31 July 2014

The Past and the Present

Tomorrow, I will be braving the crowds of shoppers for Tax Free Weekend.  I will be armed with School Supply Lists, clothing and shoe sizes, and a list of other things that I want to pick up, since I'll be out. This year, I'll be supplying two kids for school instead of just one.  I'll be buying double the amount of pencils and erasers, sanitzers and Wet Wipes, than I've had to buy before.  And I don't know if it's because this is the first year I'm shopping for more than one child, or if it's just memories sparking as I'm getting older, but it brings to mind my mother returning home one year, a few weeks before I started school, laden with everything I would need to start the school year out right.

I can still see clearly my mother, sitting on the floor in our living room with a large bag or two from the store 30 minutes away from home.  I watched with anticipation as first one, then another, and another item came out that was going to have me ready for another year of school.  There was a school bag, and a metal lunch box with it's own thermos - what was on it is now lost to the mists of memory, but the feeling of having that wonderful lunch box with it's matching thermos, being in awe of the "new lunchbox smell" that it seemed to have for me, stays with me until this day.  I'm sure other things came out of the bag, like pencils and paper and other school essentials, but what I really remember most were the clothes.

One by one, my mother would pull out a new outfit for me to wear to school.  Cute dresses that would come up to my mid-thigh.  Matching pants and tops.  Shoes that matched perfectly with the clothes I was getting.  That day was like Christmas for me, all the new things that belonged to just me.  I was so excited to start school so I could begin using these things.

My kids probably won't share the same excitement.  School here in Nashville is very different than it was in small town New York.  The supplies will be communal for their classrooms.  The clothes will be Standard School Attire - blue, black or khaki pants, short sleeved collar shirts with nothing on them.  No lunch boxes, because school lunches are free for all students in the Metro Public School system.  Teddy may get excited over the backpack I get him (Pete already has an awesome Phineas and Ferb one), and Pete might be excited over the sneakers I buy for him (Teddy got a new pair at the end of last year that he has hardly worn).  And they may want to see what other goodies I get.  But I suspect they'll look at a few things and then, before I have a chance to finish pulling things from the bag, they'll ask if they can go play on the computer, or watch TV, or anything else that doesn't involve watching Mom pull items out of bags.