School Supply Shopping is Different this Year

When getting ready for kindergarten, finding that first, perfect box of crayons for your child can light you up like a candle in a dark room. I remember when I got the supply list for my oldest child. Rule following is one of those things at which I exceed. The list said to label everything sol labelled every single thing, including each individual crayon. I even used a label maker. I organized paper that came home into binders by date and, as our children got older, by child. Each school year I would ceremoniously place each of their binder into a box with their name printed neatly in the corner.

Oh, how I’ve changed.

Fast forward ten years. I grab a plastic baggie and fill it with crayons from their toybox and under the couch, tear out used sheets from last years’ notebooks, and send them off with lunchboxes that they’ve *hopefully* cleaned out since the end of the last school year. I tell them to let me know what they really need after school begins and order it online. The teachers know I’ll be the mom to send in tissue in January when they’ve run out of tissues but gained space to store them. In my closet is a 20-gallon bin for each child where I toss in the important looking things that make their way home. When that bin is full I have to throw something away to make room…and I do it without a second thought.

Now that my children are old enough to help themselves, I forward the list I get in my email to their accounts and tell them to let me know what they absolutely need. Teachers spend so much of their own money stocking their rooms that if I can have my kid reuse a few things and I can send some of my back-to-school budget the teachers’ way…I do.

My kids learned I’ll get them what they need when they NEED it. Not always when they WANT it, but they know they’ll never have to go without.

My children have grown with me and as the changes have been subtle over the years, they’ve not noticed. Maybe this year each child can pick out a new folder – maybe even an expensive one – you know one that costs $1.99 – before the first day of class.
But they’ll still have that baggie of ragamuffin crayons.

But now there’s this hole.

My son left for university yesterday. I don’t need to school shop for four. Just three.

Granted we bought him a computer, sheets, towels, a microwave…all the spoils needed for college. But the list at the local store showing me what each teacher wants in his/her classroom doesn’t exist for his university needs. He’s moved on from all that. No more baggies of crayons for him.

But now that I’m thinking about it…our school district is the only one starting late this year—I’d better get moving. Will there be any supplies left? Is it going to “Lord of the Flies” in front of the wide-ruled notebooks and orange folders? Because they only stock so many orange ones you know. And maybe I should pick up some new crayons.

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