The furnace guy came to service the furnace the other day.
Which would normally be no big deal – unless you’re me and have a dozen Rubbermaid totes full of dress -up clothes stacked in front of it that needed to be moved for access.
Yep. A dozen. That’s not including hats.
I will admit that as I pushed and pulled them all out of the way – I wondered if maybe my dress-up clothes were getting a bit out of hand.
I felt guilty for a few minutes when I saw how nice the basement looked without my massive collection.
But then I saw a post on Instagram of two adorable kids running around the room in costumes with the caption “What kids need today is more costumes and less screen”.
I felt instantly and immensely better.
Kids do need costumes. Not necessarily store bought fancy ones – but just an odd assortment of cast-off clothing that we call “dress-up clothes”.
A pair of bib overalls. A shiny silver shirt. A vintage prom dress. Hot pink platform heels. A leather vest. A plastic sword. Fake fur.
That’s the raw material the imagination needs to create and explore!
Oh the wonders that are hidden in a box of dress-up clothes!
Some of my earliest memories are of playing dress-up with my siblings both at home and in Grandma Griner’s upstairs bedroom. We would each find our favorites and set up our imaginary worlds under the sloped eaves.
The rule at grandma’s house was always that the dress-up clothes stayed upstairs. But when my mom became a grandma, that rule went out the window!
At her house, the dress-up clothes could go upstairs, downstairs, and even outside.
The grandchildren have spent hundreds of hours playing with the dress-up clothes, putting on shows, acting out stories and creating their imaginary worlds all over! There were wagon trains through the trees, princess tea parties on the lawn, and pirate ships on the trailer.
It was not unusual for one of the kids to dig through the piles as soon as they arrived until they found their favorite article and then wear it the rest of the weekend.
As a young college student I worked in a Daycare with the school age children after school and summers. One of the first things I put into my class room was a foot locker full of dress-up clothes that we would pull out every Friday morning and make a show or a play to perform for the other classrooms.
That same foot locker came home with me when I become a mom and it slowly expanded.
My kids spent hours pretending and dressing up and making stories.
Those dress-up clothes really got used as soon as Matt discovered that our digital camera could record movies. Some of the things they created at that time are priceless!
They introduced many friends to the power of a box of dress-up clothes.
I vividly remember one of their friends riding down the driveway on a skateboard wearing a bridesmaid dress from my college days. I don’t remember who she was pretending to be, but the grin on her face and sparkle in her eyes told me she was having a wonderful time!
Those same totes of dress-up clothes have been used for countless skits in Valentine Banquets and VBS.
And now that a grand baby is on the way, I have another generation to teach about the wonders of dress-up clothes.
I want pirates and princesses and firemen and cowboys.
I want to find a sunbonnet in the swing and a wooden sword in the sand pile.
I want to hear “Grandma, we made a show! Come and see!” And I will sit in wonder watching yet another generation explore create and imagine.
And someday I want my grand kids are going to say, “Do you you remember playing dress-up at grandma’s? Boy that was fun!”
No, I don’t think I have a costume problem.
I have a costume heritage to uphold.
The buckets stay.