The Uniforms

Once upon a time, a prematurely graying, arthritic mother of three was called to homeschool her children, though she knew that she could never do it because she didn’t have nearly enough patience. As she researched and planned, she was very worried about activities and socialization, because everyone knows that if you don’t spend seven hours a day in a room full of 25 other people who are all exactly your age you’ll grow up to be the Unabomber.

So the mother joined a homeschool group in her area in an effort to connect with other like-minded women and find little friends for her children, lest they be socially stunted. And she placed the little darlings in a homeschool choir.

At the first meeting of the choir, two things became painfully clear to the mother: first, that unfortunately some homeschool families have yet to throw off the shackles of their stereotypical denim jumpers, and second, that the leadership within the choir had a bit of a thing regarding the choir uniform. For there, within the packet of handouts, was a full-page description of the required concert uniform, including how to purchase the shirts, what kind of tights and socks the little singers must wear, and, most disconcertingly, printed with great boldness in multiple places, “children will not be allowed to perform if they are not in uniform.

In addition to this full-page guide to properly dressing the children, there was also a fifteen-minute discussion in the meeting regarding the uniform, followed by weekly email reminders of the importance of the uniform, until the mother had no doubt that the uniform was crucial to the happiness of children and small puppies everywhere, and also that it was likely to give her a heart attack.

Still, in the face of daunting odds, the mother dutifully brought her sons in to be fitted for their uniform shirts and dug through massive piles of clothing at garage sales in search of black dress pants— not jeans. She procured one pair of black dress shoes from the bottom of the coat closet and one pair of black dress shoes from– on clearance, no less!– and she dug a pair of black socks from the recesses of an untidy underwear drawer and another from the rack at the dollar store, and she found that last elusive element– a pair of size-8 black pants–not jeans— hanging on the rack at Goodwill. And then she rested, for she had done well, and her children rose up and called her blessed, at least until she was late in getting dinner to the table again.

And then, two days before the first concert, disaster struck! In reading the 7,000th email sent from the choir about the uniform, she noticed something she had not noticed before– a line that said boys must have belts! Aghast, she emailed the director and asked if it were a requirement, and was dismayed at the response. For now, less than forty-eight hours before the day when the uniforms must be donned and the children must make their way onto stage, she was faced with the threat that they would not be allowed to perform if she did not acquire two black belts.

She begged on facebook, and she searched the thrift stores, but in the end she was forced to purchase two brand new belts for her sweet angels. In estimating their size, she erred, so that her knight in shining security guard gear had to punch two new holes in one of the belts to make it fit their oldest darling.

So it was, that the morning of the concert, the mother laid out two pale blue uniform shirts, two pairs of black dress pants, two pairs of black socks, two pairs of black dress shoes, two black belts, and two pairs of white Fruit of the Loom briefs*.  She supervised showers, helped with buttons and shirttails and buckles, slicked down hair, snapped proud pictures, and hurried everyone to the car in the pouring rain.

And of course the two little sugar dumplings did a wonderful job singing, but now you know the truth.

It was the mother, procurer of the uniforms, who was the real hero.

The End.

*Okay, I made that last part up; they don’t have to wear a certain kind of underwear. YET. But where does it end, I ask you? Where does it end?

14 thoughts on “The Uniforms

  1. I love this.

    I don’t really like shopping .. these things are always a struggle. The choir should applaud for all the frazzled moms .
    My son played rep hockey and they had to dress up to and from the dressing room . Growing boys. In exactly the same outfits you just described. Add on the coat too. Grr.

  2. That is a very draconian uniform policy! But take comfort in this: if they’re that firm about clothes how long do you think they’ll allow the denim jumpers to survive in rehearsal? Deliverance may be imminent.

  3. happy puppies.

    i am exhausted just thinking about the entire process.

    i would have tossed the choir option out the goodwill window, and had my p.j. wearing kids meet me in the bathroom (where thee is great acoustics), where i would have been their own maria von trap leading them in “do re mi.”

  4. Oh golly – you make me LAUGH!

    I think you are definitely a Hero. And, perhaps, I might not be quite ready for homeschooling. My rebellious nature would have made SURE i sent my kids in black jeans just to heckler her

    (forgive me father for I have sinned….)

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