I was dropping off the kids’ lunches. They had forgotten them at home, or maybe I didn’t have anything in the fridge that morning, which is why I was walking through the school courtyard around 10AM. The boys’ school runs kindergarten through 8th grade, and it happened to be the day of the 8th grade “promotion” ceremony. I caught the tail end of the ceremony: all of the 8th graders, dressed up and looking impossibly old, so much older than my two little guys at the time, and a sea of shell-shocked parents with happy, stricken faces. I remember fleeing the playground, choking back sobs, for those poor parents of suddenly old kids.
The end of 8th grade — my god. It’s the end of an era.
That 8th grade promotion ceremony has haunted me for years. I have been absolutely dreading the end of Raines’ 8th grade year. But this past Thursday morning, we woke up, put on fancy clothes, and walked to school together, one final time.
When the boys were tiny, the days seemed so long, the minutes inching by. Our days were a slow progression of cuddles and long walks and swing sets and painting and blocks and the endless emptying of the dishwasher. Now, they’re a blur of activities: Raines’ tennis or Pax’s snowboarding or Mike’s work, in addition to all of my usual stuff. I fight to spend my time intentionally, but it’s often a losing battle; I’ve been feeling out of control, mindlessly spinning and unsettled.
I need a connection point with my boys, a touchstone. Occasionally, I’ll crawl into bed with Raines for a quick cuddle before sleep. He humors me, this boy I used to carry around in a pouch, this boy who once was always strapped to my front. There were years when we were practically the same person, a little unit. And now there are days that pass without full eye contact, where at night I realize that I haven’t once looked him in the eyes.
I am losing track of days. How are we here, at his 8th grade graduation already?
“Once you guys hit high school,” my mom warned, “time sped up and then boom-“ here she smiled, a little sadly. “You were gone.”
I think about our walks to school. My entire life for the last nine years has been defined by walking the boys to and from school. First with Pax strapped to my chest, waving goodbye to my wild-haired Raines, as I navigated my first chemo treatment and his first week of kindergarten. Then later, with Pax in the stroller, and the mental energy and patience and freaking craftiness required to get Raines to school on time (almost never) and Pax to sit happily in the stroller (literally never). The eventual negotiations about hand-holding while crossing the street, the progression of walking with their friends.
Honestly, the boys have been able to walk to school on their own for a while, but Mike and I almost always go with them. This walk to school has become a precious thing, especially as our lives have become busier.
And on Thursday, we took our final walk to school.
In the courtyard stood the 8th graders, dressed up and looking impossibly old. We listened to speeches and clapped and cheered, a sea of shell-shocked parents with happy, stricken faces.
OK, this dress is something special. I have a video coming out soon about Farm Rio dresses, but one was so good I’ve gotta mention it immediately: Farm Rio’s Plunge Neck Cut-Out Knotted Midi Dress is worth a look. I know it looks like a sack in the product photos online (even on the model!!) but in real life, it’s something special. I wear it without a bra, but this dress *can* be worn with a bra, especially if you choose a color that can peek out a little. This dress is also available in a gorgeous red.
I wear denim skirts now. I ordered this vintage-inspired denim skirt on Goop (it’s one of their G.label products) and have been wearing it instead of jeans. It’s soft, comfy, and such a fun, easy upgrade. Of course, being Goop, it’s one billion dollars. Happily, I just came across this FRAME Bardot denim skirt that looks almost exactly the same. Still pricey, but much better (and currently part of a promotion). It runs small, though, so size up. Lastly, Madewell’s classic denim skirt is a bit similar…but I’d maybe consider their more feminine pull-on denim midi skirt.
Best cotton tee for guys? Mike owns exactly one not-disgusting T-shirt, so I’m on a mission to figure this out. After reading reviews on this $6 tee, it seemed like a no-brainer to try, and now both Raines and Mike love it. It’s nothing fancy, just a really great tee that softens up with time.
The best Converse I’ve found. Converse’s No Waste Sneaker in (and this is key) “Mineral Clay, Egret, & Black” is *the* perfect summer sneaker. Such a pretty, chic shade of brown, and would be so cute with cut-offs and a tan.
Sunscreen!! My beloved Supergoop! is on sale at Saks. Note: Saks only carries the Supergoop! products I use on myself, not the kid ones. Case in point? Supergoop!’s Glow Screen for body…it feels like a splurge, but also makes me feel like a goddess, so I buy it every year. I use it as my “base coat” sunscreen. I also can’t live without Supergoop!’s SPF eye cream and Glow Screen (for face). That said, I must mention that Supergoop! just came out with a tinted version of Glow Screen that I’m ordering immediately (unfortunately, the tinted version is only available on Supergoop.com and isn’t on sale). But Glow Screen in general is pretty magic stuff, and easily rivals Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Filter.
Lip oil? I can’t resist the idea of tinted lip oils — such a genius move. Sheer, moisturizing, and just the barest little happy pop of color. I’m ordering Clarin’s lip oil in ‘apricot’. Not only are the colors gorgeous, but this product has slight plumping ingredients, and I love how it looks on every skin type shown.
The best Father’s Day gift. One year I got Mike a Soda Stream…and then he thanked me and immediately went out and bought himself YETI’s backpack cooler and lived happily ever after. I found more YETI backpacks here, or, for a more affordable alternative, Scotti’s husband swears by Stoic’s backpack cooler, and I read some gear review recently (somewhere?? can’t remember) raving about Carhartt’s cooler backpack. The cooler part is smaller, but it has more room for other things, making it especially good for hiking.
The best heels for weddings & events? Linzi just dropped a YouTube video on the heels she’s been comfortably wearing to parties for years. They’re the exact same comfort brand I swear by as well, and she makes a pretty compelling case for several different styles. I loved it.
NOOOO…mosquitos! I’m one of those people that mosquitos LOVE. Not only do they swarm when I’m around, but they’ll bite me through my clothes (and my bites swell + last forever). And I just found out that my favorite, all-natural bug spray was just discontinued, GAHHHH! Sitting in front of a fan is always my best bet, but it’s often annoying and not always practical. That said, I can personally vouch for Mosquito Dunk (now called ‘Mosquito Bits’) for prevention, and this portable canister (think essential oils on steroids) for sitting around. But the bug spray thing…shoot. This one, No Natz, is supposed to be similar. WE WILL SEE.
Rhubarb season! I’ve been making my Grandmother’s rhubarb torte almost every weekend. I’ve gotta share the exact recipe, but this Rhubarb Torte recipe on AllRecipes is very similar. I’ve actually been making it with non-dairy butter and almond milk and it’s still delicious.
Something that stinks. I agree with Vanessa Friedman’s take on Dior’s relationship with Johnny Depp. He’s the spokesmodel for their Sauvage fragrance, and the fact that they’re re-launching this campaign based on the outcome of his trial…stinks.
Something that doesn’t stink. I liked The Atlantic’s article on Instagram influencer Sharon Says So. While I, too, sometimes get frustrated with Sharon’s seemingly unending positivity, I’ll admit that her account feels very different than everything else out there. And I’m excited to listen to her latest IG live on gun responsibility.
Happy weekend, gang.