If you Google image "New England," you'll find a lot of pictures of Fall foliage. And, it's true, Autumn here is quite beautiful. But, what they don't tell you — before you move here anyway — is that the season lasts about a week or two at best. One minute, it's still warm and sunny; the next you're breaking out the parka, the mittens, hats, scarves and fur-lined boots.
Or you're not. Not if you're a teenage girl.
We had our first 20-odd degree day this week. It was 21 when we got up and 24 when my daughter left for school. (It was a veritably balmy 27 by the time I got back from my walk. Break out the sunscreen and the bikini.)
Here's what my daughter put on: a nylon jacket embroidered with her equestrian team's logo.
"Noooooooooooooo ..." responded her father, putting his hands on her shoulders, firmly spinning her around and sending her back to the coat closet. "Ugggggghhhhhhhhh," she groaned.
She took her ski coat (left the original jacket on a chair, thank you very much), and grudgingly put it on. No cap, no gloves, she didn't even bother to zip the coat.
To my husband's credit, he didn't fight it anymore, and they left.
Meanwhile, I tidied up breakfast (and hung up her jacket), and bundled up for my walk. Here's what I wore: a sports bra, a tank top, a tee shirt, a sweatshirt, yoga pants, two pairs of socks, a two-piece ski parka (it's marketed as multiple jackets in one, depending on how many of the pieces you put together), two scarves (one to wear around my throat and the other to wear over my mouth and nose), fleece gloves and matching hat. I felt like the Michelin tire man; the only parts of my body exposed to the elements were my eyes.
And I was still cold!
Just looking at my daughter and her friends makes me shiver. These are smart girls, honors students, heading to college in less than two years. You'd never know it based on how they choose to dress. And they can't plead ignorance either. Every one of them has a smartphone with a built-in weather app.
Then again, back in prehistoric times, my sister and I were very much the same. We wore flannel shirts instead of jackets as soon as our father let us (I think the rule was 40-degrees or warmer), and I myself practically lived year-in/year-out in a blue hooded sweatshirt (we didn't call them "hoodies" in 1978). Hats? No way! Gloves? Rarely. Boots? Only if they were Frye.
Do teenagers not feel cold? Or is not bundling up just another way to rebel? Like so many things, it was easier when my daughter was little.
One word: snowsuits.
There's a daycare facility downstairs at the Y where I take Zumba and yoga classes. On colder days, the children are out in the playground en force in their snowsuits. I remember the push me/pull you of snowsuits very clearly, and I can't imagine having to get 25 toddlers into them for recess and back out of them after. (We definitely don't pay preschool teachers enough!)
But, at least the kids are warm.
Next week, my daughter and I will brave the late November chill to stand on frozen toes for two hours watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. If you happen to watch it on TV, you may see us at the corner of Central Park West and 66th Street.
I'll be the one in as many layers as I can possibly pile on.
My daughter will be in a jacket. Maybe.
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