BY: Lynne Michel Blackburn Ed. D

My daughter started middle school this year and came home one day with her first gym suit for her physical education class. Looking at the shirt and shorts I thought to myself, “Wow, they really haven’t changed much from when I had a gym uniform.” With explicit directions from my daughter I was told that she needed to write her name on the gym shirt and shorts so that if lost they would know who the uniform belonged to. She insisted that the name be written in marker. I stopped her immediately and told her that I had something better than marker. Iron-on name-tags! I had purchased the name-tags for her years ago with high hopes of ironing them on everything, her dance leotard, ski coat, snow boats, bathing suit, the list of great iron-on dreams went on and on. “Finally,” I bragged, “the iron-on name-tags will be put to good use, and it will be way better than plain old marker. Plus, the other kids will be impressed with how cool the iron-on label will look.” Reluctantly my daughter handed me her gym shorts and left the room.
Quick as a wink, I got out my barely-used-by-me iron, plugged it in, lined up the pretty label, quickly read through the directions for dummies, and placed the iron on the shorts. In a second I discovered my mistake, and the rain of my embarrassment flooded the room. The iron had melted the gym shorts and a very large hole stared back at me! The iron-on label hung on for dear life to the small piece of remaining material not melted to the iron. I held up the pair of shorts as my husband laughed hysterically behind me.
There has been a long-standing joke between my husband and I that ironing was not my forte. We have been married for 20 years and my husband discovered long ago that if he wanted his shirts to look professional, going to the dry cleaners was his best option. Though I have tried on numerous occasions to improve my skills in the department of ironing, to no avail I just haven’t been successful. When growing up it was my mother who ironed my clothes, then in college my friend Jamie graciously ironed those article of clothing I needed pressed. Once I was married and my husband saw my ironing flaws he took over the duties of the ironing board.
Now my poor daughter had become my next victim in my scandalous history of ironing. When I showed her the shorts I pleaded, “You know I’m not any good at ironing or let alone sewing. I am so sorry. I will write a note to your gym teacher, she will understand”. The rain of embarrassment continued to fall as I wrote the following:
Dear Gym Teacher,
I am not as dumb as this looks. I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to use the iron-on name-tags that I purchased years ago, even though my daughter insisted that her name needed to be written in marker. Ironing and sewing has never been my thing so I would appreciate it if I could please purchase a new pair of gym shorts for my daughter.
With much regret,
Mrs. B.
The next day my daughter took the pair of shorts to her gym teacher who burst out laughing when she read my note. She gave my daughter a new pair of gym shorts, free of charge, and said, “I am going to keep these shorts to show other parents, what not to do when putting your child’s name on their gym uniform!”
With that rainstorm of embarrassment behind me, my daughter came home today with a filed trip permission slip from her social studies teacher. Before I knew it my four-month-old puppy grabbed the paper and was shredding it to pieces quicker than you can say “banana”. Apparently he thinks hiking the Appalachian Trail is a good field-trip for him to attend. I will need to excuse myself now while I tape back together all the little pieces of ripped up permission slip paper. It might be difficult to do since the paper is wet from all the rain of my embarrassment!


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