The coat was red, white and blue. It could have been worn to a 4th of July Parade. And Matt loved it.
His biggest brother was far away working for his church and the coat had belonged to him. Then one day it shrank and Matt’s next oldest brother Tim had worn it. Tim was older than Matt by two years.
Matt asked his Mom if he would ever be allowed to wear the red, white and blue coat and his mother smiled and said, “Well maybe.”
Tim was 5 and Matt was 3.
Then one day the coat shrank again and Matt began to worry. He had just turned four and the coat might disappear before he could wear it if it got any smaller.
So Matt watched the coat very carefully for over a year. Every day when he woke up he went to his brother’s closet and checked to make sure the coat was still there. He wanted very much to wear the red, white and blue coat for the 4th of July. It was only Christmas now and it had been big enough for Tim last Christmas. The 4th of July was so far away. He knew because his fifth birthday was on that day and he remembered waiting a long time last year.
Winter, Spring, came and went. Matt waited and worried. He watched the coat, sometimes taking his baseball bat into Tim’s closet and measuring the arms to make sure they went from the red paint on it’s handle to the end of the bat. Once in a while he even tried it on but it was always to big. He was glad!
Then one day in June just before his birthday it began happening again. The coat had began to shrink and it almost fit. He did not know what to do. What if the coat was too small on his birthday and he has not gotten to wear it at all before it disappeared?
Should he ask to wear it now? Should he tie it around the big pillow on the couch to keep it big? The coat was magic and he thought about talking to the coat. Maybe it would understand and stop getting smaller. Then he had a very good idea. He would talk to his Mom. She would know what to do.
Mom was very surprised with Matt told her the story. She did not realize the coat was shrinking! She just thought that big brother that was far away and Tim who was going to second grade the next year and Matt who was going to kindergarten in the fall were growing up.
“Growing???” said Matt. He had never thought about that. He had planted flowers and watched them grow. He knew his hair grew because even though his dad cut it, it needed to be cut again in a while. But he had never thought about growing himself. He seemed the same on the inside and when he looked in the mirror he always saw himself and not a bigger person. How could that be?
Mom explain that all children grown. They get bigger and smarter and better at throwing the ball. They learn to read and write and draw beautiful pictures. Some day Matt would be bigger and the coat would not fit him any more.
“Matt, it will be hot on the 4th of July, but if you want to wear the coat, then you should wear it. Even if it is too big”
So on Matt’s birthday, the 4th of July, when he was 5 years old he wore the “Incredible Shrinking Coat”. In every picture that his mother took he looks very proud and special. It was a little big but that was fine. And you could tell he was not worried anymore. He knew for sure the coat was not going to disappear.
written by Barbara, September 2007