By Sandy Egan
One Thanksgiving day when my son was 4, we were all running around getting ready to go to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. In my family it is traditional to dress up for the holidays. My husband’s family tends to be much more casual, and my son made it plain that year which tradition he preferred.
After struggling to get him into the bathtub, to brush his teeth, and to put on his underthings, he saw the dress pants, shirt and blazer I had laid out for him to wear that day. Two large frown lines formed between the eyebrows and his blue eyes were mutinous. Not wanting to have a all-out confrontation, I sweet-talked him into the dress pants and shirt, saying that once he was dressed, he would look as handsome as his daddy.
“See, sweetie?” I said, pointing to my husband. “Look how handsome daddy looks all dressed up. You want to be handsome too, don’t you?”
“Okay.” (Lower lip stuck out)
The next step was to tuck in the shirt.
“I don’t want to tuck it in, Mom.” He said flatly. “It’s uncomfortable, mom. Can’t I just wear it like this?”
“Oh, honey, but look at Daddy! He has his shirt tucked in. He looks so handsome, and so will you!”
I managed to get him into his blazer, socks and shoes without much trouble. The last obstacle was his hair. He had thick, curly, dark hair (and still does). After a bath and much struggling with his clothes, his hair looked like it wanted to to run away from all this, too. I took out a hairbrush, and his eyes grew to the size of dinner plates.
“No more, no more!” he yelled, ready to run down the hall to his room. I caught him just in time, and quickly got a few quick sweeps of the hairbrush in. “There!” I said, showing him in front of the mirror, “Just look at you now!”
“Mom!” he said with disgust, “Now I’m TOO much handsome!”
He stomped down the hallway.
I thought, I can live with that.