I watched my oldest daughter “A” scurry around her room, smiling and singing, gathering up her school supplies. It was May. We had just gotten home from visiting the elementary school that my daughter would attend as a kindergartener in the fall. We stopped by to drop off her registration paperwork which involved a trip to the office. We spoke with the secretary who mentioned a Back to School and Orientation night where “A” could bring in her supplies. She handed ”A” a pencil topper to go on one of her pencils, which would go in her pencil box, in her brand new kindergarten desk! Then we proceeded to take a picture of her smiling face at the front door, next to the sign, and in the parking lot.
As we got home, my daughter raced into the house gathering up all of her pencils, pens, and crayons and herding them into her brand new Frozen backpack. We tried to explain to her that it was only May, that school did not start until September, and that the orientation was not until August. But really, I wanted to take that enthusiasm and wrap it up in a little package, hold onto it, and keep it forever. To to make sure that she still had it in 3rd grade after her first standardized test or in middle school if she received her first failing grade. I wish that I could ensure her excitement about learning forever. Capture it like lightening bugs in a jar. For high school when things are more complicated, and she might have a boring class where you won’t need crayons, or even worse a boyfriend to deal with outside of class.
“A” yells to me from the other room about needing new glue, a supply list, and how we really must be ready. I tell her that we will shop for all of her supplies on tax free weekend. We will be at Walmart anyway for the Stuff the Bus School Supply drive and supplies will be cheap. I know that is a long way off. I still have preschool graduations, summer camps, and swimming lessons. Then I blink and it’s August. We have her school supplies list and Tax Free Weekend is upon us. As we walk into the store, I wish that I could capture this moment and hold time standing still, but I can’t. So, I buy her a shiny new pencil box filled with crayons and gluesticks, a book bag filled with new folders, and a bright new back to school outfit for the first day picture that I will take before she gets on the bus and waves goodbye.
Want to help economically disadvantaged children in our area experience the joy of new school supplies? Find out how here: http://www.parrishlearningzone.com/plz-give-community-outreach/
-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.