Tuesday, August 23, 2011

my relationship with t-shirts

I finally get it: the appeal of t-shirts. After spending a decade wearing t-shirts, spandex and volleyball paraphernalia, I equated them with exercise, sweat and misery. Then, my various professional jobs landed me in positions that offered t-shirts for volunteers and anyone remotely connected to the events. I bulked up my collection again, but I only wore them occasionally or to exercise – which, incidentally, was only occasionally. Now, I’m a mom, and I’m giving t-shirts a whole new level of respect. They are easy to wear, easy to change and easy to wash 13 times a day when your baby poops or vomits all over them. So, it’s time to bulk up my collection once again.

I still have many of the event t-shirts and one t-shirt from a storied but unfortunate visit to the Whitewater Center. A beach vacation is the perfect place to add a couple to the wardrobe, except I dreaded the standard “mom souvenir” t-shirt: pastel with the name of the beach embroidered across the front or tie-dyed with a hideous graphic swallowing my still poochy mom belly. I vowed to find something tasteful – well, at least as tasteful as one can get with t-shirts.

Instead, I went in the other direction: a Piggly Wiggly t-shirt. That's right, I went from looking for subtle and tasteful to tacky and embarrassing. It was my first trip to a Piggly Wiggly, and I was all in – just for the name. I’m certain it was the furthest thing from my husband’s mind when we planned the vacation, but once I realized there was one across from our property I kept repeating the name in funny voices to our daughter. After he went through the phases of coping with a ridiculous spouse – denial, anger, acceptance – he was on board for a visit and maybe a t-shirt.

My husband is a great respecter of t-shirts. In fact, it was one of the first realities that surprised me when we were married. He hangs all his t-shirts up in the closet! I shove mine in a drawer to be worn, crumpled, to the gym and nowhere else. He actually took up half our closet space with his collection. There are days when I think the only reason he really decided to marry me, despite a degree in Arts & Crafts (read: small dollar bills in the paycheck), was that I got paid in t-shirts. The only inconvenience is that we have to coordinate so as not to wear the same t-shirts on the same day.

So, he could appreciate that a trip to the beach would be an opportunity to add to my mom uniforms. He could even appreciate the humor in buying a Piggly Wiggly t-shirt, although he conspicuously refrained from adding one to his personal collection. I may have crossed a line in buying one for our daughter, but come on – Piggly Wiggly on a onesie is so cute and she's still too young to resist.

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