The Ugly Green Sweater

Some days comfort can be found in the most unlikely places, a well-worn pair of jeans, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, a glass of wine, comfy pajamas at the end of a trying day. For my mom, it was an ugly green sweater that she donned each evening without fail before settling on the couch after a busy day of playing taxi driver, chef, and everything in between. If I close my eyes, I can see her sitting on the brown velour seventies couch in our living room wrapped in that ugly green sweater, relaxing with each passing minute as though cocooned in a blissful state of peace.

Credit: holsro
Credit: holsro

My dad worked the night shift and only saw her in that ugly green sweater on the weekends, but he made up for all the days he missed by giving her a hard time about the sweater which he believed was more suited for an eighty year old grandmother than his thirty-something young bride and active mom of three children. As my siblings and I got older we joined in the friendly ribbing of the ugly green sweater, coming up with a slew of creative names for it. Not surprisingly, no amount of mocking stopped my mom from slipping into that ugly green sweater and the comfort it promised night after night.

I recall a particular school day when a fellow classmate took it upon himself to tell me Santa wasn’t real. I rushed home to confront my mom, only to have her gently confirm what he had told me. Devastated, I threw myself on the living room couch burying my head in the cushions. Through the tears I saw a bit of green fabric peeking out from under the cushions and didn’t think twice about pulling that ugly green sweater and wrapping myself in it, desperately seeking the comfort it so often provided my own mother. Within minutes I was fast asleep on the couch, and woke up with a sense of peace and acceptance that I choose to attribute to the ugly green sweater and not the exhaustion we are left with after a crying jag.

Through the years, there have been moments when I wish I had that ugly green sweater within reach. Moments when a diagnosis of cancer shattered our world, moments when the bank funds were low, moments when a son’s mental illness turned him into a stranger, moments of unemployment. In each of these moments, I don’t wish I had that ugly green sweater for myself. Instead, I wish I had it to wrap my mom in once again in hopes that it would bring her the same peace it brought her night after night so many years ago. To this day, with so many miles between us, all I need is to detect a hint of sadness in her voice no matter how hard she tries to hide it, and I find myself selfishly wishing that ugly green sweater was still with her.

Is there an “ugly green sweater” in your life? If so, can I have it?

***This is my 100th post here, and I dedicate it to my #1 fan, my mom!***

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61 thoughts on “The Ugly Green Sweater

  1. I have this awful…and I mean AWFUL sweater I bought last year from Wal-Mart (5 dollar bin, steal of a deal) Especially since it has totally become my comfort shirt. Anytime I am feeling down, or fat, or frustrated or anything; I throw that baby on, pop some corn, find a hiding place away from life and revel in the comfort that is my Ugly Wal-Mart sweater!

    Great Post, so happy I’m not alone out there!

  2. Congratulations on 100 posts! I finally found a minute to swing by. My son just celebrated his 4th birthday on Friday so it was crazy busy in my world!

    In any case, this was a wonderful tribute to your mother and all that she represents. It’s interesting to learn what people find comfort in. Often times, it’s not the expensive, over-the-top items. Comfort can truly be found in the simple things.

    1. Thank you Anka! I got your email and am sad you won’t be around all summer. You’ll be missed, but I understand you needing time with the kiddos before the little nugget arrives. I hope your summer is filled with comfort found in simple things! Enjoy!

  3. My ugly green sweater isn’t so ugly, it’s wrapped up tight in my husband’s arms and burying my face in his chest. In that place, I am at peace.

    Thank you for a lovely post and congrats on your 100th post!! 🙂

  4. I had an ugly, mustard colored sweater. Grandma pulled it out of a box of old clothes and cut it down to my size. I didn’t like the color, but it was cozy, it smelled like Grandma’s house and it was made with love.

    1. What a sweet memory! My grandmother loved to sew and through the years made a number of items for us. They may not have always been the most fashion forward items, but they were always made with love.

  5. Love this! My grandmother had the ugliest brown sweater that she wore for years. I remember one year, my cousins and I got her a new one and she wanted to toss out the old one. I’m so glad I “rescued” it – because it’s brought me much-needed comfort in the years since she’s passed on! Thank you so much for your participation in the Divas With A Purpose Bloggers Party

  6. I definitely need an ugly green sweater for all of those times you mentioned. I know that when I have experienced hard times the last thing I ever wanted was for my parents to worry. These were my problems, and I didn’t want them affecting them negatively. I love this post. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I’ve always been the same way, never wanting others to worry about me…especially during those times when I could use an ugly green sweater. Of course, it is precisely those times when I should allow others in as you never know what form the necessary ugly green sweater may take. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for stopping by.

  7. My ugly green sweater is my ratty baby blanket. I am 25 years old in 12 days, but if I am depressed or sick or just feeling overwhelmed, I wrap it around my shoulders like a shawl and have a cup of tea.

    1. I have a friend who still has her childhood blanket as well. No matter what new luxurious bedding she may purchase, she still needs that soft blanket on that bed with her every night. “I wrap it around my shoulders like a shawl and have a cup of tea.” – that is one cozy image!

  8. Love this! Everyday when my husband gets home from work he puts on the most raggedy t-shirt I have ever seen. He has other t-shirts but for some reason he loves this one. I keep threatening to throw it away but he says I can’t because it’s too comfy. I guess this is his version of the ugly green sweater!

      1. Hhhhhhhhhhmmm, I would have to think about it. I am sure there was as well but not one I can think of quickly!! 🙂 But I have many GREEN PEOPLE stories! 🙂

  9. Beautiful. I have a big ugly purple dressing gown that I wear each night. I wonder if in years to come my kids will remember it x

  10. Believe it or not, my wife for years had an ugly green sweater that we lovingly teased her about. She finally retired it when it just became too decrepit to wear, but you bet my kids will remember it. Lovely piece and congrats on your 100th post.

    1. No way! I guarantee your kids will remember the green sweater and have memories of their mom wearing it. How ironic that both sweaters were the color green. What’s not ironic is that Little Miss Wordy has written 100 posts. 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

  11. This is so touching. Loved it! I have two ‘ugly green sweaters’ in my life. One being my husband’s uniform, and the other is my nighttime ritual with my daughter – chocolate milk before bed. Simple things in life. 😉 I will drink a glass in your honor!

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