Quite a few years ago, when my children were small, I read a little anecdote in a national magazine. It was about a little boy who was learning to dress himself. He struggled to make sure his little underpants were facing the right way. Then he sat down on the floor and stuck his little legs into his equally small pants. From pulling his shirt over his head to putting on his shoes and socks, everything required intense concentration and much fumbling with his little fingers. At the end of about 15 minutes, he looked at his mother and asked, “Am I going to have to do this every day for the rest of my life?”
I’m sure his mother told him that it gets easier every time he does it. I certainly would have. In fact, I probably did say that to my own children, because, when they were adults, I never had to help them get dressed. They may not have dressed to my liking, but I didn’t need to get involved.
While it may get easier for children, sometimes it gets harder for parents. As a case in point, there was the time my neighbor gave me a garbage bag full of clothes that she thought would fit my daughter. One piece of clothing especially caught my eye. It was a little jumper-style overall. It was bright green, with a red and yellow plaid. I could hardly wait until she was big enough to wear it.
Finally, it was a cool day, as I was helping her get ready for kindergarten. I had got her a long-sleeved pullover to put under the jumper. It went on just fine. However, when she saw the jumper, she said she was not going to wear it. I tried to convince her that it was pretty and she would look nice in it, but she didn’t care.
I began to assert my authority and physically put it on her legs. She kicked and squirmed, making it very difficult for me to get it on her. The school bus would be coming soon and I had no other outfit ready for her to wear that day. I was becoming desperate.
I pleaded with her, that if she would only wear the jumper that day, she wouldn’t have to wear the outfit again. With a sultry look on her fact, she agreed. She only needed to wear them for half a day, after all.
She was in no better mood when she came home. She raced up to her room, took off her beautiful little outfit and threw it on the floor and shouted, “There! I’m never going to wear that again!” And she didn’t.
But, things got easier for her, as she learned to dress herself and I learned to respect her taste in fashion.
My brother is 90 years old and lives in an assisted living home. Just like the little boy, whose story was told in the magazine, getting dressed is a challenge for him. Sometimes, he needs a little help. It was easier for him, before it got harder.
In life, as with getting dressed, things are hard to do before they get easy and then get hard again. It can have us going around in circles, except, maybe the people who have it easy should help the people who have it hard.
Dorothy has recently published a book, “Miles and Miracles”, and it can be purchased on Amazon and Kindle, and is now available at 512 Main in Knox, PA. Her email address is: dorothybutzknight@gmail. com