I like wearing your clothes when you’re not around

Jim stands outside West Eggleston dorm

Today I dropped my only son off at Virginia Tech for his last year of college. These are the times when I feel so very happy and so very sad all at the same time and I wonder how my heart can hold this much emotion and not burst from the weight.

Before I left town, we did a little shopping. In addition to making the usual Walmart run of microwavable coffee, cleaning products, and a few odds and ends we forgot to pack, we made a stop at the t-shirt store near campus to buy him a new hooded jacket. See, I had a clever plan to buy him a new hoodie so I can have his old one.

And now I’m wearing his old jacket, wrapping myself in it like a hug.

I own hand-me-down clothing from other folks I love: a sweater that once belonged to my father, a shirt from my mom, jeans from my sister, and other bits and pieces of loved ones living and dead. I always feel close to the original owner when I wear them. The clothes even smell better than my regular clothes. These clothes feel like love to me.

And I definitely feel the hug.