I think the last northern of the year has blown into Texas. Temperatures are probably high-50s, 60s, but we’ve experienced very warm weather hitting the 90s for several weeks now. I thought we were done with cold fronts until it began raining 2 days ago.
So, yesterday, contrary to fits of “What? You want to do what?” my children made the decision to go fly kites in the blustery 15 mph winds when this guy had first blown in. “Why didn’t you do this during warmer weather? You’re going to catch cold!”
Those were my husband’s words, not mine. Twenty years of child-bearing has taught me eeeverything works itself out. Sniffles, too. What doesn’t .. well, that’s what tissues are for. Pry that stuff out. I’m for living.
On this, Day 2, we see the leftovers of their Last Northern foray: dirty, muddy shoes lying in a pile by the door, poor rocks pried from their home in the land someone’s developing behind our house, and a busted, ripped kite that the neighbor dog got intimate with. My favorite? The family Barn Coat, tossed across the foot of my bed. He tells me this is his last hurrah.
Barn Coat’s original home was the Okie Dokie outlet shop in San Marocs, 30 miles south of Austin. I bought him back before Simon and Company discovered the Walton Family model of planting outlet malls in every suburb. I was 25ish, freshly exposed to the metropolitan world after having moved away from the Texas border where I grew up. Eddie Bauer, Lands End, REI and the Sundance Catalog had just entered my lexicon, and I knew my little 3-year-old son would look absolutely charming in a blue-jean barn coat with brown corduroy trim.
Barn Coat took trips with Vince up slides and down dirty hills, over mammoth tree roots and through the paths of dinosaur tracks. When he could no longer keep up with my young son, Barn Coat found the company of Vince’s little sister. Barn Coat rolled up his sleeves and found joy picking flowers and weaving crowns with her, splashing through early-spring surf at the beach, and playing accompaniment to her singing at her outdoor tea parties with Little Bear, Raggedy Ann and Madeline.
For a couple of years, Barn Coat had enough and safely hid himself away in my back closet, for almost 10 years, in fact, until the Younger Set emerged. He kept my second daughter and my second son warm while introducing them to the routines and joys of childhood.
Then Barn Coat met Beatrice.
She wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. Sweaters and rolled up sleeves of long-sleeved shirts. Nothing doing with this blue-jean puff-thing, this coat made for BOYS! He doesn’t fit, he’s too heavy! He doesn’t have a hood! He’s too hot! I hate his buttons! I can’t snap them, this is stupid! .. Mommy, can I have ice cream? But it’s cold. Yes, but I can put on my SWEATER!
Now you know.
I don’t know what transpired to help Beatrice accept little Barn Coat. I think I remember one day, we were in a rush to Mass, and in her race to the car, she grabbed him out of her closet where I had made him accessible as one of the last rites of passage, since she’s our last child. She was in a good mood that day, like she is on everyday that she gets to go outside. And those are the days she takes him with her.
Today isn’t the last day I’ll see him, but I think this is his last season. He’s been part of the family for 18 years, and he still looks new. I’ll probably keep him in my back closet for a while longer, before I myself have decided I’ve outgrown him.