Ahhh, . . . buying school supplies. This has always been my favorite end-of-summer activity. When I was in elementary school, the first day of school was always the Tuesday after Labor Day (not these days– in the South at least). I remember going to the Ben Franklin and getting everything on the list, crossing items off as I put them in the buggy. Once home I would spread everything across the living room floor lining things up, categorizing like items, writing my name carefully across each notebook and folder (I guess I was a geek at the time). Every year or two I would get a new lunch box. My favorite was the puffy plastic one featuring Josie and the Pussycats that I got in second grade. I still remember the way it smelled when it was brand new (and the awful smell of stale peanut butter sandwiches and apples later in the year).
Yesterday I went school supply shopping with my daughter. It’s not that I am trying to rush things. It’s just that we are going to the beach next week so when we return there will only be a couple of days before school starts. And of course you never want to wait too late or you won’t get the notebooks you want or all of your favorite pens will be gone. Besides, the process of “getting organized” for the new school year takes some time. You’ve got to color coordinate, write your name, add things to your calendar, . . . . I guess this is something I passed on to my daughter.
This year is different however. My daughter is entering eleventh grade and her school doesn’t give out supply lists. I guess they expect you to know what you need at this age–how you want to organize things. She didn’t get as much joy out of shopping this year either. There was a level of anxiety present that I have never seen before. I think reality has hit her hard. The fact that she is a junior, that she has a very rigorous academic schedule, that she has to prepare for and take the SAT and ACT, and begin getting very serious about college preparations. By the time we left the store, she was practically having an anxiety attack.
An hour later with all of her supplies spread across the den floor, she calmly labeled and sorted and color coordinated . . . and I think I caught a glimpse of a little smile growing across her face.