Yesterday my older son and I went out for our training run. It was 40 degrees F when I went to get him from his dad’s at 7:15 am, and as we were running we were talking about how cold it was, and how lucky we felt to have our warm fleeces. (And then he told me about the Spartans battling the Persians, and what their armor was made of. He likes history.)
Later, as I watched him walk to school in his warm coat, I thought about how much colder it will be in a few months and the kids in cold Michigan that don’t have warm coats, and whose parents don’t have the money to buy a coat this year. And how it must feel to be one of those parents, who are going to stretch last year’s coat with its too-short sleeves, or have their child layer on as many shirts as possible to try to stay warm, because it’s a choice between a new coat and food, or a new coat and heat in the house. I asked the secretary of the kids’ new school if there were kids in the school who wouldn’t have warm coats for the winter, or if that wasn’t something the school population saw. She said there are kids in our school whose parents are struggling, a lot, and who won’t have coats.
I just spent the last month living with my parents. I’ve been working on a post about how it felt to have support for that month, but I’m having a hard time because it was so transformative for me to be there. Constant help, and constant encouragement, and a soft place to land. After being alone for so long, and struggling financially for a lot of that time, it was, well, I just can’t even figure out how to say it. It makes me tear up. And I wish every parent who knows what it’s like to tell your kids you already ate when you didn’t could have that same soft place to land.
I was so happy when Old Navy showed its support for all kinds of families by selling “It Gets Better” shirts over the summer, and impressed that when I emailed them to tell them I appreciated their support for families they sent a personalized response within a few hours. I like that it’s a place I can buy clothes my kids and I are excited to wear at prices I can afford that doesn’t exclude my friends and their families. I like that their clothes are cut to fit real people. I liked that when I was pregnant I could find things to wear there that made me feel good about myself without going into debt to buy the clothes. So it makes me really happy that they’ve given me the chance to go into their store and shop and talk about what I bought.
I took the gift card they gave me and bought three really warm, cool stylish winter coats with hoods: the Boys Frost Free Color-Block Jackets. I bought two in Black Jack (black with grey trim), and one in Blue Tango (blue with grey and black trim). My kids loved them, and helped me pick them out, and deemed them cool. (Although they used some other word. Maybe “beasting”? Apparently “no one says ‘cool’ anymore, Mom.”) This morning I took the three coats Old Navy gave me to our school secretary, to give to kids whose parents don’t have the money to buy coats.
I can’t give anyone the experience of having a month to regroup and get their feet under them again while they eat their mothers’ cookies. But I can use Old Navy’s generosity to take one thing off the burden of a few parents this winter.
Disclaimer 1: While we were at Old Navy we also bought a bunch of other stuff. Socks, because we always need socks. And the 2 for $30 jeans, which is an amazing deal, especially since my boys seem to sprout up overnight. It amuses me how specific they both are about the style and wash of jeans they’ll wear. My younger one is turning into quite the clothes horse, and begged for this hoodie and then put it on immediately and pranced around like he was Justin Bieber.
Disclaimer 3: Legal made me write Disclaimer 2, obviously, but if you click on the links in Disclaimer 2, it will take you to a printable coupon you can use to get 30% off one item in the store. See, it does pay to stay for the credits.