End of #Summer Reminiscence

August takes me back to remembering the last dog-days of summer in the past when I would be scurrying from store to store to find that perfect backpack for my son, the cool sneakers he would wear, a new pair of jeans.

By the time he hit Junior High I was wistful for his elementary school years when I could suit him up in anything I liked and he would be pleased and happy for the new duds and supplies. Excited even to pack his mini backpack with all the pencils and erasers and rulers it could carry. Ready to get on with it and learn! My industrious little guy.

I was sure he sat in the front of the room and was riveted by his teacher’s every word. A parental fantasy. A delightful delusion while it lasted. Until I was called in to school one day and told that my angel jabbers on with his pal all day to the distraction of the entire class—and would I have a word with him? Hmmm, that put a different spin on things didn’t it? Well, I mused, heredity must be respected. He was after all MY son.

Every end of summer at every age was its own special journey into his psyche. I would find out where he thought he stood, and where he wanted to be, in his world. Who did he want to emulate? Why did he NEED those Sketcher sneakers this year? Or the year he insisted on the brand of jeans I could never find? And then came the backlash year when nothing could have a logo on it.  Not a shirt or a backpack or a cap.

By high school I would buy clothes without him at my own peril.  Most often we would be returning the item for something more suitable to his image of himself.  I could miss the mark by a month or even a week.

“But didn’t you like these shirts last week when we bought you one?”

“That was last week, mom. Really.”

Ok, I may exaggerate.

By college, his serious commitment to the environment also played out in his wardrobe. Any shopping we did together was at second- hand stores.  I learned that you could buy a perfectly good shirt for $2.00. To his credit, the clothing budget was slashed to a fraction of what it was even when he was seven.

Now, my boy is on his own. Living in Brooklyn and getting by on a social worker’s salary. I keep tabs on his style choices, which are still evolving, and are still a window into his image of himself. Picking out the right shirt, the way he wants to spend his days, the ways he wants to help people, it all seems part of the intricate weave he is creating for his life.



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