Hitting a pause on my posts about loss. Though to be honest, I did find myself on day two of high school without school supplies purchased. To be fair, the flipping school won’t unwrap the mystery of your classes until the morning of the first day, leaving parents of teens clueless as to what they will actually need. Oh, I have tried in the years past to guess. This leaves me spending three times as much for multiple reasons.
First of all, I usually have my children with me. Big mistake. Everyone wants you to think it is a bonding, fun experience where you get to win the approval of your child, (that as a teen is already distancing themselves from you), with the perfect planner or the “Big Mistake” eraser or what have you. Mothers, like to fake each other out with this experience, its like when we tell each other to have a natural childbirth. It doesn’t matter where you shop if your children/teens are with you, you have bought the sparkly pens, the “Dream Big” supersize eraser, and the zillion folder binder keeper. They also decided to mention they need a new backpack because everyone will notice they have been using the same one since middle school. Meanwhile, you are frantically determining what planner is going to keep your angel organized this year or at least not make, your kid, be the one with the spiral notebook instead of the composition notebook. In high school, we guess what they need like a $10 psychic trying to guess what that one teacher will want, that doesn’t like talking to you at parent-teacher conferences, because you have too many questions. (This could just be me.)
The years before high school are so much worse. You plan your day with multiple ads and routes mapped out. You plan your attack that this year will be different. With multiple kids, you try multiple plans of attack. One year I tried combining all four list to make it easier. That was a big mistake, I had to keep looking up what item went to what child and managed to get 75 of the wrong gluesticks. No matter how you organize it and how many stores you go to, you find yourself somewhere with sweat on your brow searching high and low for some random supply that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere. One year it was rubber cement. I found myself muttering up and down the aisle slightly disheveled. I was desperately searching for this mystical creature combing over every aisle. At some point, I started looking for customer service and begin to wonder if the store was closing or if anyone still worked in the store. I was considering surrendering and asking someone at the register, but feeling really spunky, I start picking up the service phones. Of course, when the customer service person arrived, it took him 3.7 seconds to locate it. At this point, my four girls have filled the cart with an astronomical amount of supplies and being the good mother that I am, or more honestly my fight or flight response had kicked in, I headed to the register just thrilled to be able to be done.
In year past I came up with two different business plans for such occasions. The first business plan, and you are welcome to take it, is for schools to send their lists to this wonderful company that gathers all the random items together and I write them a check. 18 boxes of kleenex, 10 reams of computer paper that I can never carry into school anyway, and all the glue sticks and dry erase markers my fabulous teachers ever wanted. I would pay. Come on Amazon, really?
The second business plan I joked about last year on Facebook. It was another one of those occasions where I got the polite hand clap, but I know most of the parents were like YES, secretly. So last year I stated they needed to serve wine during school supply shopping. Not enough that you can’t drive your darlings home safely, like a glass, or taste testing, maybe some cheese and bread. It would make the experience so… much…. better. As I posted the idea, I only had one parent brave enough to admit they would love it on FB, but I know the truth.
I know I have had reasons to not really notice back to school season. I didn’t really have the energy to guess what the school supply needs were for my high schoolers, so I decided to “let it ride” so to speak up until now. This meant I was at work for close to 12 hours before I had to run to the store and school supply shop the leftovers on the way home. So it began. I wandered the aisles for 30 minutes looking for notecards. There was no help to be found. I finally found the notecards in the office supplies, instead of school supplies, and at this point, I had wandered many aisles from the school supplies. Then, like an oasis in the desert, I saw it, a fully stocked bar with a cheerful bartender and samples! Oh my goodness! You can now literally check your children into the play area for 45 minutes and try out the latest oil and vinegar along with a pairing wine sample. Then happily make your way over to the school supplies and throw whatever random items into your cart. It doesn’t matter anyway, you’ll be back again. Next time you can try the salmon. You are welcome. As I was actually fondly remembering those days, how I miss the craziness and the begging voices for unicorn post-it notes, and gel pens, about how difficult it was, and how things are continually changing, I heard my mother’s words coming out of my mouth, “you young mom’s don’t know how good you have it.