Gender issues arise when gloves fall into wrong hands


The cold is here. I keep trying to find things to enjoy about our extreme cold weather. But I may as well learn to love it since winter has only just begun and we still have until mid-March before any hope of warm weather returns. I do enjoy any excuse to sit in front of the fireplace and read or watch a movie; cold weather meals in the crock pot are always a treat to come home to; and I have a lot of really beautiful cold-weather clothing that I love to put on each year as the weather cools down.

But dressing my own children for the cold has never been easy. And for my son, now that he no longer has his teachers at Educare and Assumption Preschool to help remind him to find his hat and gloves and scarves, cold-weather gear has become a daily struggle. We can’t seem to keep gloves around, especially little-boy gloves. Curse the makers of gender-specific clothing! Boots with characters on them or pink or purple gloves — now totally useless for a boy sensitive to the possibility of ridicule for wearing “girl” clothes. How sad is it that someone would prefer going to school when it is 3 degrees outside wearing no gloves over pink gloves because his green gloves were stolen at Macy’s? Sad.

Luckily my mom gave us my younger brother Mason’s gloves. Now I am watching my son’s only pair like a hawk. Every morning there is a small panic as we dress, and every afternoon a tiny thrill of fear as he gets off the bus: “Do you have the gloves? The gloves — are they in your pocket??!”

My friend Kim said they have a similar glove situation going on at her house. Where do all these missing gloves go? Actually, I may have an idea: A pair of hot-pink stretchy gloves has been sitting, unclaimed, on the edge of my desk at work for over a week. No middle-schooler will claim them. Obviously no boy wants them, but surely some girl walked into my class wearing them on one of the below-freezing mornings. Now her mother is probably trying to get her to wear some ugly “boy gloves” as she goes around barehanded, freezing, rather than risking looking unattractive.

But we endure the cold because we know winter will end. Spring wouldn’t give us that same thrill if we didn’t have to slog through miserable ice and cold and darkness for three months. Spring wouldn’t make our hearts fill with joy and delight, each blossoming flower and twittering bird causing us to beam, if we didn’t have to look outside day after day and see nothing but still gray. It is worth it. Even though it is still months away and somehow I am already suffering, I know spring will come. This makes it all worthwhile — even the possibility of having to wear ugly gloves.

Sara Van Donge is a Walla Walla native, dual language teacher and mom to two children. She can be reached at


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