Of Shoes and Dues
By Trish Berg
I spent the weekend at the shoe store. Nope. I wasnít buying anything for me, in case you were wondering. I was fitting my kids for school shoes. I know- I had all summer to go back to school shopping. But somehow the days turned into weeks. The weeks turned into months; and June turned into August.
And, please - of course the shoes have to light up if you are buying them for your first grader. But youíd better not even try to talk your big third grader into those baby shoes. Everyone knows that!
My scavenger hunt for back to school stuff has actually been a summer long process. Like a circle, there is no beginning and no end. I was ahead of the game back in early July when I packed up my three school aged kids and their separate supply lists and headed for Wal-Mart.
It was a shear act of persistence and patience as we trudged up and down the supply aisles, checking things off as we found them. One of them needed a spiral bound notebook for journaling. The other was under no circumstances to get a spiral bound notebook, only loose leaf paper would do.
One needed color coated folders - red, yellow and blue Ė with pockets and prongs. One needed a folder with six separate pockets. One needed a pencil bag, and one a pencil box.
One needed twenty pencils and three erasers. One needed twelve pencils and one eraser. Too bad the pencils only came in twenty-four packs and the erasers in three packs. Where was my calculator anyway?
Then, last night after their open house, my real homework began. Thereís a medical form, an information form, an e-mail form, and a walking field trip form. All times three for me!
Each teacher has her own classroom rules that need to be reviewed with each child, and then both you and your child need to sign on the dotted line. School handbooks need to be read and re-read, and then signed. There was more paperwork than when we signed for our house!
Then thereís the matter of all the money thatís due.
For each of my three children, I had to write a check for their lunches for this week, and a quarterly milk card. Thatís $1.80 per meal and $8.75 for milk breaks. There were checks for cooking school and weekly magazines. And since Sydney packed today, she needed thirty-five cents in cash for her lunch milk.
Luckily, I had some change in my purse. There are those mornings when I find their milk money on the floor of the van. Itís a good thing math was my favorite subject in school, since you practically need to be a CPA to keep track of it all.
This morning, the school bus came and went, and now I am sitting here at the computer enjoying the cool breezes blowing in through the window, thinking of all that I can accomplish with only one child left at home. It will be the first time in over a decade that I only have one child afoot.
My three-year-old, Riley, has no one to fight with, no one to crank at. I can easily pack her up and go anywhere I want to. Maybe Iíll even go back to the shoe store to get a nice pair of shoes for myself.
I have big dreams of all that I can get done this year. But Iíd better work fast.
Because if Iím not careful, September will soon turn into December, and December into June, and Iíll be back right where I started.
Trish would love to hear from you at www.trishberg.com, or e-mail trishberg @ trishberg.com.