We were half a block away from the door when Raines stopped. Gave me a look. “OK, Mom,” he said. “I’m going to do that teenager thing.”
I stared at him, blank. What teenager thing?
He gestured down the block. “I’m going in there by myself,” he said, smiling down at me, kindly. Oh, god — his smile was almost pitying. This was my first tip off. I braced for what was coming: “Let’s just hug here…and then I’m going to walk to the door without you. OK, Mom?”
We’re a very affectionate family. And my boys have never — not once — shied away from giving me a kiss and hug goodbye on the school playground. In front of their friends. I’ve never insisted on this (maybe joking around once or twice?), but the whole hug goodbye has always been…just…a given? So much so that it’s not uncommon for their friends to swoop in for hugs too. Obviously joking around, but still.
Except this was his first day of high-school orientation, so I smiled a bright smile, “Of COURSE, Raines!!!” and gave him a quick hug. One of his buddies walked up, and I watched them do that hand-slap/back-pat thing men do and walk away.
We’ve reached a level of independence that is making my head spin. He is such his own person now, and I find myself endlessly fascinated by this tall, handsome stranger with his own thoughts and opinions and experiences that I (apparently) know so little about.
I’m starting to understand what my mom tried to explain years ago, after Raines’ first birthday, when I was sobbing about “how old” he was getting. When I was feeling panicked by the thought of our little world expanding, seeing just a downward spiral of my own self, one where this precious little creature — one who was so connected, he felt more like an extra appendage, like my own arm or leg or heart — would need me less and less.
“They do need you less and less,” my mom said. “But, Shana, it’s wonderful too. Just being around them — just talking and laughing as adults. It’s wonderful,” she gushed again, laughing at my stony face. “Honey, I promise.”
I walked back home after dropping Raines off, feeling both proud and sad. His little brother, Pax, was waiting for me. “How did it go??” he asked. “Did you go inside?” “Nah,” I said, explaining what happened.
“WHAT???” Pax was indignant. “HE DIDN’T WANT TO HUG YOU IN FRONT OF HIS FRIENDS? HOW COOL DOES HE THINK HE IS? ‘CAUSE, MOM, HE IS NOT THAT COOL!!!!”
And then Pax wrapped me up in a giant hug and whispered in my ear that he would never, ever do that to me — never ever (!!). And while I definitely know his time will come, it dawns on me that this is maybe why you have more than one kid.
Thank God for little brothers.
HOLD THE PHONE. My beloved GANNI boots are on sale???!! Almost sold out, but…hang on…YESSS: Saks actually has a few really solid options in the sale section, once I dig a little deeper. Try my exact GANNI boots in a lighter color, a similar GANNI pair in my exact color (but with a shorter shaft) or, for a very similar look, these Philip Lim boots, which are also on sale.
Two Great Bags, On Sale: This Nanushka pleated-leather (vegan leather) clutch is the sexiest thing I’ve seen in a while. I have a similar piece from Clare V., and it’s both wildly practical AND outfit-making — one of my favorite purchases ever. And while my Staud bag that looks like some sort of cool flowerpot (see it here) is long gone, J.Crew just came out with a very similar piece. Such a great shape — people cross the street to ask me about it.
Which Ugly Shoe? I can’t decide between the UGG Ultra Minis in Burnt Cedar and Birkenstock Boston clogs (shearling-lined, obvi) in Stone Coin. And if you say both, you are NO HELP. (But hmmmm….I’ll prob get both.)
Stunning. This washable silk cropped cami from Everlane is jaw-droppingly gorgeous on. It completely aces the understated-but-chic vibe. I have the size 2, for reference. It pairs perfectly with Everlane’s Way-High straight-leg jeans (if you care, Tumbled Indigo is MUCH softer than Salty Water).
French-Girl Lips: I’ve been a longtime fan of Saie Beauty’s lip balm (your lips but better), and it recently came out with a product called Lip Blur that looks like a sort of almost-lipstick. I can’t decide on the color, though, so I might actually splurge on the two-pack. I definitely want Modern Rosy Nude and either Nouveau Midtone Brown OR Surreal Raspberry.
I don’t roller skate, but…if I did, this pretty pair. I’ll bet they’d make a really sweet gift too.
Ahhhhhhh… I first fell in love with Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria scents in Paris back in 2003. Happily, one of the duty-free shops we were wandering around between flights had the full line, including the newest one, Mandarine Basilic. It’s very citrus-forward but really warm too and smells like a summer day. This exact scent has been around for years in a lighter version. The update is a bit stronger (side note: None of these are “strong” — the whole line is flirty, as in a make-you-want-more kind of way) and is bringing me SO much joy during these end-of-summer days. Nordstrom has a decent selection, if you want to see other options, but Macy’s is the only one that’s currently carrying my favorite stateside.
Tell Me No. Because I’m really, really tempted by these wild pants.
Not *Exactly* For Kids… We picked up the game Ransom Notes, and it’s HYSTERICAL. A few of the prompts are decidedly NOT kid-friendly, but our guys are basically teenagers now, so, whatever. Anyway, it was a laugh-so-hard-you-cry kind of game.
A Week’s Worth Of Outfits: In our special Tuesday newsletter, I’m on deck for this coming week’s My Everyday Edit. If you haven’t yet joined, well…we’re pretty darn fun. Subscribe here, if you’d like.
I’ve been striking out on books lately. Any recommendations???
Happy weekend, gang. Enjoy these last few days of August.
Read: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. It’s a poetic autobiography, but also a biology lesson. I’ve long benefited from your book recommendations and will feel proud if this one is a winner for you!
Running into the same wall, but these have been good:
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus,
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid,
and a lightening-quick, missing-DC read,Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti.
I just finished Hamnet and it was mind-blowingly beautiful. I was wondering if it hit me even harder as a mama to boys. I hope you read it!
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders, The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl and A Heartbreaking work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Some of these titles are pretty old. I read them all on our summer vacation in July and loved every one of them.
Best summer Beach read; anything by Elin Hilderbrand. Many set in Nantucket (my favorite place) but you don’t have to know it to love her characters and stories.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. I have it on Audible and was literally sobbing while driving the other day. I’m finding anything written by her is outstanding.
Lessons in Chemistry, The Swimmers by Otsuka, Oh my – you’ll love Charlotte McConaughy’s Migrations and Once There Were Wolves.
And for the scientist in you – Stolen Focus by Johann Hari.
I just finished West with Giraffes and it was by far my favorite book in awhile (I typically read 2-3 books a week). I also enjoyed It Girl the new Ruth Ware novel. Also, I can’t remember, have you read Black Cake? That was really good too!
Also, just added The Island of Missing Trees to my list.
How High We Go in the Dark–hands down my favorite book in the last 5 years. I have also loved Madness by Mary Hornbacher and My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach.
Book Rec: Not new but, new to me “ A year in Provence “ by Peter Mayle was just a pleasure cover to cover.
And in regards to the “ wild pants” from saks – I love them!
I’m currently in the midst of creating my own patchwork jeans from an old ripped pair of boyfriend jeans. I’d love to know if you decide to get them 😊
I’m not the fantasy romance kind but A Court of Mist and Fury is the perfect summer escape. So sexy, smart and well-written that I finished it in a long weekend. And the characters are so intriguing that I missed them when I was done. Thank God there are four more volumes. I’ve read them all. Have I said I’m not a fantasy reader?
Also, Less by Andrew Sean Greer, Circe by Madeline Miller and Storyteller, Dave Grohl’s autobiography.
I love that basket bag (have it in my cart right now) but I am just not sure I would actually use it. I am a hands-free crossbody/shoulderbag/backpack girl, never a satchel and only a clutch on Special Occasions. Maybe I would use it for date night, now that we are having those again.
Get the Birks (have them love them.) There’s no arch support in the UGGs. I don’t understand the ultra minis. I like my UGG boots to come up higher.
$400 for Patchwork jeans that, let’s be honest, you will wear exactly once (or maybe twice if you count Halloween) before deciding they are way too extra??? Shana, you already know the answer to this question.
I just finished listening to Spinning Silver (interesting twist on the Rumplestiltsken trope) and am halfway through reading The Lost Apothecary.
Have you read The Cerulean Sea yet? It’s pitched as basically being a big gay hug. I highly recommend. For romance, A Lady for a Duke is great. It’s a historical romance with a trans woman as the heroine, but her being trans is not the center of the plot, which is really nice. It’s sweeping and beautiful and just so lovely and hopeful. Also many quirky characters!
My vote goes to the Ugg mini and I’m a no on the pants–but not because of the patchwork. I like that part! I’m just really not a high-rise fan. Never gonna board that train!
Fun fact: the hugs come back. (hang in there mama…you got this!)
Thank GOD for little brothers! I totally hear you!!
I just burst into tears reading this. I have two boys the same ages. What else can I say? You nailed it.
Just got two book recommendations today: Metabolical by Robert Lustig and Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez