I usually don’t check the mail box. Either Olivia and Grandpa do it after school or the “Sarg” does it when he comes home. I guess I don’t check myself because whatever is out there will still be there when others who love to check the mail go looking for it. I am the mail sorter, disposer and the bill payer in the house but, somehow, when it’s sitting in the mail box, it is out of sight and out of mind…. mine anyway. So, the other day, for no particular reason, I decided to check the mail box. And there, tucked behind several pieces of direct mail (I don’t call it junk because [a] I used to be in the business and [b] if properly targeted, it’s not junk to the interested receiver) was a brand new pair of bright pink water shoes in exactly Olivia’s size! BONUS!
Recognizing this was an anonymous hand-me-down gift I’d like to thank the giver (Joanne, I know it’s you) for the brand new hand-me-downs that apparently didn’t fit your daughter when you unpacked your summer holdovers this year. Olivia and I appreciate it more than you know. She loves them and has barely taken them off! And, it saves me money and a trip to the store. Thanks so much.
Obviously, with twins you need twice the clothes and then some, I think. That’s because you’re more busy chasing two same-age children around (yes, that does make it a little different than chasing 2 different age children). Or maybe that’s just my excuse for getting less laundry done! Regardless, we welcome hand-me-downs with open arms for the boys and for my old soul who loves recycled clothing because she HATES shopping (almost as much as I do). Seasonally, we receive clothing for the kids from multiple sources AND we pass on our outgrown clothing to other children in the neighborhood as well. We call it the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” because often well made, well preserved clothing make more than one round through a family from older sibling to neighbor and back to a younger sibling. I don’t even know when or how it started. Seems like it has just always been so. Personally, I don’t understand those parents who wouldn’t let their children be caught dead wearing “used” clothing. Half the jeans these days are hole-y (not holy) and worn out on purpose. So, you’re PAYING for the manufacturers to figure out a way to fake the wear. Why not wear the real McCoy? And, with just one wear, your brand new $50 size 2T jeans are also “used”, so what’s the difference? Not to mention that little ones grow so quickly and wear their clothes for such a short time (if at all — we’re often handed down brand-new-with-tags clothing items like the pink water shoes) they couldn’t possibly wear them out to the point of uselessness. It only makes sense to share. Besides, it keeps perfectly good clothing from filling up our dumps and further polluting our world.
For those who don’t have Traveling Pants benefactors, freecyclers (http://my.freecycle.org/) are constantly giving away bagfuls of children’s clothing in your area. So, if you’re looking to pick up or pass on some gently used clothing, join Freecycle or donate to your local thrift shop. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the seasonal yard/garage sales. 2 summer’s ago, I accidentally happened upon not one, but TWO yard sales selling twin boy clothing in like-new condition. How’s that for karma? I bought up a bunch of stuff in slightly larger sizes and have them stored in plastic bins marked by size and season until the boys fit into them. Garage sales, thrift shops and Freecycle are great places to pick up gently-used, age-appropriate clothes as well as toys and games for the kids. Remember, all children grow up and out of this stuff too soon. Why not share it with others instead of tossing it in the trash? Especially in today’s economy, there are many families — my own included — who are working hard to make ends meet. Why have your neighbors spend their hard-earned money on brand new items when yours will fit the bill — or children — perfectly? That’s not to say I don’t have to fill in the gaps with personal wardrobe essentials but I certainly couldn’t afford to buy or dress my kids in some of the clothing we’ve been gifted via the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I am ever so grateful. And, my kids look good to boot!
One of the boys’ therapists even commented once that Brian and Michael had the nicest wardrobe she’d ever seen on toddlers. “All hand-me-downs”, I informed her. We’ve been very lucky to have a couple of generous benefactors with very well-dressed twin boys.
Choosing to GIVE when you don’t have to; to strangers; to neighbors; when it’s easier to throw it in the trash is a beautiful gift for those on the receiving end as well as for the giver (not to mention the fact that the earth and all it’s inhabitants benefit from this practice too). So, many many thanks to all my Angels Amongst Us in our “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”, for all the beautiful clothing you have knowingly or anonymously passed on to us. (Jen, Joanne, Caren and more) And, thanks to all of you who receive our gently used clothing for you have afforded me the gift of giving to others (and saving the earth in my own little way). I hope you are as happy receiving the traveling pants as I have been.