Speaking of rain shower, anyone want to go fly-fishing in my basement? No that’s not a euphemism for lesbian “relations”. You can add my flooding basement woes to the cold or flu or virus or whatever the hell it was that socked me in the gut and left me whimpering for days. Fever, aches, chills, sweats the whole megillah. I was a mess. The weather hasn’t even turned cold, yet, and I’ve already caught the seasonal infirmity of the day.
Why does, “it’s going around” always make me feel a little bit better. It’s as if I need some sort of assurance that I haven’t caught some rare, untreatable tropical disease. Don’t worry. It’s going around. You’re going to live. And I did. Just.
One of the worst parts of being sick is the ton of stuff I have to do when I’m actually able to sit upright for more than fifteen minutes. I’m overwhelmed by the things I’ve left unattended because I was too fragile to read the recommendation dosage label for my zinc lozenges let alone pay a bill or organize Levi’s birthday party.
It was Picture Day at Asher’s school on Thursday, but the red highlighted appointment on my calendar was not bright enough to cut through the haze of sick. The bus stop parents reminded me while we waited for the bus that morning, and I decided it was not worth taking a separate trip to school with a wardrobe change when I could pop some ibuprofen and curl up under my blankets and shiver myself to sleep instead. Besides, he looked fine enough. He was not wearing a ratty t-shirt with a questionable graphic on it.
We save those t-shirts for special occasions.
That morning, I laid out a collared tee which has become habit thanks to one of the bus stop moms who unwittingly infected me with her fashion policy. She shared with me that her boys only ever wear shirts with collars. In her defense, this mom works in the fashion industry, and her boys do always look smart. She didn’t mean to do it. We were having a perfectly innocent conversation one afternoon, and she confessed that she can’t help but collar them up. They never look overly proper or stuffy, so I hadn’t noticed that their shirts were always collared. I couldn’t help but consider how I dressed Asher. Graphic tees, jeans and sneakers seemed good enough until that moment. I admitted to myself that Asher could use a wardrobe upgrade.
My mother never allowed me to wear jeans or sneakers or the fashion of the day unless it was sensible. She was particularly obsessed with proper footwear because her own feet were in such bad shape. No clogs or docksides. Just laced up leather shoes that clip-clopped down the hallway. Any time I passed a classroom, I heard children say, “Shh! The teacher’s coming!” because only teachers clip-clopped down hallways. I hated my shoes, and I hated being a fashion-don’t.
I envied my friends in their Vidal Sassons. I was going to be that mom who let their kids wear casual clothing and maybe even the passing style of the season. But my fashionista friend hit a nerve that day, and I’ve been over-thinking Asher’s outfits ever since. I haven’t been able to strictly collar him because I simply don’t have enough collared shirts to last him from one laundry day to the next, but I have been making more of an effort to spiff him up a bit. So, thanks to my fashionista bus-stop mom friend, Asher did not look like a hot mess on Picture Day.
Deborah: How was school today, Asher? Did you smile for your picture?
Asher: Yup. Did you know that some people were wearing ties? They looked nice.
D: Really? Do you want to wear a tie to school?
A: Uh, ok!
D: You could wear a tie every day if you want.
A: Naa. I only want to wear one tomorrow.
D: You know that Picture Day is over, right?
A: Yeah. I just think it looks nice.
D: Ok then.
The next day, he dressed himself, and Gabriella helped him with his tie. Of course, I thought he looked deliciously handsome. I was sorry I flaked out for Picture Day. I couldn’t help gush over him over breakfast while I tucked a napkin into his collar to protect his tie.
Levi: That looks in-ste-sting, Asher.