Yesterday I went to the fabric store and bought 2 yards of orange fabric, 4 pieces of adhesive felt, interfacing, stuffing and a pattern for the boy's preschool musical costume. He is in the chorus and will be playing a clown fish. When he switched schools in October, they had already cast parts and handed out info to the parents, so we are doing a little but of catch-up. For one, I didn't realize I was supposed to be running through his lines with him. For two, I didn't know I was only supposed to invite immediate family (I invited my parents and niece, and it turned out fine). For three, I figured that a freaking clownfish costume would be a simple matter.
I spent about 15 years of my life sewing a majority of my clothing. Sure, it's been a couple of years since I sewed, but still, no sweat. Except that for about 8 weeks of off-and-on looking, I couldn't find a pattern anywhere. Seriously. A clownfish pattern. There is an entire Pixar movie about this animal, but not one darn pattern? Jeez louise. Thankfully one of the boy's classmates' moms had a Batman pattern she used to make her kid's goldfish costume, and she loaned it to me. She had worked out a complicated transformation of the bat ears into goldfish eyes and included a drawing and instructions. She's my favorite right now.
So, yesterday, I was standing at the counter getting the fabric cut. The nice clerk asks me what I'm making. "Oh, a clownfish costume for my son's preschool musical." She replied "That's nice. I had another mom in her a few weeks ago making a clownfish costume. She said she wanted to make hers differently". Differently from what? I don't even know what that means, so I just nod at her.
And then I say, "I just don't want to embarrass him."
And she replies, "You have a preschooler who gets embarrassed?"
And then I said, "Well, no, I guess I don't."
That's when I realized something I should have realized a lot earlier. The boy doesn't give a care about how his costume looks. That's me. And really, I'm mostly concerned about how his costume reflects on my ability to parent him well. Because all too often, I'm the mom bringing back 2 sleeping bags from school because I forgot to wash it the week before. I'm the mom whose making the costume the morning it is due. I'm the mom who forgot to buy special Christmas outfits for the kids this year, because, well, I was busy working Christmas at the church.
But you know what? I'm also the mom who gets to drop her kid off at school. I'm the mom who has time and energy and wherewithal to worry about his PRESCHOOL MUSICAL COSTUME because I have a home, and a job, and a spouse and food to eat tonight. I'm the mom whose kid runs to hug me when I show up at the school.
I'm the mom who realized that it was okay to use adhesive felt even if it didn't look as good, because it'll save me a half hour that I got to spend making train tracks in the living room. I'm that mom. And it's gonna be okay. I'll have plenty of time to embarrass him when he's a teenager.
*If you were wondering why I don't refer to my children by their names, it is because one of my children came to our family through foster care and we want to be considerate about confidentiality.