School Shopping Kudos

I’m going to start this blog post by giving a shout out to say, “Keep up the good work!” to all my school supply gathering mama friends. I went out school supply shopping this evening, and you ladies have a tough job. Now, in my defense, I was shopping for kids I didn’t know. My church is collecting school supply bags to give to the local school district teachers, so if there are any families struggling economically, the kids from those families can still kick off the year with new school supplies. I think it’s a great idea, and I wanted to make the bags somewhat special instead of just throwing in the standard yellow #2 pencils and plain colored spiral notebooks (especially since it costs less than $1 to upgrade at Walmart), but it’s tough to do that when you don’t know if Johnny likes red or blue, and you don’t know if little Susan in first grade is edging towards easy reader books or still struggling through with See Spot Run.

The whole experience gave me new appreciation for what you moms have to do.

The competition — whoa, is it crazy? The 24 count boxes of crayons were pretty wiped out except for a two torn and mangled boxes. But, while I was in the kids’ book section collecting a book to put in each of the bags, I looked over and saw three boxes of the 24 count crayons. I guess a mom got to the back of the store and changed her mind. Jackpot for me! But, then as I made my way back to the front of the store, a woman, holding one of the ripped boxes, stopped me and asked where I found the crayons. I felt pretty bad to deliver the bad news that I found what appeared to be the last 3 boxes in good shape in the store. Maybe I should have upgraded to a 48 count box and let her have the 24. I tell you, I wasn’t cut out for survival of the fittest in the school supply aisles.

Then, the decisions… I agonized over those crayons after I couldn’t find the 24 count. Should I buy the washable ones? What are washable crayons anyway? Or, should I just go for the gusto and upgrade to 48? But, then again, if I bought 48, would some kindergarten teacher somewhere be cursing me until the day she dies for putting 48 crayons in the hands of a 5 year old? Maybe 16 crayons would work. But, then, what if the world’s next Picasso gets the bag I was putting together? Can you even become the next Picasso if you only get 16 colors to work with when you’re 5? And then the other choices…which notebook, pencil sharpener, pencil design. The construction paper and glue sticks were the easiest items on the list (once I found the construction paper).

So, good work, moms. Keep it up. Make those kiddos feel like they are turning a fresh page in their education. If they stay excited and motivated  through elementary school and wear those pencils down to nubs, I’ll probably rise up and call you blessed when I become the kiddos college English professor.

And, on a side note, I learned two crayon factoids about myself tonight too. First, I am a crayon snob. I buy store brand on many items like there is no tomorrow, but as I contemplated buying the cheap crayons for the bags, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I opened the box, and something just didn’t seem right. Second, and maybe this stems from the first factoid, I still find that there is something amazing about a fresh box of crayons. Popping open the lid and seeing all those fresh points in their rainbow array staring back at me made me want to run for the coloring book section, so I could release my own creativity. Well played, Crayola, you’ve branded me for life. And, I didn’t even get to be the next Picasso in the deal.