Today, after a tasty Mexican lunch, we decided to hit the stores. We were going to be thrifty and wait for the tax free weekend but we ended up choosing sanity. I'm not my best in stores period, so add a crowd and I metaphorize into something quite nasty. We also weren't going to buy the kids new school clothes. After all, they have a large wardrobe (thanks to their parent's own love of clothes), and really it seemed rather unnecessary. But they did need shoes and book bags. And in the excitement of picking out things for them, I got caught up with them having to have at least one new outfit for the first day.
Likely, so many things, this boils down to my own childhood. There were times when we were lucky to get one new outfit for the first day of school. We usually didn't know if we'd even get that until the last minute. Sometimes my uncle would come through and we'd hit K-Mart or Ames to pick out some new jeans. And I hated it. I hated looking at the cheap jeans, rummaging through them, hoping to find a pair that everyone wouldn't immediately label as "gay" (I know horrible term). It didn't matter though. Teens have some kind of sixth sense concerning department store jeans. I'd be mocked right away, and labeled immediately as a poor kid.
And no I don't want my kids to go through this. H and I will skimp on our own clothes but we buy nice clothes for the kids. It's unnecessary on some level because CCS is wonderfully unpretentious. One woman I liked right off because sometimes her girls' came to school with their hair uncombed just as Camille often does. There's a definite mixture of clothing styles. And I am certainly not the parent who spends the most (there are kids in Sean John, Baby Phat, Hannah Anderson, etc) but we are definitely in the middle range.
As Camille was trying on jeans at Old Navy, I felt guilty. I consider myself a socialist. I definitely am engaged in class ideology but yet there I was engaged in making sure my kid looked good. No Old Navy isn't quite the Gap or Macy's but the intention was the same. I was participating in an act of consumerism in order to protect my child from being mocked as I was...a mocking that likely would not even happen at CCS. It's hard to not bring the pain of the past into the future.