This is my friend, the Shipwreck Sweatshirt.
I bought it about seven summers ago at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in the U.P. of Michigan. The museum is mostly devoted to the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior. Why I thought I wanted a sweatshirt commemorating a huge ship wreck disaster is beyond me. However, over the years, the sweatshirt “broke in” and became my most comfortable piece of clothing.
Normally I am not attached to clothes. I buy them, I discard them, I give them away to Goodwill; I don’t keep clothes long. But this sweatshirt? He became my friend.
There was something symbolic in the Great Lakes Shipwreck logo. I began wearing it when I felt like a shipwreck. Namely, this was after having a new baby and after having my dad die. After the babies are born, you’re slightly surprised and disappointed that they 1)do not weigh forty-five pounds and 2)they do not like sleep as much as you do. So the sweatshirt became my go-to outfit to comfort me in my tiredness.
After my dad died, the sweatshirt became my go-to outfit. My family got used to seeing me in it. I once wore it three days in a row. My father himself raised me to “keep it together” and yet, having been given a quick temper (by my father himself as well), there were days where the internal emotions were all a huge twisted ball of conflict. Somehow this sweatshirt was the only thing I could put on and zip up. The lowest point was one day when I wore the sweatshirt to IHOP. That’s low, my friends. I only wore it in public once. Because my dear friend was fraying at the edges and eventually lost the little pull on the zipper.
My mom bought me a new sweatshirt for Christmas last year, hoping I could set aside the Shipwreck. Didn’t work.
My husband started rolling his eyes when the Shipwreck came out. Didn’t work.
My SuperBoy said, Mommy, your sweatshirt is broken. Didn’t work.
The Shipwreck continued to wrap its comforting arms around me.But finally, I stared it in the eyes and I knew I was ready to move beyond the need for its comfort. So I did a test. I threw it on the laundry room floor and ignored it for the last three weeks. I wanted to see how I could do without it. I wanted to see if I had moved beyond the need for its love. And I did fine. I got grossed out that it was on the floor and wouldn’t be able to wear it anymore anyway. And, even though I’m being a bit facetious in this post, I knew that I didn’t need it’s comfort anymore. I was ready.
Ed note: I am not implying that I am no longer sad or quick tempered, I am just saying I’m ready to move beyond the love of a sweatshirt who is frayed and icky looking.