by Sandra

So, with the end of the summer time comes the inevitable back-to-school shopping. Summer’s easy livin’ shorts, tanks and flip-flops are replaced with school clothes one size up from this past year since the kids have grown by leaps and bounds under the summer sun. Feet are crammed into new tennis shoes since the children look longingly at their flip flops, dirty and ragged from a summer of adventures.

The School Store Supplies You already know my frustration, don’t you Mamas (and Daddies)? To school Lists which appear to grow each year. Searching high and low for your one item that the teacher was very specific about (brand, type, color) and going to several different stores before -eureka!- you discover it! Dragging your kids along in order to get the items which suit them best, but finding yourself frustrated one minute to the several hour shopping trip because nobody wants to get there (including you). Feeling like you might be scrounging out every last penny to make certain that they have everything they want.

This season I discovered myself nearly in tears as I shopped with my three kids. We had been in Target (ironically, my happy place) and were trying to get a lot of the supplies for my three children in just one trip. Each child enjoyed a list which had been an entire page long. The school supply aisles were filled with children and parents, several of whom were screaming at said children. I used to be trying my best to make sure that my kids were having the right supplies and that they could actually select colors and such, when they could. I needed this as a FUN experience, just a little boost to allow them to get into the swing of school. However, we were all just flustered. After one hour as well as a half and tears from two of my three children, we determined that people had everything that we needed less the items which we would need to create a special visit to another store for.

The cart filled until it was literally heaping and things kept falling of the top and toppling to the floor. I dreaded pushing the cart to checkout. Just exploring the level of supplies within the cart made my checkbook tremble. But, we pushed our heaping cart (ever so carefully, while occasionally obtaining the boxes of crayons that kept sliding towards the floor) to the take a look at and, as expected, I used to be a little shell-shocked in the amount. The exact amount was about what our family would buy about 3 weeks of groceries. I handed over my debit card using a grimace and could feel my kids watching my reaction as I did so. This had not been the fun back-to-school outing that I had hoped for.

We packed up our bags and walked to the vehicle. When I was loading the numerous bags into my trunk, I noticed the family in the vehicle alongside ours. There was a Mom and her son getting into a rusted, older model car. She held onto one, single bag that appeared to be full of school supplies and that he proudly paraded towards the car bearing his new backpack on his little back. I really could lbtlvz a snippet of their conversation. She was proclaiming that they would buy only a few supplies per week until that they had every one of them and trying to reassure him that it was okay when they didn’t ask them to all on the first day – everything works out. They made their distance to their car (which took several tries to start) and drove with their small bag of school supplies in tow. We sat, humbled, inside our car which was full for the brim using the supplies of my three kiddos.

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