They went and finished elementary school. I swear, just the other day, they looked like this:
The school has a small ceremony for fifth graders as they finish up the year and prepare for big, bad middle school. I was surprised when the boys brought home pictures of themselves - the making of which I'd never been informed of - in mortarboards, tassels, fake collared shirt and tie. "When did they take these?" I asked. Neither one of them remembered. "The fake shirt was weird," one said. Indeed.
We laid out nice clothes for them the night before: dress pants and shoes was as far as we got before things turned up missing. No belts. No ties. No black socks. We all went to bed anyway, figuring we'd work it out in the morning.
As I lay in bed that night, I thought back to the last time I remembered the boys dressed up, wearing their ties. It had been a family funeral, one we'd traveled for. I suddenly remembered that I'd packed all of their ties in my husband's hanging garment bag - the one containing his own suit and tie. It was still hanging in the hall closet.
So I felt smart the next morning as I woke the twins and went straight to the closet and pulled out their ties. Belts proved more difficult to scrounge up. They fought over the one nice one that was found on the floor of the black hole that is their closet: Reid won. As he put it on, the extra length was obvious. "Go get me a pocket knife," I instructed. I added another hole in the leather. We found one hanging in the laundry room for Hayden. It was more casual, but it worked with his khakis and black shirt. They managed to get their *white* socks on with their dressy shoes. This was after Reid asked, "What socks do I wear?" As if there was a choice. "Well, there's white. So I guess you wear white," I told him. I made a mental note to buy black socks. And belts. I realized, as I was making this mental note, that whatever I bought ahead of time - to avoid this last minute panic - would probably never be worn. They grew so fast. That was why we had this collection of mismatched, too big or too small belts and shoes and pants. They were leftover from their older brother. Or ones that they had worn for the last special occasion, months earlier, that were now far too small. Months pass. Clothes - entire outfits - become miniscule on their bodies. Shoes that felt perfectly fine are suddenly painful. They just keep growing.
Reid combed his freshly washed hair carefully and put on his tie in front of the bathroom mirror. Hayden stuffed his tie in his pocket and asked me to comb his hair that hadn't been washed since the day before. They are so different. In every way.
As they stood in the kitchen, finishing up their breakfast, I surveyed their outfits. And noticed a small white thread hanging from Hayden's black shirt. I grabbed it. Pulled. Off came the button that would attach the collar to enable him to put on his tie later. As it tumbled to the floor and the dog scuttled after it as quickly as I did, the first "Goddamn!" left my lips (Cuss 1).
I managed to get to the button first, as Hayden said, "Great! Now no tie!"
First of all, the fact that they even wanted to wear ties - had asked to wear ties - was an anomaly. I never expected this, given Aquaman's aversion to ties. Second of all, that I'd managed to find said ties was a minor miracle. So third of all, I should have expected something to go wrong. (And fourth of all, don't judge me for cussing.)
And that is how I ended up with my sewing kit out at 7:12 a.m., standing in the bathroom, sewing a button on a collar attached to a nervous boy. The needle came dangerously close to the boy's neck. I turned him towards me - and away from the bathroom mirror - so he couldn't see how close. The second stitch resulted in me stabbing myself in the finger. Another "Goddamn!" left my lips (Cuss 2). It was followed by a plea from the boy, "Don't stick me, Mom! Please!" And then I said something my own mother said to me, countless times as she hemmed or mended. "I'll stick myself before I stick you." Which I had just done.
At 7:16 a.m. I was shooing boys out the door to catch the bus, but making them pause long enough on the front sidewalk so that I could take a picture.
And then they were gone. They look like they are businessmen on their way to catch the train to work with their slacks and collared shirts, dress shoes and lunch boxes.
But they aren't. They're still boys. For now.
Here's some perspective.
Thing 1. Pre-K graduation.
Thing 1. 5th grade graduation.
Thing 2. Pre-K graduation.
Thing 2. 5th grade graduation.
My how time flies.