Crayons, crying kids, frazzled moms and missing folders are sure signs that back to school shopping is upon us.
Just take a look the next time you go to Target. You can spot the panic on the faces of the parents and literally smell their fear. Back to school shoppers will be the ones holding the crumpled supply list in one hand and trying to open the child resistant cap on their Xanax bottle with their other hand.
Everyone that has a school age child knows that back to school shopping is not for the faint of heart. Each year the teachers send out a list with at least one item that cannot be purchased in any store within a 75 miles radius of your home. This one item is on the painfully long list of supplies that your child must have before the first day of school. The elusive item is usually something benign like a green folder that should cost you a quarter.
Don’t judge those Target pill poppers. Chances are if you have a school age child by the end of the day your life will become a psychotic quest to find this folder so your kid isn’t the only kid without it when the school doors swing open in September.
Every store you go to will have a slot for the green folder but the slot will be empty. You assume because you can’t find it that everyone else all ready has a green folder tucked in his or her backpack. Your heart starts racing and your palms get sweaty. A mental picture flashes of your child being the only one that doesn’t raise his or her hand when the teacher asks, “Does everyone have ALL their school supplies?” Immediately all those that don’t raise their hand will be labeled as the kid with the slacker parents who couldn’t manage to complete a simple list. This one small retail defeat will bring shame upon your household that will last one full academic year.
The other PTA moms will be huddled in a righteous group and pointing at you in the car line. The scorn and ridicule you will feel will be second only to Rudolph when he wasn’t allowed to play reindeer games. You must find the item and save your family name.
A tank of gas later and after threatening the lives of your children several times you find the green folder in some obscure drug store and pay three times the normal price. While there you will purchase a bottle of wine that you will be tempted to drink on the drive home.
Triumphantly you check green folder off your crumpled sweaty list and save the family name.
At this point you will feel just a bit lightheaded with achievement (or low blood sugar). You dream of the rewards you will reap as a result of your hard work and you practice saying things like “Oh my goodness you couldn’t find the green folder? I should have gotten extras. “. Heck, you will probably be president of the PTA with these supply-finding skills of yours.
Even after the exhaustive day of shopping you manage to stay up late and pack all the supplies on the list into a stylish backpack. The energy derived from the cheap drugstore wine was all you needed to complete the task before you pass out.
On the first day of school when you realize that the backpack weighs more than your child, you reluctantly agree to carry it to their class for them. After taking the clip out of your bangs, smoothing them down with a little spit and tucking your pajamas into your sweatpants you make the long walk to their classroom dragging the 75-pound backpack.
Your appearance produces a scowl from the teacher as she assumes you are one of those helicopter parents that insists on walking your child to class. She has no idea that you have your pajamas on under your sweats and walking into the school is the very last thing you want to be doing. If you could get by with slowing down and having your kids tuck and roll onto the front lawn, you would do it in a heartbeat.
In an attempt to get on her good side you mention that you didn’t give up until you found the “green folder”. You try to impress her with all the miles traveled to perform this task and to let her know that your little one doesn’t come from a family of quitters.
That is when she smiles and says “Oh goodness, that was just a “suggestion” list.”
As you plan your revenge you remember that she is going to have your child for the next nine months, 40 hours a week. No revenge needed. Sometimes these things just take care of themselves.