Red White and I’m so Blue

Posted by Danny

Today was Red, White and Blue day at school for Michelle.  Why is this so difficult for me?

I’m not exactly sure why we’re celebrating red, white and blue in March – I would have thought we’d be dressing in green this month.  But I don’t care – my attitude has become “just tell me what to  do and I’ll do it.”  I don’t need any explanation.  I don’t need a reason.  If you need my kid to be at the circus at 5 pm on Wednesday wearing a tutu, so be it.  You want me there in one too?  Fine.  Just give me the time and an address.

I think I have issues with costumes.  I was Dracula in the third grade for an October birthday party and cried the entire time.  My red eyes worked well with the rest of the outfit.  When I return to my hometown and drive by that kid’s house on Dartmouth Road, my skin crawls.  It’s a horrible memory.

Two weeks ago I taped the flyer about Red, White and Blue Day to the back door to remind us to dress up.  There has been more than one time this year when every kid in class was prepared for an event – with show and tell or special clothes or a special snack – and Michelle was without due to her father’s lack of organization.  She’s actually learning to remind me of her special events.  Do you think 8 years old is too young to manage an outlook calendar?  She’s going to make someone a really good administrative assistant one day.

So last night she told me that we needed to pick out her clothes for this special day.  She was leaving this to a taped up reminder.  We headed upstairs to make our plan. 

I pulled out a pair of jeans. 

“We can’t wear jeans dad.  It’s not allowed at our school.”

“Un.”

I pulled out a pair of red Soffe gym shorts.

“We aren’t allowed to wear those either.”

“Un.”

The Great Clothes Migration hasn’t yet reached her room this spring.  Our choices were limited.  I hit DJ’s closet.  “Here’s a red scarf you could wear!”

“You said it was going to be really hot tomorrow.  DJ wears that in the snow.”

“Un.”

We head back to her room.  I dig deep.  Finally – a pair of light blue pedal pushers with white polka dots.

“I guess those will work Dad.  But I think it’s supposed to be the blue in the flag.”

“I think this is the blue in the Canadian flag.  It’s a country real near here.  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter which flag.  See if they fit.  I can iron those wrinkles right out.”

We choose a white long-sleeved tee to match – the sleeves were turning brown. 

“I think it looks good with the sleeves rolled up like daddy does when he goes to work,” I suggest.

She picks out a big red bow for her hair.  It’s squished – it looked like an Elephant slept on it since Thanksgiving.  But I didn’t say anything.

I head down with the wear.  I plug-in the iron and go to town.  Things are looking pretty good.  But what can I do with the bow?  Lisa used to stuff our Christmas bows with newspaper to keep them puffy during their 11 month hiatus. 

I nab the News and Observer and shove the sports section into the largest loop. 

I wasn’t sure that the paper was going to puff it up enough by morning.  Apparently it was a big elephant.  So, I decided to put it in the freezer for the night.  Freezers make things stiff – think about what it does to water.

This morning the bow was taut.  I put it in her hair.

“Dad, why is this bow so cold?”

“Get your bookbag.  I don’t want to talk about it.”

I can’t wait for theme days at summer camp.

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