Take Off Your Ugly Sweater

Ugly Sweater. Poor thing.
Ugly Sweater. Poor thing.

The other day I got the call from school: “Mom, can you come and get me? I’m at the nurse.” Complete with this is the end of the world voice.

My first thought: Do I have to?

What I said: “Okay. Give me twenty minutes.” I was still in my pajamas. It’s a perk working at home offers. What going out really meant was I had to brush my teeth and take off my ugly, gray, cardigan that I have been wearing all winter because it keeps me warm, but it’s not fit for anyone other than my family to see.

I don’t want to take off my ugly sweater and go outside in the cold.

But I did. Why? Because I’m a mom and that’s how we roll.

Noodge One is about to become a Hebrew school tutor. (We’re an interfaith family. It keeps things interesting.) I let his new “boss” know I had his working papers and would have the pediatrician fill them out. I was informed the forms needed to be filled out by her first. She requested I stop by that evening and she’d fill them out. Do I have to? I thought. Neither of my kids were going to be at the synagogue that day. I didn’t want to take off my ugly sweater again, go out in the cold, and drive the seven miles for the five minutes I’d be there.

But I did. Why? Say it with me: “I’m a mom and that’s how we roll.”

Are we really that much different than our kids? I hear all the time, “Do I have to take out the garbage now?” “Do I have to wear a coat in subzero weather?” “Do I have to do my homework?” “Do I have to shovel three feet of snow?” My answer: “If you want to keep living in this house you do.”

I guess I’m teaching my Noodges to suck it up. We all have to do things we don’t want to whether we’re dressed for it or not.

Maybe my ugly sweater is a metaphor. It certainly didn’t start out ugly. It was quite fashionable at one time and I wore it on cool days over a light weight shirt with jeans and boots. I used to get compliments on that sweater. But over the years, the buttons fell off, the wool pilled, but it always remained warm.  I could count on it for that. And so, somewhere along the way it became the sweater I went to for comfort, for loyalty and reliability. I love that sweater, flaws and all.

Hopefully, someday when my kids are grown and living lives of their own, they will think back on their childhood, the pick ups at school when they were sick, the forms that needed to be filled out, and say, “I love my mom; flaws and all.”

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