Vintage Children’s April Showers Poem Illustration – early 1900′s
It finally feels like Spring. Temperatures are warming up, but just as temperatures climb, clouds and showers are moving in. It will be raining all day today, and possibly tomorrow. It’s nasty outside, but my garden needs it.
Today I’ve noticed my tulips coming out and my lilac tree starting to bloom. Soon my whole front yard will be full of vibrant colors and delicious smells of Spring. I can’t wait.
Adorable floral trench coats lift the mood and remind us of the beauty of Spring.
Stella McCartney, Gucci, Sash Tied
When my teenage son starts complaining that he does not have any jeans, and is wearing the same T-shirt two days in a row, I know it’s time to go shopping. I’ve thought complaining about the empty closet is my thing; apparently I have a competition now. Unlike me, though, my competitor does not really want to go to the mall; he just wants the clothes he likes, nicely folded and organized, to magically appear in his closet while he is playing video games.
When girls go to the mall they are looking for the shopping experience. For us, it is an outing where we can be artistic, adventures, original, inventive. We enjoy going through the aisles, picking out outfits, accessories, shoes, trying them on, carefully judging the transformation in the mirror; and repeating the process as many times as necessary until we are fully satisfied with the new look. It does not mean that the decision is final. We reserve the right to return the outfit for any reason, and start the process all over again. My husband claims that for me it is easier to buy a house then to buy a pair of pants. That is because I have to look good in the pants, which I cannot say about the house.
When boys go to the mall, they are not looking for the shopping experience; they are looking to visit the Sony and Apple stores, which would help them to pick the next electronic gadget, but would not solve the clothes shortage problem.
It takes a lot of strategic planning to dress a teenage boy. First, you have to detach him from the computer. Since it is nearly impossible, especially when he is in the middle of the game, and will remain there for unknown amount of time, it is better to do it right after the meal or homework. You have to narrow down exactly what is needed, and pick the stores you would visit. You have to park strategically, so that you would walk into the chosen clothing stores before you pass the electronic stores. Finally, you have to realize that time is of essence, and move fast.
If you think you know what is in trend and looks good on your son, think again. GQ magazine fashion editors and all these cool celebrity stylists should look for another job. The trendsetters of Kennedy High School know better. They can smell “the moron” from 100 feet away, and would not hesitate to give him “a look”. “A look” would mean “a thought”. “A thought” could either be an approval or a disapproval, but who wants to take that chance? So here is a dilemma: he wants to look different, but not so different that people would start glaring. In times, he comes up with a radical idea like wearing a jacket or a bow time, but then quickly rejects it: “Nope. Too much.” Buying the pea coat for winter was a courageous move inspired by watching British TV. Only a hand fool of kids was brave enough to do it. We were very proud of him.
The everyday “uniform” consists of a T-shirt, a sweat shirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of sneakers or boots. Jeans are the easy part – faded or slightly-ripped boot cut would do the job. The rest is much more complicated.
Since there is nothing interesting for him in the clothing store to look at, he is doing me a huge favor by standing in the middle of an aisle waiting for me to bring him pieces to look at. Most of the time he just shakes his head “No”. When he gets particularly generous, he would give me some hints by making a comment about the image, size or color of the letters, quality of fabric, etc. Sometimes he elaborates, explaining that he is not “a moron”, or not “a pornography star”. He rejected the T-shirt with a picture of an astronaut and a year 1973 written on it on the basis of its historical inaccuracy, since the moon landing happened in 1969. Another T-shirt was too fruity; a few were V-necks which did not reflect his personal style. Some stores, like Abercrombie & Fitch, we could not shop due to the owner’s stance on social issues; but now he was changing his tune due to losing a lot of business because of it. However, a few attractive bare-chested male models were the only good things in the store. Unfortunately, they were not for sale. Or maybe they were; we did not ask.
A boy in the clothing store is a very sad picture to look at. He doesn’t belong there, and doesn’t want to be there. He is hot and bored, and painfully wasting his precious time. He would rather be somewhere else, but he needs clothes, damn it; and his mom is taking too much time to pick something at least remotely acceptable for wearing to school. His mom doesn’t understand the repercussion of the wrong wardrobe, its lethal effect on his social life. One “wrong” T-shirt, and the reputation, he has worked so hard to establish, is ruined forever. Trying on the stupid clothes in the fitting room and staying in line to the cash register should be officially established as a new torture in Guantanamo Bay.
Upon arrival, the shopping bags are usually being thrown into the corner of the teenager’s room. The new wardrobe patiently waits to be moved from the bag to the appropriate place in the closet, or, at least, to be taken out of the bag and worn. But it’s “work” and the proud owner is busy with his homework. So until he finds time, the teenager would wear the same T-shirt two days in a row, and complain about the “empty closet” situation. Of course, mom is always welcome to come in and help out.
Spring is finally here. After long, brutal winter, it is finally time to stuck away all the winter jackets in the storage, and say good-bye to subzero temperatures, snow and ice. The lovely, playful trenches from Yumi are the best way to greet Spring, and weather the warm, springy showers it is about to bring. And what could be cuter than a polka-dot?
I came back to the car with the platter of insanely overpriced kosher chocolates I just bought in the “elite” gourmet store on Central Avenue. Topped with a fancy sign, the place is considered to be high-end in the upscale Jewish neighborhood that my husband’s family we came to visit lives in. We don’t know any other “good” kosher stores in the area, and don’t want to look cheap, so wasting money seems like the right thing to do. We usually are invited twice a year – for Chanukah and Purim. Every visit sparks a discussion about religion, the existence of God, and his role in our lives. Not that we need a visit for that; the topic is one of my son’s all-time favorites. That’s why I am trying to avoid it at all costs, because once it starts it never ends. The fact that it is a belief, and, therefore, does not need a proof, only makes him more passionate in trying to prove that God’s existence is not proven. The fact that nobody disagrees with him does not stop him from moving on, presenting countless arguments for indefinite amount of time.
Anyway, when I came back my husband was laughing, so I asked him why. He said that they were talking about circumcision. Not understanding how this barbaric, but medically beneficial procedure could be funny, I’ve asked him to elaborate. This was the statement my son made on the topic of Purim while I was away: “ God is so messed up. First, he wants to cut up your penis, and then drink to the point where you won’t recognize your neighbor.” This description of events, certainly, had a right to exist, since you did have to get drunk on Purim. However, we had to point out, that in the case of a circumcision the sequence of events was the opposite. First, the 8-day-old baby was given wine, and then his penis got cut off. That was when the philosophical question “what came first” did not only get a new life, but also brought many more questions. My older son was concerned about the effects of the alcohol intoxication on a baby. My younger son wanted to know what part was being cut off. My older son was concerned with how drunk-ing the baby was legal, my younger son was worried about the bleeding aspect. My older son, just finishing the reproductive unit in his Living Environment class, identified the unfortunate body part as nothing other than “a foreskin”. The value of this knowledge for my younger son could hardly be underestimated, since it could drastically improve his reputation among his fellow 4th graders.
Even though we are Jewish to the bone, we’ve never been particularly religious. We do try to follow certain traditions, like eating latkes and lighting the Menorah on Chanukah, Hamentashen for Purim, no bread for Passover. However, even though each ritual has deep meaning and historical significance, it is very hard to explain to kids. They don’t buy into “the tradition” rhetoric. They would gladly listen to the interesting stories about their ancestors, but why should they starve on Yom Kippur, or deny themselves their favorite food on Passover to show solidarity with the hypothetical Jews that lived thousands of years ago. Didn’t these Jews endure all the hardships, so that the future generations would not have to suffer? Other religions don’t seem to be that cruel to their members.
Every time we come to a Purim party, there is a different set of ideas coming from the same exact script read and analyzed over and over again. This time it was the double meaning of clothing: one that we wore on the outside-physical articles of the wardrobe; the other, spiritual one- the people we were on the inside. Looking beyond the surface, digging deeper could uncover the new concept or a theory never explored before. Reading between the lines, interpreting every single word, gesture, detail of a dress are the signs of a true scholar, which we are clearly not. That’s why I’ve asked my family members to be quiet, and pretend like they were smart, or at least somewhat educated. As Mark Twain said: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”