rituals: tribute to a t-shirt (crystal cochran).

Guest post Tuesday! Just because I’m still swimming in the land of warm ocean waters, potential hurricanes and daily banana smoothies doesn’t mean you don’t get to hear from another writer. Crystal is an old friend from college, whose story of an ordinary ol’ t-shirt is so much deeper than an ordinary ol’ t-shirt. This part of the ritual tells a story of her life, and as we all know by now, those not-so-boring parts of our lives make the story deeper. Enjoy! 


I’ve been racking my brain for almost a year now. I’ve been reaching into the far corners wondering if I do anything ritualistically. And then, this morning, it happened. I looked down at my pajamas and the light bulb turned on.

I basically stole this shirt from my roomie, 14 years ago… and that’s where my ritual began.

I started wearing this t-shirt to bed. It is made of cotton that was soft and it has worn into an even softer, more comfy shirt over the last (gah) 14 years. This morning I looked down and thought – wow, this t-shirt has been through a lot of night times. Faithfully being worn, washed, and re-worn.

I don’t wear the t-shirt every night (I’m sure my husband is super thankful for that fact) but I wear it weekly, for sure.

Because, really, this t-shirt has seen so much…

It was with me through silly college nights and then finals and living as a single woman, beginning to work my first real job.

It was with me through engagement and the nights just before getting married.

It was with me at the time I got married and, can you imagine (??!?) I almost threw it out – what new wife would bring an old t-shirt into the marriage bed?!?

Me. I guess it was already becoming a ritual.

This shirt has seen me through the best nights of marriage when we talk late and laugh together. And the worst nights, when I clutch the hem in my hands, as comfort, and wonder if we will make it.

The BETHEL SOCCER t-shirt has seen rough times when the twins were born and milk was leaked, spit up or spilled all over it. Then Ben and I (and good ol’ t-shirt) added two more kids, which quadrupled the milky splatters.

It’s seen stains and been washed clean for the millionth time.

This old faithful has seen sleepless nights, nights on the couch, nights on the kids room floors, nights with 4+ people crammed into a queen size bed.

It has seen early mornings and late mornings, many cups of coffee and all kinds of breakfast.

This comfy t-shirt has seen the 10 (!) places I have lived in the last 14 years – from dorm rooms to apartments, to duplexes, rental homes and now a home we own. It’s been packed and moved and loved enough to make it through countless “Goodwill donations”.

And yet, I’m starting to think that the small worn holes are telling me the ritual is almost over.

And then what?

What do I do when something I never thought as a ritual is actually a most-cherished custom? It must be something I’ve unconsciously treasured all these years, and now it’s time is running thin (literally).

Do I frame the shirt or keep it safe in a box?

Do I try to find a new one, or let this run its course and trust another ritual will spring up in its place?

I don’t know. And maybe this is why I don’t do a lot of things purposely, as “part of a ceremony,” …because when the winds of change come, I have a hard time letting go.

img_5151Crystal Cochran is a stay-at-home mom and part-time math teacher.  She is married to the best man on the planet, Ben, and they have four kids: a set of “SURPRISE, you are pregnant with twin boys”, a sweet, bright-shining daughter and a firecracker of a four-year old son. Life with these people is an adventure every day from which she collapses into bed after a glass of Cab Sav. They love each other, camping, Jo-Joes with milk, Jesus, the real Friday night lights and dreaming about someday traveling the world. Cara again here: I love Crystal’s story because it reminds me that there’s always so much more to the story. How did Crystal’s words touch you today? 

4 thoughts on “rituals: tribute to a t-shirt (crystal cochran).

  1. MY SHIRT!!!!! I’ve always wondered where that ran off to… I also loved that shirt and am so glad that it traveled with you, such a sweet friend and a wonderful roommate. How I miss you and love this post. XOXOXO

  2. I recently had to part with one of my oldie but goodies. It hurt! But it was freeing, too. I kept the memories–just got rid of the shirt b/c the holes had become embarrassing:). Ouch.

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