I was doing some closet tweaking the other day, removing items I no longer wear or no longer should wear - shopworn, torn, or otherwise unwearable and unfixable. My youngest was sitting on the makeup stool outside my closet spinning to infinity (antique piano stool) as I held up a particular top to assess.
Youngest: So are you gonna put that one in the charity pile?
Me: No WAY. This top is my most valuable top.
Youngest: Mom. It's a plain ol' tee shirt for girls. It's not SPECIAL or anything.
Me: Well, it's not valuable from a money perspective, and it's not special from a design perspective - it doesn't have embroidery or ruffles or an impressive brand name. That's for sure.
Youngest: See? Why don't you put it in the charity stack?
Me: Because I can wear this top with 3/4 of my wardrobe. It's the perfect top. I can wear it plain with shorts, with pants, or with a skirt. I can wear it under a cardigan, blazer, or poncho. I can belt it or not. I can put dressy jewelry or casual jewelry with it. The color is perfect. The style is perfect.
Youngest: You do wear it a lot.
Now, you might think from this description this should be some fabulous top, eh? Are you telling yourself you really need to see this top if it's all that?
Youngest is right. It's plain. Nondescript even. And I have one in every single color made.
THE most Valuable shirt in my closet
Doesn't look like much, right? Plain old sweetheart tee, right? Well. Everything about it is perfect. It has a v neck with a narrow satin trim. It's pinched at the bust and fitted at the waist. The sleeves are 3/4. It's soft knit. It's just the right length. It's washable. It goes in the dryer like a champ and comes out looking just like it did in the store the day I bought it. If I could only have two articles of clothing to my name, this would be one of them (in the pepper red).
I asked Youngest if he had any belongings like that- some material thing that didn't look like much by itself but really was a wonderful thing to have for many reasons.
"Well," he said, "I guess Legos don't look like anything but a plastic block, but I wouldn't much want to be without them."
Then he went on. "Plus. One of them by itself is kind of useless, but if you put it with a bunch of other ones it's very valuable. In fact, you could have a whole bunch of Legos and not be able to make anything out of them unLESS you had this one particular one. THAT happens sometimes."
So I started thinking about the things in my life that fit that description, and how you truly couldn't judge the worth of something just by glancing at it; just by making judgments from your first glance. It's really those things that are my most prize possessions. A garlic press doesn't look like much but I wouldn't want to be in a position to have to prepare a meal without one. Compression garments don't look like much but I wouldn't want to wear a sheath dress without one. My minivan looks like forty seven others just like it in the school parking lot, a hundred others just like it on any highway, and not at all the vehicle that would be my individual pick, but it is the PERFECT vehicle for the job at this point in my life.
The list goes on and on. This ink pen is fabulous. (But it's just a pen, y'moron. Yeah, I know you're thinkin' it.) But it is. Fabulous, not just a pen. Well it's that too but the point is this is four pens. In one. Fabulous. I tell you, the very folks that roll their eyes at my relationship with this pen are the SAME ones that ask to borrow it in meetings. "I need a red pen - anybody got - OOH. Caren has one."
My Dad has been using this pen ever since I can remember - and that's a lonnnng time ago. Decades. He understands the fabulousness of a nonfabulous looking item too.
So I'm easy to pleasy. Cheap date. Youngest is the same way. On any given Sursey Day I have many choices that will make Youngest happy for $4.00. Eldest and Hunky Hubby however, different story. For another post. "Hard to buy for" doesn't even begin to tell the story.
So I'm off to JoAnn. There's a $1.00 fabric bin to scavenge through.