Saturday, December 10, 2011

How Small Were We?

Last evening on the way home from the movie theatre my wife and I chose to stop at the Leesburg outlet center to see if Gymboree had restocked its shelves. The day before she had been to Gymboree hoping to find something for her two nieces (aged five and two) and two nephews (ten and eight years old). What she found were nearly empty shelves.

We found stocked shelves and only a few patrons – precisely what my mental health needs while Christmas shopping.

Not being a parent, children’s clothing has never been a priority for me. And though my varied travels have brought me in contact with a wide range of people, never among them anyone involved in designing children’s clothing. In fact, aside from recognizing that children usually don’t run around naked I’ve hardly thought of children's clothing over the fifty years since I stopped wearing it.

It turns out some of it is cute: little girls’ t-shirts that say “Sweet & SASSY” and chest-covering depictions of T-Rex on shirts for boys for instance. Now my mother would have died before letting my sister wear a “Sweet & SASSY” shirt even if “sassy” were in lower case or merely a footnote. And Hiroko wasn’t at all convinced that her ten-year old nephew would like a giant dinosaur on his clothes. I know she is wrong about this, but Christmas is no time to declaim that men come from Mars at a very young age.

But the real eye-opening discovery of my first ever trip to Gymboree was finding such small clothes. At one point I stood thunderstruck that a boy’s shoulders could fit in the narrow gap between the sleeves. Fold one of the little girl’s shirts once or twice and it would fit in a pocket. My hands, nothing noteworthy in my keyboard-using profession, looked huge over the seat of those empty blue jeans.

The young people wearing those little clothes are literally in our huge hands whether we be parents or Uncle and Auntie. Juxtaposing the power in our hands against the delicacy of those tiny bodies reinforces the responsibility to treat them with reverence. For within each of those small frames God has placed a delicate spirit depending upon us and preparing to shape our unfolding world.

1 comment:

Dixiane Hallaj said...

Having recently gone shopping for infant clothes for my new grandson, I had to smile at this.

Yes, their size emphasizes their vulnerability and our responsibility.