Shorter days, cooler evenings, and -- that bastion of summer's end -- a new wardrobe!
In my prepubescent days, I'd sit in my sister's sky blue-walled room and page through her think back-to-school fashion magazines. One of those wonderful days, I held in my hands a testament to middle class life: pages of plaid blazers and wool skirts, cable-knit tights and penny loafers. The models' make-up was smoky and pink. Perfume inserts released scents of heather and lavender. As many times as I looked at those pages and smelled those inserts, each time wisked me to a fantasy land of well-dressed youth.
For years I marked the changing of the seasons with a new wardrobe, a habit instilled in me by my mother, who shared her love of fabrics and tailoring with my sister and me. The end-fo-summer / back-to-school shopping was always the most enjoyable for me because the cordouroy slacks and button-down cardigans snuggly hugged my curves. I continually sought that feeling every fall, even when I moved to Las Vegas, and "summer" didn't really end until November. When I think of how much money I've spent on clothes for myself, and now for my children, I wonder if it has been worth it.
Then I look through my daughter's closet, at the cotton dresses and flavored bleu jeans, hanging pristinely with their price tags still intact. The shiny leather of my son's new red cowboy boots are ready to be dusted and scuffed. With excitement I urge my little dandies to relish in their new accoutrements proudly, and sometimes they emerge from their rooms eager to please me.
Perhaps they do not quite understand yet the whimsy in wearing their fresh new outfits, carefully designed by their mother, as they steal out into the icy morning air of early September. As they disappear into the day, I smell the scents of sagebrush and pine needles, mixed with hints of heather and lavender. I'm as excited as I was back in my sister's room, paging through her magazines.