This afternoon, I bought the kids their back-to-school supplies. It was me and several other moms – plus one dad – cruising the aisles. We wandered up one and down another, checking, inspecting and selecting. Some of the things were quite picked over. I found no protractors and the glue sticks had been mangled out of their packaging, orphaned in the bin.
It’s a lot easier to complete your shopping when the hordes do not accompany you.
I really like this time of year. Not because I’m getting rid of the kids so they can continue their education, but a new school year always seems shiny and full of possibilities. Okay, a little time apart might help our hearts grow fonder.
A bit of the shine got rubbed off when I looked at Ruby’s school supply list. Clorox wipes? Twelve glue sticks?! Is that one for every month of the year? “Now featuring the February glue-stick-of-the-month, Elmer!” It occurred to me that the supplies for her first grade class were coming from me and every other parent. Despite being a haven for celebrating your uniqueness, the supply list left almost nothing to personalize. Knowing Ruby, though, she will take on that all-important task with gusto. Glitter pens, anyone?
Zac’s items were more straightforward. Thankfully, his grandma hooked him up with a cool binder which included a protractor. Score!Pencils, college-ruled paper (wide-ruled is for babies), pens, binder, and something new – highlighters. By junior high, you are no longer part of the collective. You are an individual. Your sundries are for your use alone. However, you aren’t as special or wonderful as you were in kindergarten, in part because you’re taller and maybe your voice is changing or you’re…sprouting; your uniqueness is punished in the form of taunting and shunning, sometimes in equal measure.
Zac has managed to dodge most of the adolescent angst so far. He is putting his notebook and supplies together as I write this. He wandered out a few minutes ago, stating he hopes to be in algebra this year, then he disappeared again. He’s jolly but restrained. He’s getting excited about starting 8th grade at the junior high. He’s got to turn in homework this year. It’s part of his grade now. In the last few weeks, he’s grown up a little, settled into his skin and hunkered down a bit. Last year, there was zero anticipation. But he knew what to expect, which gave him confidence. It’s a continual trade-off.
Ruby is happy to see her friends again and meet her new instructors for Spanish and English. She’s looking forward to new shoes more than new crayons.
And me? I didn’t spend a ton of money but got all I need, plus some inspiration not stocked on any shelf. Let the new school year begin!