“Dean in Boots.”
That is Dean’s new title: “Dean in Boots.” Or at least it’s what we’ve been calling him for the past month. (“Dean in Boots, dinner!” “Dean in Boots, get in the car!” “Hey! Be nice to Dean in Boots!”)
Why? Because he has adopted Kate’s old pair of faux suede black boots, 5 sizes too big, and wears them everyday, everywhere. After all, black boots go with everything. They are his mark of power. Regular, little old sneakers are emasculating. Heroes don’t wear sneakers. They wear boots. Think about it: Knights, musketeers, Jedis, cowboys, Superman…All boots. Even when this two year old puts on the rest of his clothes inside out and backwards, the big black boots make such an intimidating statement, you don’t dare correct him.
In fact, it’s June and Luke, my 4 year old, still slips on his black snow boots everyday for that same reason: The statement. But Luke dons something more in addition to the boots: The Jedi Knight Tunic. Remember when I told you Andy sewed him up a brown flannel Jedi Knight tunic for Christmas, complete with thrift store belt? The ensemble hasn’t had a day off since. It’s a very manly, stately look on him too. He gets lots of compliments wherever we go and he’s always amazed how complete strangers seem to know his name. (“Hey, nice outfit Luke Skywalker!”) He won’t even wear shorts or short-sleeve shirts, because who was the last hero you saw wearing shorts and a t-shirt?
Their other favorite accessories include a reversible Superman/Batman cape my sister made for them, and a fire engine red knight tunic my mother bought while touring castles in northern Europe. These get lots of wear too- good for playing at the park or dashing off to Costco, and they pair fabulously with boots. Of course.
But whatever you do, don’t giggle and go, “awwww” when you see my darling tow headed heroes in costume. They’ll get mad. These aren’t costumes. They aren’t dressing up this way to be cute. This is how heroes dress, and they are heroes, end of story. Nobody laughed at Superman in that ridiculous getup, so why is that grandma on the elevator stifling a nostalgic chuckle at them?!
I don’t know when it will end. I know there is an age when boys get beat up for wearing stuff like this, but it’s not this age. It’s not now. And one day, their raw strength won’t need a costume to define it. They will be men. Big, strong, taller than me, men. One day.
But as for now, I still wear the boots in this family. At least, I like to think I do.