Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to School…..Already?

I was at the store yesterday when the woman behind me plopped a bunch of school supplies onto the conveyor belt.  School supplies….already?  As a credentialed teacher myself, I’m pro-education.  In fact, I think going to the library is fun.  In my free-time, I scour the internet for teaching ideas for my kiddos. On Friday night, I may even be found reading or writing.  Still, when I saw those wide-ruled packages of paper, fat pink erasers and nondescript glue sticks, I felt a hint of school-anxiety welling up in my throat.  

Luckily, I don’t have cable so I can shield myself from the constant barrage of back to school advertisements.  However, I’m not sure if I can control myself from peeking at the snail mail store circulars.   Having been a teacher, I get excited when I see inexpensive pencil boxes and colorful spiral notebooks.  And, if I see washable markers (especially the “tropical colors” variety) on sale for $1, I may just have to book it to the nearest big box store to snatch some up.  

Last year, before my daughter went to kindergarten, I purchased a bunch of school supplies.  However, her teacher was very organized and pretty much provided the students with all the supplies they needed (minus a lunch box and backpack).  From my teaching reserves, I still have hundreds of pencils, a handful of folders and tons of other leftover school stuff.  Since we do a lot of drawings and crafts, I always have crayons, paper and glue sticks on hand.   So, I suppose I really shouldn’t be concerned about having enough school supplies.  

If it wasn’t the school supplies, then maybe the source of my anxiety was time.  After all, I’m one of those people who creates a summer bucket list.  I have my sights on a daycation (yes, that is a word) to Carpinteria.  Plus, I want to visit some places in Los Angeles that I have never been  before.  

Then I realized my daughter still has over a month left of her summer.    That should give us plenty of time to go to x, y and z.   We can still fit in a couple of lazy days at the beach, backyard campouts and evening ice pop runs.  Plus, that’s an entire month of, if my toddler cooperates, “sleeping in” past 8:00 or, at least 7:30.   And, let’s be honest, the only thing I don’t like about school is the waking up part; I didn’t like it as a kid and I still don’t like it.  

So where was this back-to-school anxiety coming from?  Then, I figured out the source.  My daughter is moving up to first grade.  She won’t be in the small, confined kindergarten playground any longer.   She won’t have a bathroom inside her class.  She will be on the big playground and there will be older kids with her at recess and lunch.  My daughter is growing up.  I know she may be bullied or faced with peer pressure.   She’s my oldest child so this is all new to me.  And, part of me wishes every day was summer.  The other part of me knows that I can’t have her by my side at all times.  Going back to school reminds me of this.   At this point, I have to have faith that I have taught her to make good decisions and give it to God. 

So I’ve made a pact with myself.  As of now, I’m not going to worry about going back-to-school.  I’m going to enjoy having both of my kids at home.  We’re going to soak up the sun (with an SPF of at least 30, hats and UPF rash guards). We’re going to read books in the backyard and hang out at grandma and grandpa’s pool.  Sometime before the back-to-school madness, I’ll make sure to buy new school clothes and check out the first grader’s school supply list.  After all, I might not be able to prepare myself emotionally but I can make sure I have enough school supplies!

Have you done any back-to-school shopping yet?


Photo Credit: morguefile.com/creative/dhester