Every year we migrate south to San Diego for the winter. From the 405 to the 5 to La Costa Avenue to my childhood home, where I grew up poolside– under the yellow sun, in my bikini with the surfboard I never learned how to ride.
Usually migration calls for a change in climate or at the very least, a change. And every year I expect one. When I was little I hoped for snow, but now I am happy to settle on rain, or wind OR something. Cloud cover would make me happy. Hell! I’d settle for a thermostat below 70 because every year regardless of the weather forecast, my presumption fails me and I am forced to trade my leggings and cashmere in for flip-flops and denim.
I like to dress. And perhaps even more, I like to dress Archer. I’m the Rachel Zoe to Archer’s Nicole Richie and in the winter months, I’m on a mission to command respect from all the bitches on the playground. Your kid may talk and go to gifted pre-preschool and you may have five nannies but GODDAMNIT! My child is BETTER DRESSED!
Shallow? Perhaps. But you take what respect you can get in this town, and you will see no Lee Mom-Jeans or Disney Monogrammed overalls over here. Talbots? Psh. Winnie the Pooh? Aw, hell no.
Our only problem is that without seasons, style sours like milk, and here, as I type I can’t help but feel depressed that Archer’s red woolen sweater and matching hat are still folded neatly his duffle bag, totally cute but in this heat– totally unpractical.
As for me? I’m kicking myself for bringing so many friggin scarves. Seriously? Ten scarves? We’re only here for six days! And as far as my Christmas dinner get-up, I think I’m going to have to rethink my wool hound’s-tooth coat-dress.
I realize I am one of thousands if not millions of So Cal mothers who
hope for weather so they can dress their little ones up like elves, or
pilgrims or Little Lord Fauntleroy(s) in their finest velvet suits. For
example, Archer has a pea coat he has worn all of once. (See below.) Not
to mention the various winter hats, jackets, rain-boots (three pairs)
and sweaters that belonged to my husband when he was a baby. Ideal for
upstate New York winters but not so much Southern California holiday
Last week there was hope. It rained once and we had a three-hour windstorm on Thursday morning. A palm tree even snapped in half. I crossed my fingers (and my toes) that the weather would become increasingly more severe and even violent so we could cuddle by the fire and watch White Christmas as the wind slammed against the windows…
But unfortunately as soon as we merged onto the 405 south from La Cienega the sun reappeared and followed us home like a kite, its invisible string caught in the antennae of my Passat, taunting me with its cruel warmth. Damn sun.
When we arrived I removed my scarf and my favorite wool hat with the wooden button, and changed into a pair of jeans and a wife beater. I removed Archer’s beanie and boots, and exchanged his cords with shorts and his sweatshirt for a tee, and let him play barefoot in the grass.
And last night my Dad lit a fire, even though it wasn’t cold and Archer ran around the living room in his little diaper and socks. Until he collapsed into an exhausted heap on the floor.
For Thanksgiving we went on a family trip to Boulder Colorado where once again I hoped for snow. On the ground. In my hair. Caked to the bottom of my shoes. I hoped Archer would get to play in it. I wanted to make a snowball and wear my favorite patent-leather gloves. I thought it would be fun.
Meanwhile, a terrible snowstorm this week has left my cousins stranded there. Flights have been grounded in Denver and because of the snow, and the wind and the cold they cannot be with their family. With my family.
And just like that I am quickly reminded that even though I cannot dress Archer up as a snow-gnome, and/or bundle up in layers of scarves and mittens, at least the sunshine permits us to all be here. At home. The lack of exciting weather is in itself, our greatest gift, because it means we can celebrate the holidays, together. In our shorts and tee shirts, with our feet in the pool– as a family.
Happy Holidays to you and yours. Love.