I have one story of my mom buying me this pair of blue jeans I absolutely HAD to have. They were those heavily stone-washed ones that were super duper cool in about 1990. Clearly I was way ahead of my time because they were what we would now call skinny jeans - complete with a nifty zipper slit thing on the ankle which was topped with an equally awe-inspiring denim bow. I mean, cool does not even come close to description here. Really, it doesn't. Anyway, I saw them on a rack and goodness me if my 10 year old self did not HAVE to have those jeans. I need not bother try them on. I knew my size. But the thing was, they were not on sale. There they were, brazenly calling my name from their full price not on sale corner of the girls department under the $12.99 tag. Yes, I remember the price. I remember because I knew that for our family, a pair of jeans for $12.99 was too expensive. But I begged and for some reason my mom gave in.
And this has always been my go-to lesson in impulse purchasing because when we got home I found that they didn't really fit all that well. See, my little self was too skinny for the skinny jeans. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth when I typed that sentence. So yeah, I rarely wore them because I hated having to walk around with one hand on my waist band to hold them up.
My point here is this, when we needed new clothes or school clothes or whatever, we did not very often go to the store. I remember my mom going to garage sales a little bit, but not much because she wouldn't take us with her. I'm sure she grew tired of taking us along and coming home with the many 10 cent trinkets we had begged for. The criteria for a good garage sale was whether or not they had a table of stuffed animals for sale. And trust me, I never went to a garage sale where I did not find a stuffed animal that did not cry out to me for adoption. It should come as no surprise to you then that I had over 100 stuffed animals by the age of 13. Its good to have goals.
I also remember getting hand-me-downs from extended family. And the few brand new outfits were birthday or Christmas gifts.
But truthfully, I don't remember my mom buying clothes for me. We weren't terribly fashion-conscious people...but I really don't remember ever picking out shirts or pants or even shoes. I honestly don't KNOW where all my clothes came from.
This realization hit me yesterday after I had spent an entire day planning and purchasing Reagan and Madison's wardrobe from birth to age 5. Their ENTIRE wardrobe, minus a few odds and ends like snow boots or brown loafers. I had piles of clothes in every room of my house. Every size had their own spot on the floor and it was separated into categories like 2T winter and 2T summer. Almost 90% of it is garage sale / second hand stuff. One of my church friends allowed me to go through all her daughter's clothes and I hit a jackpot!
You do not know the simple joy that it gives me to have a stack of boxes in my closet full of GREAT deals and adorable clothes.
Someday, its going to snow. And Reagan will need a warm little sweater to wear to a friend's house and I will simply go downstairs, open a box, pull one out and place it upon her person. Yeah, we'll still buy some new stuff here and there. But by in large, I have almost all of the clothes my daughters will need for the first five years of their lives.
As I sat with Reagan after her nap, I held her and I thought about how she will probably never know or understand the work that went into seeking out and buying and planning her wardrobe for those first many years of her life. If she's like me, she won't even notice clothes or care about them till about the age of 12 when some unfortunate pair of jeans worms its way into her heart and then her closet. She will never question whether or not she will have enough of something or what will happen when she grows out of her favorite pink shoes. Because the things she needs are always there. She live this blissful existence of having the things she needs just magically appear on hangers and in drawers.
Until someday, hopefully, she is a mom and its up to her to clothe a small person or her own.
Thanks for providing for me, Mom. I didn't know back then all you did for me. But I'm getting glimpses now.