As I walked through the aisles at Walgreens earlier this week, picking up some last minute school supplies that the teachers have requested, I recalled the days of my youth and the thrill of picking out school supplies.
I guess I lucked out, because my Dad works for Walgreens. I always seemed to end up with some of the coolest stuff. I had a Trapper Keeper long before the rest of my classmates. I remember how you could put the pen above the pad of paper in the back, making it very convenient. I remember setting up my folders, figuring out which color would go with each class. The smell of fresh lined paper. New pencils. Cool pens. Remember when Parker Brothers made nice erasable pens, much cooler then today’s Erasermates? They didn’t erase as well, but they were made in fun colors with a nice shape.
I may have been a dork in many ways, but they were always jealous of my cool school supplies. In a Catholic school with plaid uniform skirts for the girls and basic slacks and polo shirts for the boys, you had to stand out somehow. School supplies were my thing.
Now I’m a mom. School supplies bring me joy (I’m still a pen and paper junkie and nothing thrills me like a good office supply store), but from the Mom perspective, they scare the crap out of me. Jason didn’t want any say in his new school supplies this year. Instead of picking out a binder with me, he went to a Scout meeting with Mike, and asked that I do it while he was gone. Ugh! The pressure! What if the binder I pick out is all wrong? What if he doesn’t like the dividers I picked, and he hates the folders?
More importantly, what if the other kids don’t like them? As if picking out back-to-school clothes wasn’t bad enough, now I had to worry about the school supplies too! The backpack needed to be the right color, and the binder had to be not only hip, but good for organizing things. The dividers should be in color, so that his classes can be color-coded for easy organization. The pens had to be the type that he likes. (The aforementioned Erasermates.)
It was all so stressful! I was having flashbacks in the middle of the store of my own junior high years, and I had to get it all right. It was imperative.
Fortunately, I was successful on my quest. As I looked around at the other kids on the first day of school, I saw similar backpacks to the one Jason now has. He loves his lunch bag, having chosen it from the three I brought home from the store. (I’m not good with decisions.) He declared it as “Cool!” the minute he saw it. I truly scored on the binder though – it has a zipper around the 3-ring binder portion AND a velcro tab on the front to access the area with the accordian file for papers and the mesh zipper pouch for his map pencils. I found a coordinating three-hole punch to go inside, to make it easy to punch his papers to put in the binder. His school planner fits in there too, making it easy for him to write down what is going on in his classes.
Mike told me last night that while his parents definitely took care of him and his brother as far as school supplies, I rocked as a Mom because I picked out all the really cool stuff. Jason seemed to agree.
I guess I still have the skills to pick out all the rad supplies. I didn’t buckle under the pressure, I persevered, and I won the challenge.
As for my happy moment of the day? It was when Jason pulled out his binder when he got home from school, showing me the planner – filled in with his work – and the papers that he worked on today in all of his classes. Neatly organized, of course, in the cool accordian file section of the binder. After some challenges in the past with organization, I was so happy to see him take ownership like that so soon.
Then he pulled out his science homework and got to work on it. On his own. Without me even saying a word.
He seems to be maturing right before our eyes this summer, and I’m really proud of him for that.