Confession: Sometimes I secretly send some of the boys' shirts to retirement when I fold laundry. The most stained and tattered, albeit the most beloved, just need a clean break. Those that they'll never realize they outgrew? Well, it's just better if they never realize the shirt just went MIA.
Last night, my mom was folding a basket of our laundry. She picked up a blue, long-sleeved tee with Lightning McQueen on the front and flames up the forearms.
"My, this shirt is worn out," she said, noticing the graying white and the nobby holes at the wrists.
"Oh, feel free to retire it," I answered absently, paying bills on my laptop.
She hugged the shirt and her eyes filled with tears. "Nope, not this one. It's the first one he would wear."
She reminded me of those early days of this storm, when Tyler's cry for predictability manifested in his strong-willed decision to wear only two outfits, and one was jammies. He had little room for alternatives, little room for anything to change.
One day Tyler was shopping with Grandma, and he spotted this shirt on the rack. The blue one with Lightning McQueen on the front and flames up the forearms.
"Grandma, I like that shirt. Could I please have it?"
It was too big and the sleeves were too long, but he liked it. She purchased it without argument, and just like that, he had nearly doubled his wardrobe options. It was a big step for my three-year-old. It was the beginning of his realm of possibilities.
Now this shirt is tattered, stained, and worn, but nowhere near retirement. I think that one gets to stay for a long, long time.