As a big brother I never had to deal with hand me downs. I sent plenty of items of clothing down the sibling chain, but items never went in the opposite direction. My brother had to wear a lot of clothes that were clean and comfortable, but maybe a little too big.
Likewise, T2 ends up with a lot of T1’s old stuff. Not just clothes, but toys and games as well. There is a funny negotiating thing that happens between them. T2 will find some old toy of T1’s he wants. It will almost always be something that T1 hasn’t touched in years. Realistically, T2 could just pick it up and play with it, but T2 is all about ownership rights. He’ll take the toy to T1 and makes his case for its transfer of possession, a petition which usually is a variation on the argument that T1 has abandoned it. T1 will grouse for a while, they will argue back and forth and then, grudgingly, T1 will give his permission. At this point T2 will never touch whatever it is again.
It used to be that clothes were spared this but I’m not sure that they won’t be included in the haggling in the future. T1 has become quite a clothes horse. He is very concerned with how he looks. We’ve had as many conversations about the fit of his football pants (practically unacceptable, apparently) as we have about run blocking. His current favorite items, the way he really chooses to exhibit his sartorial splendor, are socks. He and all of his classmates wear these long, ridiculous, heavy socks. They come up to his knees. He wears them with Nike sandals, which the kids all call “slides” because you can slide them on and off. It makes him look like he should be playing shuffleboard at St. Petersburg retirement community.
R, the well mannered and amusingly erudite for a first grader next-door-neighbor-best-buddy-of-T2 worships T1. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we were all brothers?” he said one day as all three of them played Minecraft. I really like R, for a lot of reasons but not the least of which is because he reminds me of my best friend growing up, my next door neighbor David. The first day of school R showed up to the bus stop wearing big, heavy socks pulled up to his knees.
We support T1’s sock habit up to a point. The expensive ones, he saves his money and buys for himself. We are talking $18 pairs of socks here which, with tax, comes out to almost 50% of the average (in this case) 13 year-olds monthly income. Maybe a little less because my parents have been shooting the boys $10 or so on the sly about once a month.
One time when I was in seventh grade, my dad drove me to Toys R’ Us, where I bought the Lucasarts computer game Maniac Mansion for my Commodore 64. The C-64 was the greatest home PC ever produced and Lucasarts, the computer game company owned and run by George Lucas, made some of my favorite games of all time. This was 1987 or so and the purchase cost $24. My dad was shocked and asked why I would spend so much money on a game.
“You’re right, dad,” I said. “I guess I could spend the money on drugs.”
He allowed that Maniac Mansion was probably a better choice.
I tell this story to explain why I am not overly critical of his decision as to how he spends his money.
He is fiercely protective of these socks and I suspect that he will wear them out long before it comes time to hand them down.
His “slides” he also takes meticulous care of. He doesn’t wear them in bad weather or to places where they might get dirty. He had a pair over the summer that came back in excellent condition, just too small for his constantly growing feet. We bought him a new pair and the old ones were handed down.
They are clean and very comfortable.
They are maybe a little too big.