Monogrammed Pencil Cases and Pumpkin Spice: Ready or Not, Fall is Coming

IMG_2748Have you ever noticed that a freshly-cut August lawn has a completely different smell than a freshly-cut June lawn? August hangs in the balance between summer and fall, on the cusp of new beginnings and fresh starts. Even though it may still feel hotter than a thousand suns by 3 p.m., there are certain August mornings when you open the door and feel like pinching yourself to see if the cool air you are inhaling is actually a dream. While summer is most definitely my favorite, I can always get on board with a box of freshly sharpened pencils, the prospect of ankle boots, and that hint of crispness in the air.

Whether you happen to be hanging on to every last moment of this lazy season, have already checked every item off the school supply list (when is Target going to get on the bus and start carrying colored card stock, anyway?), or are already in in the throes of the school year,  here are a few reasons why it’s going to be okay to say sionara to summer:

1.Washing All The Towels: Our washing machine runs constantly anyway, but when it’s summer the number and varity of towels that appear in my laundry “in-box” is staggering: towels that have fallen in the pool, towels that are covered with sticky ice cream and a few hungry ants, towels that belong to other people, towels that have been neglected for weeks in the lost and found and smell like feet, towels that are actually folded and have never been used but were transported to the pool and are therefore deemed unusable before being washed again…The good thing about this is that the towels are usually pulled for use from the clean pile on the bed before they have to be folded and put away. I will miss the pool, the lake, and the beach, but I will not miss the towels…

2. Monogrammed Pencil Cases/Backpacks/Lunch bags: I confess. My heart does a little flutter when we get the first Pottery Barn Kids back-to-school issue of the season (even when it arrives four days after school gets out).  I must have passed this obsession along to my children because the second this blessed piece of mail arrives, they fight over the thing and pore over the patterns, monogram thread colors and styles with a sharpie in hand, marking and ranking the favorite patterns. Even on the “off years” (our tradition has been to order a new backpack every other year) they oooh and aaaah and argue over who should get the rainbow unicorn pattern and who would be better off with the hula floral.

3. Your Kids Are Sick of Looking at Each Other: Speaking of arguing, your kids’ sibling spats may have reached a fever pitch by this point. When the normal ratio of playing well together to biting each others’ heads off is 45 minutes of fun to 15 minutes of bickering, we have now arrived at a raito of one minute of tolerating to 59 minutes of knock-down drag-out fighting. You have taken three migraine pills in one week and may be wishing that you had one of those taxi windows that you could just rooolllll up between the front and back seats when they start debating about which sibling is more annoying (um, TIE). It’s best to just realize that they are arguing for the sake of arguing and tell everybody to make a paper chain counting down until school starts.

4. Your Kids Are Sick of Looking at You: News flash: They are not going to like the paper chain idea. Or the idea you had for finally tackling that summer reading list. And the weekly chore charts you made up and printed out that first week of summer were buried under the often umade beds after two weeks of half-hearted use.  It has been good and fun and wonderful to be so breezy this summer, but they are starting to take it a little to far. Okay, they are starting to steamroll you because as much as kids’ brains need rest, there is also a need for structure and for someone who is not a parent to tell them what to do. It is time for for the magic of well-rested teachers and coaches to join you once again in this daily struggle to shape and mold the lives of these smallish, strong-willed humans. Teachers, may the force be with you.

5. No More Random Tan Lines: Have you noticed that this season’s swimwear trends were full of high necks, keyholes and crisscrosses but the fashionable non-swimwear garment of the moment was an off-the-shoulder ruffle number? This makes no sense.  Each time I put on the ruffle thing I looked like a zebra for all the crazy tan lines.

6. Football Season. All of it. The sound of the marching band practicing, figuring out a new tailgate recipe, plannning that outfit for the first game, figuring out which road game you are doing this year, sprucing up your guest room for game day visitors…Oh, and the football part. Those games are fun, too.

7. Fresh Starts: Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Back-to-school season is the real time for reinventing one’s self and starting afresh. This will be the year we all lay out our clothes the night before. This will be the year we wake up early and make real breakfast instead of giving them a Pop Tart for the road. This will be the year we fill those little BPA-free containers that fit in the monogrammed unicorn lunch boxes with hummus and avocado and tiny salads. This will be the year that homework is completed before dinner. This will be the year that we pare down on activities in an effort to save money and not over-schedule our family. This will be the year! I can feel it.

 8. T-Minus 30 Days To Pumpkin Spice: If none of items above float your boat (and you have a problem with monogrammed rainbow unicorn lunch boxes) you can at least get excited that all things Pumpkin Spice are just a short month away. It may be just a bunch of pumpkin-flavored chemicals genetically engineered to taste like our favorite gourd of the season, but it’s just so good it’s hard to care.

I am so grateful for a restful summer. I am going to miss the 9 p.m sunsets and (somewhat) leisurely mornings of only having to get myself ready, and watching my kids make slime (who knew there were this many varieties of slime with this many mix-ins!) and the beauty of not always having plans. But I am also grateful for the variety of seasons both in the year and in life.  And right now this control freak is ready for some structure. Bring it, fall.

Kelly Barbrey is notorious for getting super excited about the next thing. She will be watching football in her ankle boots with a PSL in September and will be mentally making that paper chain counting down till Christmas. 🍁

 

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