Friday, August 24, 2012

For Those Who Sent Someone to School This Week

This week was back to school for a lot of us. And I just kept being struck by the fact that in all the transitions and send-offs, mom is the one who feels it most. We're the ones who wish we could nurture our babies and help them over every bump and hurdle. We're the ones hiding behind our sunglasses so as not to show our tears. We're the ones left behind, wondering what's next for us now that less of our time is spent in direct contact with our favorite kiddos. 

Did you send somebody to school this week? Whether it was for the first time or the fifteenth, whether it was down the street to kindergarten or across the country to college, you did a brave thing. You probably wished you could hold your baby captive for a little longer, safe and sound in your own home. But you didn't.

You sent them off to fight their own battles. You sent them off to explore new worlds and meet new people. You showed them that you have confidence that they'll do just fine without you. You taught them to do the next thing even if it's a little scary. 

I think that's what motherhood is all about--letting go when we would rather hang on. So pour yourself a cup of tea, shed a few tears about the passing of time if you need to, and give yourself some grace if it takes a few days to get back into the swing of things. Letting go is hard, and you did it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flair Pens and Other School Supplies

I now refer to it as the flair pen incident of 2006. My oldest child was starting first grade, so I dutifully took all three children (ages 6, 3, and 1) to the store to buy school supplies. Consulting the list, I checked off items one by one: folders, paper, notebooks, pencils...and then I came to item number 175: black flair pens. Unfortunately, Target was sold out. So the four of us went to Office Max. Also sold out. And the grocery store. Also sold out. And Walgreens. Also sold out. And Carlson's art store. Also sold out. I think I finally ordered them online and paid exorbitant shipping costs because obviously my child needed 2 flair pens for her first day of school. It was on the list, and I was a rule follower.

Fast forward one year. I had learned a few things, among them that half the things on the school supply list don't get used, or are put into the teacher's cabinet for general classroom use and they really don't go through 30 boxes of dixie cups. 30 boxes of kleenex, probably. Flair pens were on the list again in 2007, and we sent in the ones that had come home at the end of first grade, having been used once. In 2009 I ordered a jumbo-sized box of 30 flair pens that we're still working our way through.

So no, Alison, I am not going to go shopping to three or four stores looking for an expandable that has eight pockets. All the ones at Target had seven, and I think you can make do. Double up on subjects if you need to. And no, Bethany, I don't think we need to send in four composition books for gym class on the first day. When you've used the first two I'll buy you another one. And Meredith, the list may say Ticonderoga pencils, but I think Dixon-Ticonderoga is close enough. I am never again dragging three children to five or six stores looking for flair pens. I've learned my lesson: close enough is good enough.