Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So Fresh and So Clean

It’s supposed to be 102 degrees in Raleigh today, summer’s way of beginning one last forward assault before he retreats in the face of fall. It’s easy to get disheartened in the dogs days of summer, grieving for lawns that died from heat exhaustion, mourning for swimming pools that have now become tepid, and pondering if it’s even worth it to keep fighting the ants, or if perhaps we should just work out some kind of time-share with them for the house. But, I know if we can just hang on, help is on the way.

It’s like I can see fall on the horizon, and he’s as beautiful as ever. It’s a rumbling in the distance. I hear it in pre-season football, back-to-school sales, and previews of fall shows. And I know he’ll rescue me from this sticky summer situation I’ve gotten myself into. Fall will swoop in and rid the air of moisture, the trees of leaves, and my house of children (three mornings a week, at least). And, one of my favorite things about fall is that he never shows up without zippered hoodies.

I think it was last weekend’s back to school shopping that infected me with this uncharacteristic optimism. Because even though I haven’t been “back to school” in about a dozen years, I still engage in the shopping ritual. It’s kind of like being an alumni and still going to all the football games. I mean, just because I no longer take mid-terms doesn’t mean I don’t need Levi’s and new Converse sneakers.

But, it’s not just the fall clothes, which I won’t even get to wear for months; I also still relish those school supply aisles that are overflowing with things like fresh notebooks, the ones where the paper is so new you can smell the tree it was yesterday, and rows of backpacks to suit any disposition, from the cheery and hopeful daisy printed ones in eye-popping colors, to the black and pre-torn varieties from the Outcast&Troubled line. And, for some reason, I’m always tempted to get a new lunchbox for myself, even though I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for six years now and really have no need to pack my lunch, just so that I can carry it from the kitchen to the dining room table.

I have really fond memories of how this time of year felt to me when I was younger. Mostly, it felt like possibilities. There was the possibility that I’d get to sit in the back of the class because my reputation as a talker hadn’t preceded me. There was the possibility that I could keep my new shoes clean. There was the possibility I would love all of my teachers and some of my classes. (Math always prohibited me from even considering the possibility of loving all of my classes.) There was the possibility that our football team would go undefeated and make state play-offs or that all of the cute boys in school would fall madly in love with me, and, I suppose, there was a possibility that pigs would finally get around to flying, but let’s just say that some dreams died early in the school year and leave it at that.

I’m looking forward to all of the years lying ahead for my three kids where this time of year will mean they still have a full box of crayons, are in good standing with their teachers, and have no overdue homework assignments. It will be fun as they get older to see them break out the corduroy pants and sweaters on the first morning that the temperature dips below 80, just because they’ve been waiting to wear their new threads. And, I predict their mother will be doing the same thing. Their grandmother, too, because Nana still does her fair share of back-to-school shopping.

So, you know what? Bring it on, Summer! You can’t beat me. Fall’s coming and he’s bringing fresh starts and clean slates and football. I hear a pep rally in the distance, and any day now House will be back on and I’ll feel whole again.

(As I reviewed this blog, I noticed that Microsoft Word underlined hoodies, like it just did again, and I thought I’d right click and see what the spelling suggestions were. The list of choices was foodies, goodies, hoodless, holies and hoodoos. I get that hoodies are a somewhat recent fashion trend, but hoodoos? What the heck is a hoodoo and why is that acceptable in a world where hoodies isn’t? Just goes to show that computers don’t know everything and there’s something to be said for human intelligence!)


  1. love it! there is always a good reason to buy a new pair of converse and right now mine is because the 6 pairs i have are all too small due to my feet pudging up and growing while pregnant and never going back to their regular size...quite convenient if you ask me :) it's definitely a Womance with discovering more similarities everyday...math was my Achilles heel and i hate even uttering the word to this day, thank God for calculators is all i can say!

  2. I love fall! But I never understand why the fashion industry is so flip-flopped that stores are stocking hoodies in July and swimwear in January. It might not be so bad if weather-appropriate apparel were still available, but it seems to go AWOL. Am I the ONLY one who decides mid-season that I could use an extra pair of shorts or a new sweater?