I'm taking a moment to lighten my mood, and my writing, by doing what always makes me feel better: concentrating on Josh.
One of the things I love most about him, besides his unfailing loyalty and infectious laugh, is his unique sense of self. He has never had any problem deciding what he likes. From clothes to music, from food to television/movies, he's got an opinion and he's not afraid to express it.
I've always been lucky with him when it comes to the latest fads or fashion trends. He could care less about labels on clothes, he'd much rather shop at Goodwill where he's more likely to find something "cool." No need to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest sneaker like some kids... if they remind him of a particular rock star or wrestling personality, they're great!
He has a collection of wigs that he wears. It doesn't matter if he's at home with me, or going out to get blood work done. If he's in the mood for Dee Snyder hair, then Dee Snyder it is and the rest of us better accept it. Dollar Tree sunglasses? You bet! The crazier the better. USA and guitars are perfect!
The only problem is, as a mother, what do I do about the stares and comments? Personally, I'm 100% for letting him be his own person. That doesn't mean I'm not worried about how it looks sometimes. It doesn't mean I don't try to help him make good choices.
For example, Josh has never really developed a sense of temperature. He will wear a leather coat in mid-summer because he's on a Grease phase. Three sets of gloves, strategically mutilated to show as layers on his hands are a fashion statement, not a problem when we're sweating at a high school football game. I have to point out that long sleeves or fleece may not be the best choice for 90 degree weather. Usually in cases like these I can calmly suggest that he step outside and see what it feels like. That usually does the trick. But last week, at the football game I mentioned, even though he was complaining about it being hot, he did NOT want to take off his gloves for anything.
He loves everything from country to rap and can usually beat me at "Name that band" in the car. His favorite genre is '80's rock. (thank goodness) Which in his world applies to everything from Rick Springfield to Whitesnake. He can also tell you all the lyrics to just about every Lynyrd Skynyrd song.
Michael Jackson? Forget about it!
As much as I love his independence and style, there are times that I wonder about the big picture. Does allowing him to assert his personality in the form of sometimes outrageous clothing appear to some as 'overindulgence?' Does it feed into negative stereotypes? Should I even worry about setting an example or 'fitting in?' I don't know.
I've never been 'in style' myself. In school I was called old-fashioned. Now, I wear what is comfortable to me. Yes, there's a twinge of embarrassment sometimes when we go to leave the house. Then I think, ok bud! It's your choice. (That's a mantra we use). It's been hard work convincing him that he is capable and allowed to make his own choices. He didn't get that in his teenage years like most of us did. His clothes and hairstyle are the one area where it looks like I've succeeded.
So what do you think?