The cardboard box lay open before me as I contemplated my words, scissors still in hand. I pulled the plastic-wrapped package out carefully, not because it was breakable, but because we were about to have THE TALK.
“Okay son, before I pull these pants out of the package, you need to understand one thing and one thing only…..these are the ONLY pants in America that will fit you.”
Proud that I had completed mission impossible in finding size 28 X 36 pants, I still had to pass the final litmus test—the teenage sense of fashion identity.
Was it my fault that the winning pants’ brand happened to be called “Wrangler”? I hardly think so. But in the package I held before me were the unwelcome pants I would be the unveiling. They were not only the khaki pants my son needed for the band concert, but also a possible solution to our next option for pants that actually fit.
With resolve, I continued.
“Now son, I know what you are going to say. But before you tell me that you aren’t going to wear these pants, you need to let Mama take a look at them on you and we can use a needle and thread to alter them to fit you just right.”
Silence and stares of disgust were my only source of feedback as I ripped away at the plastic, until he could contain himself no longer upon seeing the tag.
“Mom! Do you think I’m some kind of vaquero???”
My son is anything but a vaquero. On most days, he sports the most awesome collared shirts and primo cotton T-Shirts. On the other days, he will be wearing some kind of “meaningful” T-Shirt that says something like Vote For Pedro.
With less than a week before the band concert, the best response I could come up with was, “Son, of course I don’t think you are a vaquero, just try them on and have an open mind.”
When the long-faced boy reluctantly walked out of his room into the center of the living room floor to model the objectionable garment, I might have found this funny if I were someone else’s mother. I was certain there were two femurs somewhere in the Wranglers, but God bless him, he was floating inside those khaki pants.
I reacted with my best Mama intuition when I called a nearby fine clothier with our pending fashion emergency. Within a couple of minutes, we were en route to The Toggery, a place where no Wranglers had ever entered.
A few days later, I picked up the miracle Wranglers and paid the $122 invoice.
As a Mom, I am proud to say that I faced zero opposition to his wearing of the newly-fashioned Wranglers during the concert, but we had yet to make it through awards day at school.
The night before awards day, it was my son who decided to initiate a talk of his own.
“Mom, I wanted you to know that I wore The Wranglers to the concert for you, but I really want to wear my skinny khakis one last time to awards day.”
“The skinny khakis that are two inches too short?” I’m thinking.
Although, I’m really working hard to come up with a good defense for his wearing of The $122 Wranglers again, I could not come up with anything before I felt my contemplative mother stare time out. I caved.
“Alright, as long as you wear brown dress socks, brown shoes, a brown belt and a collared shirt that doesn’t say anything meaningful.”
Awards day came quickly like a thief in the night to steal away my 8th grader into his high school years. When his name was called, coupled with the word “outstanding”, I thought he sure is!
When he walked to the stage where the principal slipped a medal around his neck, I noticed that he had listed to Mama’s fashion advice and worn the brown socks; however, as he unfolded his lanky legs to get to the platform I could see a large red stripe around his ankles where the high-water pants exposed some sporty brown and red-striped athletic socks I think Santa had once slipped into his Christmas stocking.
For just that moment, it really didn’t matter. As he turned around after receiving his medal, he looked up to me in the stands as if to say, “Yo, Mama….I did it!!” I couldn’t have been prouder, too-short khakis, gym socks, and all; he had overcome his obstacles to take a hold of the prize set before him.
The smile on his face and the Mama tears of joy on mine said it all!