Kate’s back to school experience is almost invisible to us, once we’ve paid the tuition. But Alex’s is just around the corner, and this year it’s the big corner. The…High…School. (Our district is one of the few in the country that keeps 9th graders in junior high, but refers to them as high schoolers.)
While I know in my heart this is about her, it means I get to indulge in one of my favorite of all activities…back to school shopping.
Remembering mine with my mom (and I think sometimes, even my grandmother). Dresses, shoes, socks, pencils, and best of all, the lunch box.
Yesterday I was thinking about our BTS shopping timeline. I missed most of Kate’s kindergarten shopping, as I was sick with baby Alex (who insisted, in her own quietly competitive way, to provide an even more nauseating pregnancy than her sister, complete with a home IV and daily home health nurse visits). My best friend Kathy bought Kate some lavender cowboy boots, and my mom bought her some floral sundresses (all she would wear).
Kate had one year where she would only wear polo shirts (perhaps hoping I would enroll her in Catholic school?) and in high school we would trek to Berkeley to Telegraph Avenue for the vintage stores. One year she bought a stripped shirt I was certain my brother Doug owned in the 5th grade.
When she went to UBC, I went nuts, and was able to add every dorm supply imaginable to her list. When she came home this summer, we hit Target before we hit her favorite Mexican restaurant. I may have needed that more than she did.
And now, it’s about Alex.
Miss Alex spent several years of her life only wearing boy clothes, so we shopped for shorts and t shirts at Target. I shopped…she refused to go inside. Over the years she softened a bit, and would enter a store, but only if she could get her shopping done in thirty minutes or less. She claims malls suck the air out of her body…which could be genetic, since I feel the same way.
Then the jackets happened. One. Two. Ten. Yup, this girl loves jackets, and along the way she discovered shoes, shirts, sweaters, hats, scarves, shrugs, bracelets and rings. And more jackets. Notice, dresses are not in that list. Or purses. She’s still not a shopping diva, but if she knows jackets are around, she can easily be convinced to spend thirty minutes in a store.
We started at Target last week, for the basics. Then the haircut. On Monday I took Alex and her friend, Kelly, to Bay Street in Emeryville, for the H&M, Old Navy, Gap, Express, and Abercrombie (well, she didn’t last more than 15 minutes there). We stopped by Sephora to smell stuff. A few bags and a lovely dinner, and round two was done. She managed to stay away from the jackets, but I knew she couldn’t hold out forever.
Last night we did go to the mall, and managed Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Macy’s. She stood in the middle of the leather jackets in Macy’s, and I knew she was in danger. Besides the jeans and shirts, she found two short sleeved jackets (yes, perhaps an oxymoron, but they worked) and I caved.
This weekend, the shoes and backpack.
And then…pencils and paper.
And next week, the big corner, and the big school.
She’ll be ready. I hope I am.