Just let go of the eraser, and no one will get hurt!

In the midst of a snarl of shopping carts, unwashed tweens, and harried mothers in Walmart’s back-to-school aisle, I felt like I’d just tossed myself into shark-infested waters holding a bucket of chum. Seriously, I wondered if I would escape unscathed. Women can be downright mean when it comes to the welfare and success of their young.

Crayola Lincoln Logs
by laffy4k via Flicker

I think I located the underlying source of the school supply meanness, at least. I overheard a mother griping to her teenaged daughter about the school supply list. The girl needed a folder. Said folder had to be a solid color, not a pattern nor a graphic design; it needed not one, but two pockets; and brads, prongs or other metal hardware were strictly VERBOTEN. The mother was frustrated. The daughter could have cared less.

Why was that momma so adamant about getting the “right” folder for her daughter? A folder which will probably end up stuffed in the bottom of a locker, or lost under the bed at home?

Because we all have horror stories about showing up at school with the wrong kind of lunch box (mine was vinyl in an era of metal – it met its death under the bed one summer, still full of the last lunch I hauled to school and didn’t eat). We remember the pain of wearing knock-off sneakers instead of the brand-of-the-week. We know what it is to arrive at school with the 8-pack of chubby crayons instead of the 64-pack with the built-in pencil sharpener. (That was my first real experience with envy.)

school supplies x 5 kids
by orchid8 via Flickr

And so, every fall, in a valiant attempt to shield our offspring from the dangers that await them at school, we shove carts out of the way, physically block access to the dwindling pencil section, and snarl at anyone who glances at the neon-pink calculator dear daughter MUST have lest she become an inadvertent victim of social suicide.

I think the teachers are in on it. School supply lists have become so specific, you almost have to call for further instructions. But we don’t. Because to do so would mark our little one as having “those” kind of parents. So we grit our teeth, take out our frustrations on the other hapless parents in the school supply section, and hope we don’t make some fatal error in the purchase of this year’s paper, pencils, and notebooks that will land our kiddos in therapy years down the road.

5 thoughts on “Just let go of the eraser, and no one will get hurt!

  1. Anne Mateer says:

    Oh so true, Niki! I'm glad high school and college get a bit more simple in their school supply needs. More expensive, but simpler!

  2. Laura says:

    Yes, I agree! Now, the high school supplies including yoga mats and $100 calculators are counted as a test grade! After they went to school with the supply list from summer they came home with another supply list which had a due date!(only 2 days later). Glad that we don't have to go out of town to pick up those said supplies. And then what if they are out? Can you substitute? Will the parent get a detention if it's the wrong folder? And don't get me started on the 7 reams of copy paper! Why don't we just go digital?

  3. Andrea K. Van Ye says:

    Very funny and yet, true. The details of school supplies are overwhelming these days! Thanks for making me laugh after a long day!

  4. Niki Turner says:

    D'Ann – You're right… DD just received her textbooks for four online classes. Simple to shop for, but they cost her almost $600. Thank the Lord for scholarships!

    Laura – I feel your pain, m'dear! Digital is the way to go. Shall we start a campaign? : )

    Patti – Humor is MUCH better than ranting and raving… it just takes a while to get there!

    Andrea – Glad you enjoyed it! Laughter is a blessing, especially after a long day!

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