on.”
“TRY IT ON! … Come on. Don’t you love how soft it is.”
He felt the gushy, black softness…
“It does feel really good, but I think it looks like – “
“Don’t say ‘girl’. It’s a MEN’S jacket.” I emphasized the “Men’s”.  Then I asked the guy at the register. He confidently confirmed my assessment that the jacket was in fact a men’s jacket. And off we went with the super-soft Columbia sweater (at a great price!)

Fast forward a few moths. The jacket meets Dallas and cooler weather. TTO wears it to school without saying a word… but I could tell that he still wasn’t 100% sure. I thought he looked great. He felt a bit odd, but trusted his mother. He’s been wearing it every day since. It’s a cozy, cool sweater. No logo. No uniform-store stiff blend number. It’s a nice, sleek ride.

A few weeks ago in the car, he floats his concern from the back seat as our family is headed home from lunch at Schlotzky’s…

“Mom… I really think this is a girls jacket.”
“Would you stop with the girl thing. It’s a guy’s jacket.”
John weighs in, “I’ll solve this once and for all… which side is the zipper on?”
“It’s on the left.”
“Well .. girls zippers are on the right. I guess that proves it.” John replies.

I’m thrilled that I had been right all along. I didn’t really know the zipper thing, but it wasn’t me trying to convince the kid.

Fast forward to tonight.

“Mom … I’m pretty sure my jacket is a girl’s.”
“Please – Drop it.  How many times do we have to discuss this tired topic?”
“Well, today Miller was commenting on how soft the thing is. He wanted to know what it’s made of. Here.. check out the tag and see for yourself.”
He proceeded to pull out the tag and stick it right smack in front of my eyes.
And yes… there it was as clear as day… Not 100% Cotten or 50-50 Poly-Blend … No – here’s what he showed me:

For the last three months, I’ve been forcing my teen-age son to wear a woman’s jacket. Poor kid has trusted me – his mom – not only for fashion advice, but to protect him from the ruthless middle-school mob that greets him every day at school. Thankfully there are nice kids. 

Especially Miller who calmly and kindly told TTO as he read the word (“Women’s”), “Hey – What difference does it make?! .. I sure don’t care.”

Silently thanking God that Miller was the one who discovered the ugly truth, I briefly imagined the potential reaction from another boy in TTO’s class – a reaction that could have scarred my kid for life. I’m so thankful that kid didn’t see it! Thankful to God for protecting my kid from his mother’s lame flakiness.

As I’m relaying the story to Jon, he admits, “You know I thought the same thing. Last week in Arizona, all the guys asked me why TTO was wearing a girl’s jacket.”

“What?! … You’re joking.”

“No. I’m serious.”

“WHY didn’t you say anything?!”

“Well… you’ve been so adamant that it was a man’s jacket – I guess I just bought into the idea too.”

I sometimes surprise even myself. How do they put up with me?! … Thankfully with a smile. Which is what that kid did. My incredibly self-conscious, slightly insecure, often stoic kid gave me a gift. He let me laugh. Then we laughed and laughed ’til our sides hurt.

… I promised I would take him to Tyler’s after school and get him a real MEN’s jacket. Preferably Under Armour.  Let’s just say, I’ll get him whatever he wants.

Apparently you never know what might be around the corner around here. I’m not sure how this falls into our December “service” theme … but that kid sure did me right by letting it ride and letting me sink into the hilarity of it all.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

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