July 22, 2013 by

I wish I could be the cool and fashionably late gal. But as it turns out, my body doesn’t process late or fashionable. There’s just one thing I put off until the last minute: buying school clothes. Aside from my disdain for clothes shopping, there’s reason in waiting until the very last minute—my kids grow, and they grow fast.

Being a six-footer since I was 12, you’d think I’d be completely aware of fast-growing kids. But just a glance at my kids’ feet and I’m overwhelmed. “Growth spurt” in our house isn’t so much the adolescent years as much as an incessant lifetime.

When I was a kid, school clothes shopping was a time-honored tradition a few weeks before school started. Not the case here. One look at my kids and their clothes, a slight calculation of weather not cooling down for a few more months, and we’re the chumps who wait for the first snowfall to go from flip flops and shorts to boots and pants.

If I buy my kids jeans for school, in August, they are guaranteed to be wearing said jeans as capris—maybe even Bermuda shorts—by October. Shoes are a crapshoot; they are updated when toes poke through the shoe.

Lucy needed a different color dance shoe than she had for her recital. Much to the chagrin of the dance teacher, who I promised I’d get the shoes, I waited until the week before the recital. Sure enough, when I took Lucy to get new shoes, she was sporting a full-size bigger than her current shoe.

Even with all those clothes and sizes in all those stores, with all of the updated fashion and technology, any mom with a kid of any shape or size has a hard time finding clothes that fit.

Factor in the new adventure of tween mood swings (I’ve passed down my bad attitude of clothes shopping) and the shopping experience is doomed to fail. There’s just something “unfun” about relentless reps of fiddling through racks of clothes, finding something both the kids and I like, finding their size, the right color, and then the calisthenics of oddly disrobing in an open-aired, quasi-private dressing room. You do all that, pull it on, and then it’s too short. So you get all your clothes back on, trek back out to the rack of clothes, find the next size, back to the dressing room, off with the clothes, on with the new find, and it’s long enough but too baggy. Tack on the fact that my kids now sport adult sizes. Finding age-appropriate clothes in adult sizes makes me feel like I’m Bear Grylls looking for food in the desert. Except my task is way harder.

So we wait. We wait on our shopping attitudes to change and for the weather to chill. The weather happens first. We’re still waiting on attitudes. A promise of mall food and a cookie can only buy so much time. Be assured, when we finally go, we get to the stores early. I’ve patiently waited until far into the school year to buy the kids’ school clothes. We go in, we try everything on, we find what fits and what the grumpy tweens like, and we buy everything in that size, style, and color.

The kids arrive to school fashionably late with their school clothes that fit…at least for a few weeks.

Read more of Murrell’s stories at momontherocks.com.

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