A black Quiksilver jacket. Skinny black jeans. T-shirt with splatter paint design. Chain necklace with dog tags. Leather bracelet.
It was a killer outfit. The only problem: It wasn't mine. It was my six-year-old's.
Why is it exactly that we want better for our kids than ourselves? So they can make us look sad and frumpy by comparison?
About six months ago, Brandy and I decided that Jackson was old enough to pick out his own clothes for school. As it turns out, he's got great taste. Every morning he comes downstairs, and looks like a supercool teenager hit by a shrink ray, like a Kings of Leon action figure (actual size). And we're not shopping at designer kids boutiques. It's just that he has a trendy streak, something I never had.
In full disclosure, my mom was my stylist for a loooong time. And she indulged my love of bright colors. My brother often joked that my style was somewhere between the Joker and Sinbad. It wasn't until my freshmen year of high school that I realized just how bad I looked. It was school picture day, and I was waiting in line when someone yelled, "Hey look, it's a green bean." Somehow, it was only in that moment that I realized what I was wearing: green pants, green shirt, green tie. What the hell was going on? Was my mom was taking fashion tips from canned vegetable pitchmen?
Even now it's a struggle for me. Brown belt with black shoes? Bingo. Pin-stripe shorts and a plaid shirt? Sounds hot! I'm a walking Rorschach, a human quilt of carpet swatches, an extra in a Color Me Badd video. These days, I stick mostly to grey and black, because they're the easiest things to match.
I guess we do want better for our kids than for ourselves. But in this case, my mentoring and guidance has nothing to do with him being better. He's just a more evolved version of me. His DNA has taste. His genes are black, not acid-washed.