They are old, out of style and have a few ground-in stains (probably the result of missing my mouth too many times trying to shove food into it). I usually wear them on cold days when I just wanna throw something on to keep me warm, or if I am feeling under the weather and just want to hide in something comfortable.
There is nothing fashionable about either of them.
They have served me well and I have owned them for about 20 years. Sometimes, I forget that I even have them until I go digging into my armoire and re-discover them.
I am talking about two zip-up Roots sweatshirts circa late 1980’s early 1990’s. I bought them when everyone in the world was buying them. If you owned a Roots product you were trendy and hip and cool. I bought them because they were comfortable and I liked their washed-out look.
Since the weather has turned cool and we are in the middle of fall, I have brought my terry-cloth bathrobe and these two old sweatshirts out of hibernation and seem to be living in them these days; alternating between blue and green so that people will think that I am not wearing the same article of clothing every day.
However, this time around, my 13 and and 10 year old have discovered my beat-up old Roots sweatshirts and want to wear them or sleep with them.
I am a big guy so I typically buy my clothing in XXL size. You can probably imagine how my sweatshirts look on my two young daughters, especially my 10 year old. My sweatshirt looks like a full length dress on Annie…she is absolutely swimming in it.
But, have they fallen in love with my blue and green friends because they help warm them up on cool fall evenings? Lord knows, my kids have many other clothing options from which to choose to keep them warm on a cool night.
Why are they so keen on stealing my clothes all of a sudden?
This morning, I found out why, as I was walking Annie to school. I was wearing my green Roots sweatshirt as we were walking arm and arm around the corner and up the block to school. Annie’s little head was pressed against my left arm and it felt like she was wrapped around me.
She leaned in, buried her face in the sleeve of my sweatshirt and took a very deep breath in…as if she was almost trying to snort the sleeve up her little nose.
“I love the smell of your sweatshirt, Daddy”, she said to me after letting out a deep exhale, making a sound similar to a sigh of relief or pleasure after finishing a delicious meal.
I asked her what my sweatshirt smelled like. She said, “it smells like you”.
I figured it out.
I then realized why they like to wear my sweatshirts around the house or actually sleep with them like a blanket…its because these old sweatshirts remind them of me.
What an amazing thing to experience as a father of two girls that he is completely, head over heals in love with.
But, then again, the sense of smell is a pretty powerful and intoxicating thing. It stirs up memories (some good and some bad), taking us back to times and places in our lives that meant something to us. It reminds us of people; its almost like a drug.
I remember when my wife and I were dating, she used to wear a certain perfume that was extremely fragrant. Not only would my car smell like her after we parted ways but if we embraced at all before we said goodbye, her scent would cling to my clothes and remind me of her every time I smelled my shirt collar.
I love the fact that my kids like to wear my sweatshirts or occasionally sleep with them. My sweatshirts have become something that keeps them safe and warm because that is how they perceive me…someone who will keep them safe, warm and truly loved.
Its funny how they both like my sweatshirts…good thing I own two!