My mom was a substitute teacher at my school when I was a kid. I don't remember having her as my substitute teacher very often except for the once, when I was acting up in class, she said, "Jeana Claudine Watters" in her mom-reprimanding voice in front of the entire class. I hung my head mortified as all the kids snickered. To this day, I still hate my middle name.
Another day, my mom was on recess-duty substitute teaching at my school. I had a good friend in first or second grade. She showed up for school that day in a frilly white ruffled, lacey blouse. I rarely got a top or dress that hadn't been worn by both my sisters so having a pretty new blouse was a completely foreign feeling to me. But here she was, all dressed up in her special blouse. And there I was standing in my twice handed-down, faded and tattered top.
At noon recess, I saw my mom standing beside my friend, so I joined them.
My mom gushed, "Oh, Jeana, don't you just love her blouse?"
I looked over at my friend with her ruffles and her happy, feeling-special smile. Then I looked back at my mom who was the source of my faded and tattered unhappiness. Then I replied, "I think it's ugly!" and ran off.
I don't remember much what happened next. I don't remember apologizing, but I'm sure my mom made me. She most certainly hung her head mortified as she and my friend watched me run off. I know I never saw the blouse again. She and I never were very close friends into middle and high school. Maybe that one rude comment was the end of the friendship, probably not. But I still feel regret for the way I acted. I'm sure I did love the blouse she was wearing and wished someone would once-in-my-life tell me they loved my t-shirt. I think this story is part of the reason I'm obsessed with my kids being well-dressed. I don't blame my mom. I know she did the best she could with what she had. But still, I love (and relish) when someone compliments my kids' clothes.