We're at Wal-mart. On our way past the boys' section, I remember that my boys said they need underwear. Who knew: to be a tightey-whitey wearer in middle school is the utmost in humiliation–and apparently they know these things about one another. And so I send the oldest on a mission: Go pick out some boxers.
I'm contemplating a display of holiday cards when he returns. He looks a little flushed; he is empty handed.
"What?" I say.
"You couldn't find any?"
"No. I mean, yeah. I found some."
"Where are they?"
He pats his abdomen; it crinkles. For the first time I notice the bulge under his shirt.
"Give those to me!" I exclaim. "They're going to think you're a shoplifter!"
But the boy feints left; he won't let me have the underwear until he determines my motives. "Are you going to hide them, or are you going to walk around the store showing my underwear to everyone that walks by?" he asks.
Ah yes. The intensely personal nature of potential underwear; I had forgotten.