Shopping in the Closet, aka Capital District Drudgery

I know that it was rainy and gloomy all day, but. . . it felt kind of good out.  It felt like warm spring rain, like April showers that will bring May flowers.  Plus, I always remind myself that this English-style weather is excellent for our complexions.  In fact, when I was in high school, my whole family went to France for a week, and we kept remarking on how dewily gorgeous we were all looking.  (Yes, I looked it up just in case, and it is a word. )  And then, on the flight back, my sister pointed out that she could tell that we’d left that Optimum Humidity Zone just by looking at me, because I was already breaking out.  Ah, sisterly love.

But I’m getting off-track.  In preparation for our trip as well as for the spring weather, I did our Semi-Annual Closet Shopping Event today.  We are blessed to have super-stylish neighbors and a super-stylish cousin, as well as my in-laws, who Simply Cannot Ignore A Bargain, and as a result, I don’t have to purchase much clothing.  Really, we end up quite overrun with clothes, but in a good way, because the girls are surprisingly opinionated.  So even though I have a ton of items to “process”, many of them are passed on to another lucky winner in the neighborhood.

The first step is to sort items in complete secrecy by finagling some sort of distraction.  I prefer to weed out my own personal rejects and divide the clothes into likely piles for each girl before they get wind of the operation in order to avoid drama and heartache.  Which, by the way:  for those of you who laugh over how glad you are that you don’t have girl children because you avoid feminine drama, I have to tell you:  it’s not funny!  I hate you!   You hate me!  You think I’m fat!

No, no, no. . . that’s not what I really meant.  What I was going to say was:  I just “get” the girl drama.  Is it worth it, say, to almost start crying because your favorite swirly skirt no longer fits, and now it will be desecrated by your little sister who still wipes her hands on her clothes instead of a napkin and will probably get paint stains on it the first time she wears it to school?  No.  And yet, I think that, in a similar situation, I almost might start crying, too.* So, you know, I can respect that.  It’s tiresome but understandable.

Anyway. . .

Piles for each girl, plus a bag to give away

Here are some of the clothes after the sort and before the girls descended.  Of course then they played peacefully for quite a while, and I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt them.  At the first sign of bickering, I casually mentioned that there was clothes to be sorted and they ran upstairs gleefully.  The glee lasted for about fifteen minutes, and then monotony set in.   There are dramatic moments, of course, like when J covets clothing that M can wear.  Then J holds her breath while M ponders whether to keep it for herself or pass it down.  Every year we also have items that I’m trying to “sell” to both girls that they roundly reject.  This year it was an adorable Gap blue polo shirt with little bees embroidered on it.  Two thumbs down.  Alas.

We also always have a huge assortment of The Most Adorable Dresses Ever.  M rarely wears a dress, and it’s a terrible waste, because she looks fabulous in them.  The turquoise one below was most frequently worn last year, and this year it looks like the orange number is going to be the fave.  J loves dresses and will wear fancy print dresses on any occasion when the mood strikes.


I am not a mommy who insists that the beautiful clothes stay clean-clean-clean or that you wear special play clothes in the backyard.  They’re all play clothes: it’s just that some of them are especially pretty.  But what drives me nuts is that inevitably, one of my not-so-favorite dresses becomes The Dress of the Season.  So, for example, last year J looked at her assorted beautiful dresses and, time after time, chose the dress that my mother-in-law had saved from the 70s, when her aunt wore it as a girl.

J's 70s dress

I mean, I’m sorry.  It’s just, you know, not freakin’ Chanel or something.  This is not timeless beauty.  And, on the one hand, a cute preschool girl can make just about anything look cute, but, you know, the truth is that even the Paper Bag Princess looked better in her expensive princess clothes.  OK, you know what?  I wrote this first and then I went looking for a photo of the dress and. . . yeah, it looks pretty freakishly adorable here.  I stand corrected.  But, still!  A little variety, please?

* In fact, I recently cried briefly over a stolen scarf.   Although, frankly, I’m a Cry-yee McCry-ster.  Why, just this morning, I was sitting in my car with tears rolling down my cheeks in the parking lot of the grocery store because WAMC had a segment on the book Letters to Jackie:  Condolences from a Grieving Nation.  Just imagining this poor widow with her two little kids receiving hundreds of thousands of letters from people all over the country. . . and each of those letter-writers sitting there with pen and paper and trying to think of the right words to communicate their grief and loss. . .  I don’t know, it’s just so heartbreaking.  I mean, the author was chatting and composed, and I thought: there’s no way I can possibly make it through the book if I can barely listen to the radio interview.  Although, you know, this is why I love history so much–it’s so many vivid personal stories intersecting in all kinds of crazy ways.
So, I guess, even if I didn’t have daily drama from the girls, maybe I’d just be empathizing my way into someone else’s drama, anyway.

One Comment

  1. Mari

    Ahhh. Loved this one. If I was younger and cooler I’d write something like roflmaol but I’m not even sure what that means. Just like my daughter. But I wish I had 2 so they could be drama queens together instead of into drawing me into it-like this am at breakfast-6am and already-I talk to her father for 2 seconds and it’s “You don’t even like ME anymore. You just talk to each other!” That book looks great too-I ordered it.

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