On Wednesdays, Little Brother’s class has
gym Phys Ed. The kids in his school wear gym clothes to school all day on their gym days. It gives me a nice little buffer zone to get his regular uniforms all clean and ready for the rest of the week.
Last Wednesday, though, Little Brother’s class had a field trip, and they were required to wear “dress” uniforms. That threw off my whole routine–and I woke up Thursday morning only to realize that there were no clean uniforms for Little Brother that day.
Little Brother is nine years old. There is no such thing as a “gently used” uniform when it comes to nine-year-old boys. So re-wearing the previous day’s clothes was completely out of the question. He leaves the house in the morning looking reasonably neat and returns looking like Pigpen from Peanuts.
He told me that kids have just worn their gym clothes to school in that situation, and their moms write a note to the teacher. So that’s what I did. When he came home, I asked what his teacher had said. He said she laughed–which is about what I figured would happen.
This morning I saw his teacher when I was on my way in to school to volunteer. She told me that it made her day to get that note, because she doesn’t always have it together, and it was a relief to know that some other mom didn’t have it together all the time either.
I was rather shocked that she thinks I have things even close to all together. And then I realized that I always thought she did. I’ve known this teacher for 8 or 9 years, as two of our older children have been in the same class.
We see the surface of other people’s lives, and that little bit that we show to other people is only the tip of our own personal iceberg. Yet we compare ourselves, basing our self-esteem on what little we see of what someone else is, has, and does. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence; the other line always moves faster.
And then it becomes a great relief to see that someone else is human too; that they are in the very same boat we are; that we all get behind on the laundry sometimes.
Wouldn’t it be a great gift to ourselves if we’d just dare NOT to compare once in a while? Wouldn’t it be a great gift to those to whom we are comparing ourselves, as well? After all, they’re probably behind on laundry, and that’s OK.