The Dignity of a Funny Costume


The other day we went to a neighborhood BBQ. The girl across the street, who is a bit older than T, came over earlier in the day and convinced him that all the kids at the party would be wearing costumes. He insisted on dressing like a triceratops, of course.

You see where this is going, right? We arrived and he was the only one dressed up. My stomach dropped. When things like this happen to T, it triggers deep memories in me of being made a fool of as a child. I get really angry, mostly about my inability to protect him from these sorts of experiences.

A friend of mine turned to T and said, “Oops! She tricked you!”

Under my breath, I said, “Well don’t tell him that if he hasn’t figured it out.”

He was like, “What? OH!”

He got it. He stood in the doorway in his big green costume, looked around and let it register for a moment. Then he smiled his huge Tariku smile and said, “I don’t care because I’m SCARY! ROAR!”

He kept that outfit on the whole night. He roared and danced around and got everyone screaming and laughing. He’s been displaying a real knack for physical comedy lately. Scott says he’s like a little Charlie Chaplin. He stands in front of the mirror and does little dances, talks in silly voices, makes funny faces.

Tariku instinctively knows that being the one stuck in the dinosaur costume makes you the fool, yes, but it also can make you the star if you play it right.

When he finally got too hot in the costume, he took it off and lovingly brought it to me to hold, saying that he didn’t want to put it on the floor where people could step on it.

I thought he handled the situation with tremendous dignity. I felt so proud of his fierce, funny soul.

And I love that he thinks this costume is scary.

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2 thoughts on “The Dignity of a Funny Costume

  1. Hi Jill, I just finished your book Some Girls, within about a day and a half, and I gotta tell you… I loved it!! You are so real and articulate. As a girl who left home @ the age of 15 and hasn’t quit working since, (I’m 5I) I could relate to being on your own so young. I too had to face an abortion, the guilt etc.. at age 15 and also giving up my baby boy @ 20. We are good friends and he’s an amazing man. His adopted mom and I were really great friends. I’m so glad you got to meet your birth mom. So important, but you were right, the woman who raised you was your true mom.I’ve thought of writing my own story, but am afraid. Afraid that I’ll be judged by people that are close to me but don’t know my story, (my mom died when I was 9, that’s a whole story in itself!), and afraid that my 14 yr. old son will think different of his mom. I’m usually the tough, strong one, but wow, too expose all of my insecurities, not sure. Anyways, thanks for sharing your story.
    I am going to go get your newest book. Thanks again for sharing. You look to be doing fine and have a beautiful family. Much respect and adoration, Susan

  2. Boy does this story bring up fun memories, jk! Sounds like the older girl across the street is working her way towards “frenemy” status. If I had a quarter and saved it for every time I met a similar “tricking” when I was young, my son would have a sizeable inheritance by now, lol. Deeply inspiring and educational how T handled the situation. I want to keep this story in my mind’s file with the hope I can quickly retrieve it should the occassion rise!

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