Back to School

It’s that time of year again:  Back to School. 
The other day, Facebook Memories reminded me of a post I made back in 2013 regarding back to school shopping.  Now, mind you dear reader, I am a frugal housewife and do not fall prey (too much) to consumerism.  I dread all the ads and sales telling me what my kids need to learn properly.  Unfortunately, none of the things I can purchase with the exception of classical books, a few reams of lined paper and a good Ticonderoga pencil amounts to much of anything in ways of necessity for learning. 

As I read through my post, I was reminded of the sacrificial and herculean experiences I’ve gone through simply by dragging five young boys to multiple stores to ‘shop’, especially for items that seem as if they should be quite simple such as purchasing shoes.  Most people would look around, see what you like, find a size, and then try them on.  Easy.  Except it’s not.  It’s not easy at all when one is running around behind you, when another is ‘hiding’ his brothers old shoes, when yet another is boxing up his old shoes and wearing some new ones, just in case you might want to buy these for him too and the last one, who has found his shoes, proceeds to wander because all this ‘waiting around is so booooooring’  and you find him looking at suitcases.  So you drag him back, sort through the random shoes to find all the matches that belong to all 10 feet and begin the process again.  Herculean. 

I don’t have any posts for this year – yet.  I see so many people putting up their child’s back to school pictures and sit and sigh.  Sometimes, I feel like I need to simply get rid of facebook because all the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is tiring, even to read.  Equally, I have other moments of staying on if only to be a lone voice yelling “hey!  You don’t have to mark every single moment for others! Put your phone down and be present for your family!” I especially feel this during all the back to school madness. 
This is from 2009. Probably the last time I ever snapped a 'back to school' photo


Education is much more important than a new backpack or making the football team.  What happens inside the classroom is becoming drowned by the swipe of plastic and beeps saying you are approved for this purchase.  I wish I could just say the clang of the cash register, but most don’t even use cash anyway.  (For the record:  we do.)  Back to school is synonyms with buying things when it really should mean the hard work of getting ready to learn:  Routine, bedtime, proper nutrition, and study.

There’s another, much more important reason I don’t talk a great deal about back to school and it’s this:  My children are growing up and it’s a very sad time.  I am so proud of the man each is becoming, but lament my little toe-head and his sweet, sweaty arms full of dirt.  The same day my memories popped up in my feed, I was preparing a send-off dinner for Beers Boy #3 as he left for school in Minnesota early the next morning.  Our household is adjusting to only 4 chairs necessary around the table – and for someone used to doubling or tripling a recipe, that is significant:  we are now the size of a typical American family; I feel like I’m in a twilight zone. 

There’s a tremendous amount of worry and fear when a child leaves the comforts of normalcy:  we all have adjustments to make and a parent can wish for a few ‘do-over’ days.  Reality is that there are none and we must make the best of what we have right this very minute and not waste a single second on unnecessary things, especially standing behind a phone.  I would also count name-brand clothing and a fourth jacket because ‘it looks so cute’ as unnecessary things. 


I don’t recall what the purchases were for my expedition in 2013, but I can tell you exactly what I got when I took my son out for his final preparations for University:  Paper, pencils, but more importantly, my undivided attention peppered with lots of hugs.  (and maybe some new underwear too).

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