Last Sunday, my son emerged from the bedroom in a state of distress. "Mommy! I don't have any pajamas! Again!"
"Um." (Ducking head)
Yep, that was me, not doing laundry for . . .well . . . I couldn't remember when the last load I did was. But I had every good intention of doing laundry, considering I'd had this conversation with my son the night before. We'd resorted to an undershirt and a pair of basketball shorts that weren't that dirty.
I'd feel like a utter failure of a mom if I put my kid to bed in his underwear. And the dirty jeans he'd been chasing chickens in weren't any better.
And then, oh brilliance of brilliant, I had an idea.
Pajamas? Who needs pajamas? I think I wore an old t-shirt of my dad's to bed most of my life, and not because I didn't have pajamas either. It was preference. Something about a t-shirt that belonged to Mom or Dad was the ultimate comfort.
Kneeling in my closet, I pulled a black t-shirt my husband got from work off the shelf and presented it to him with all the excitement of someone who's about to share the best secret in the world.
My son eyed me with nervous skepticism.
"Let's put this on. Mommy wore her parent's t-shirts all the time when she was a little girl."
He likes stories about when I was a little girl, so he allowed me to undress him and slip the shirt over his head.
He stood there downing in the thing and gaped at his naked legs. "Without pants?"
A conversation commenced in my head. "JoLyn, what have you done? Your child is five and has never worn an old t-shirt to bed? You are seriously depriving him of essential childhood experiences! Forget the laundry! This should have happened years ago!"
"Yes, without pants." I talked him into the living room where he sat in my lap for prayers, automatically pulling his knees up under the shirt. I smiled to myself. Yes. There was hope. He'd already figured out the number one perk of a big t-shirt; curling up inside it.
We prayed and I sent him to brush his teeth. He stopped by his dad, his face perplexed.
"Daddy, Mommy says she wore a t-shirt to bed when she was a little girl." He spoke in a tone that said, "I think mom might be crazy. Maybe you'd better hear what she's been saying." He tugged at the shirt, looking down the front to his belly-button. "I don't have any pants."
My husband didn't miss a beat. "Well sure, Daddy used to wear a big t-shirt to bed all the time."
A smile of sheer relief lit up his face. "I didn't know you wore a t-shirt to bed when you were a little boy!"
Finally at peace with this strange experience, my son consented to go to bed. He then proceeded to wear the t-shirt the following nights, even after I'd washed his pajamas.
All told, I think my tendency to forget the laundry turned out for the best. I've spent so much time looking for pajamas with the right qualifications; price, size, color, favorite action hero. With all that I neglected to give him this simple childhood experience.
Lucky for me I have another weakness to be thankful for.