Adult Children

By Erika Hoffman

Adult Children

Sometimes it’s rewarding to go shopping with your adult son for his needs. My son is 27 and married. He felt he needed a black or gray suit for his interviews for a medical residency.

“Don’t you want your wife to pick it out?” I asked him.

“She’s busy with school. Would you go with me?”

Because I’d just received a notice about a 20 to 40 percent sale at Belk, I steered him in that direction. My son doesn’t have to shop at Brooks Brothers; he’s satisfied with a deal. We travelled to the mall. He drove. We talked about what he’s learned on his fourth year rotations, and how he enjoys sewing up people. We discussed student loans and how expensive it is for fourth year medical students to fly to interviews out of state. We also spoke about the antics of his wife’s little dog, and how Ollie was becoming less of a yapping nuisance for neighbors in their apartment.

The Indian fellow in the men’s department was more than accommodating. Axis, the sales clerk, asked my son his surname. “Hoffman,” my son replied.

“I shall call you Master Hoffman,” he said.

“I don’t know,” I said. “He’s married, so maybe he’s no longer a Master.” I smiled. Axis smiled. “Well, if I call him Mr. Hoffman, and you are Mrs. Hoffman, well, that might seem like you two are married.”

I laughed. “Like one of those Hollywood divas who marry younger men?”


Axis guided him to the dressing room and summoned me to come and sit right outside. He had my son do the catwalk, unbutton his jacket, and put his hand in his pocket, sort of GQ Magazine style.

Erik tried on three suits, and Axis asked him his opinion as to his favorite.

“I like the first.”

“No,” he said. “You must love it. I want you to buy only what you love!”

“I love it,” my shy son said.

“You need a shirt and tie too,” I added.

Axis led us to the shirts which were also on sale and pulled out a striped blue one that he announced would be perfect with the gray suit. Then, Axis grabbed a red striped tie and plopped it atop the shirt. “This is the power look. A smart boy like you needs this.”

I nodded.

“Shall I ring it up for you?” he asked.

“Not yet. I think he needs new shoes,” I said.

Off to the shoe department we marched.  Axis found a few pairs, and Erik decided on the black tied ones.

“Pick what is comfortable. You don’t want to get irritable during an interview due to tight footwear,” I cautioned. “You need socks?”

“Mom, I’ve got socks.”

So we whirled over to the counter, and Axis said he could set my son up with a new credit card, which would result in another discount.

“Lovely,” I said. “Put down my address as I am paying for this. Christmas comes soon.”

“Take the pants to Lee’s Tailors. Only nine dollars and get them hemmed in forty minutes!” our guide/salesman, Axis, said.

We marched there with his new purchase and the seamstress whisked out her pins and measuring tape, making a few quick marks on one leg. We took the ticket she handed us and vowed we’d be back within the hour.

“What now?” I asked.

“Let’s get lunch, Mom.”

So I led him to a place where I usually dine with friends, who like me have grown kids that we discuss over our salads. My son and I chatted amiably all through lunch, and I found I was having as pleasant a time laughing and reminiscing with my grown child as I ever have had. We hadn’t done anything particularly special, and yet I was filled with that feeling of still being needed and of still having an opinion that he valued.

I gave him a gift of a new suit that day, but he gave me a gift too – his attention, appreciation and time. I think I got the better deal.

About this writer

  • Erika Hoffman Erika Hoffman views most travel experiences as educational experiences and sometimes the lessons learned are revelations about oneself.

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2 Responses to “Adult Children”

  1. Nothing like the joy of spending time with our adult children. They become some of our most treasured friends, don’t they?

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