Back to School Shopping

It’s that time again! It’s time to go shopping for back to school! Woo!

Call me a nerd, but I’ve always loved back to school shopping. As a teacher for the past twelve years, it’s been great to be able to buy school supplies for my classroom. So many folders, index cards, markers, planners, high lighters, etc! I’ll admit, sticky notes are one of my vices when it comes to school supplies.

A quote about school supplies from one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, gets me every time. Although they’ve not yet met in person, Joe Fox (played by the ever-handsome Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) are emailing each other back and forth. In his latest email to Kathleen, he writes,

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

Again, call me a nerd, but how cute is that?!

My daughter will be in Kindergarten in a mere week, and so now I get to do even more back to school shopping! However, it’s very different shopping for school supplies as a parent than it is a teacher. She and I went to the store today, and here’s sort of the rundown of how it went:

According to the list, she needs eight glue sticks. Eight! So I’m looking around and the biggest pack I can find only comes with six. I do some quick math and it’ll be cheaper to buy 4 packs of 2 glue sticks. Seems wasteful for packaging, but check that one off the list.
Hmm, it says four boxes of 24-count standard crayons. There must be a hundred different kinds of crayons, and yet I cannot find the boxes with only 24 standard crayons. There are jumbo, mini-sized, washable (I’m not even sure how that works), glittery, and enormous boxes with every color imaginable… At last, after digging through mountains of boxes of crayons, I find some! My victorious triumph turns into frustrated annoyance when I find out that there are only 3 boxes left. I still need one more, which means another shopping trip just for one pack of crayons. As Charlie Brown says, “Good grief!”
Next, we head over to the folders because she’ll need one folder with pockets inside. This should be easy! I turn the shopping cart down the folder aisle and I have to stop. Folder after folder, as far as the eye can see! There are plain ones, pronged ones, paper ones, plastic ones, cute ones, super hero ones, funny ones, flimsy ones, sturdy ones, binder-hole-punched ones… Of course, my daughter sees the one with the cute kitten wearing a crown on it and she’s begging me for it. Although she’s fairly careful with her things, I’m pretty sure this folder won’t make it past Valentine’s Day, and so nope, a plain, sturdy, yellow folder is what she’ll have to live with.

As if that wasn’t stressful enough, we also had to deal with the crowds. It was my hope that there would be less shoppers since many schools in my area had their first day of school today. Nope. Wrong. All around us were moms and dads, consulting supply lists and checking the shelves with the same looks of confusion and frustration and surprise that I had. All around us were their children, some looking bored, others looking eager for the new year, and still others looking as bewildered as their parents at the sheer magnitude of school supplies in front of them.

While I’m loading all of our purchases into the car’s trunk, my dear little Emily exclaims, “That was so much fun! I can’t WAIT until Kindergarten!” And just like that, my daughter’s joy for the upcoming school year reminds me that life is good. That it’s important that I share her enthusiasm. That they grow up too quickly. That she didn’t see it as a chore, but as time spent with her nerdy, school-supply-loving mama who she doesn’t see as nerdy at all. That I’m blessed to have money to spend and a job that I love. And that I am beyond blessed to have my children to spend it on. ❤

So let’s crack open a box of pencils (or sticky notes!) and welcome another great school year!

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