I don’t really enjoy Back To School.
I know many parents simply LIVE for this time of year. The time when kids head back to the classroom, and out from under their parents feet.
The time when parents no longer have to hear, ‘Mom, I’m BORED!’
Many parents simply can’t wait for that first day back to the ‘routine’.
Me? Not so much.
Unfortunately, for me, as well as all the other parents out there, going back to school means dollar signs. And lots of them.
And every year, I’m left grumbling to myself, and cranky in the aisles, because despite the fact the boys have two parents, there’s only ONE who pays for the ‘back to school’ supplies, clothes, shoes, haircuts and fees every year.
And every year, that fact makes me cranky.
This year was no exception.
The boys and I had already done one ‘Walmart Run’, where they chose binders, backpacks and a few articles of clothing.
The next day, I did a second run.
On this trip, unfortunately, we had to exchange some of the items one of the boys had taken home the day before, (thinking it would fit).
I’m standing in line at Customer Service, completely lost in my thoughts.
Thinking about how much this particular trip was going to cost. Thinking about how much the trip(s) before that had already depleted my wallet.
But what’s a parent to do? Your kids NEED supplies, clothes, shoes (two pair for each kid to be exact) and everything else that goes along with it.
I was SO wrapped up in my moment of unhappiness, that I didn’t even notice the little girl standing sort of between her father and I in the lineup.
OK, I NOTICED her, I just wasn’t paying much attention to her, simply because I was focused on my own misery.
I knew she was making noises, but I wasn’t listening to what they were.
Finally, a small voice broke through my cloud of gloominess.
What began as simply background noise, mixed in with the normal ‘Walmart chaos’, slowly started to penetrate my brain.
Something was pulling me out of my mental drowning in ‘school supply hell’.
Suddenly, I realized it was the little girl.
She had been trying to get my attention.
Despite the fact she kept repeating herself, louder … and louder … and LOUDER … I wasn’t answering her.
She was talking to ME and I had been completely ignoring her.
I looked down, and gave her my full attention, to see what she was trying to tell me.
She wasn’t shy at all.
She looked straight at me, with wide, beautiful eyes and said (for perhaps the 5th time), quite loudly, ‘YUR PREEEETTY!!!’
It took me aback.
I was so caught up in my own thoughts, my own moment of unhappiness, that her words took a second to sink in.
I got right down to her level.
We were eye to eye when I said ‘Thank you very much, Hun!’
Considering I had simply rolled out of bed, fed the kids, thrown on some jeans and a tank top, no makeup, and nothing done to the hair … I thought that was a HUGE compliment, and I told her so!
It wasn’t until later in the afternoon, while I was driving by myself, that it hit me …
That little girl was standing in that lineup for a reason.
Somebody, somewhere felt I really needed to get my head out of the place it was in.
I needed a smile.
And apparently, she was put in that particular lineup, at that particular time, to give me one.
And without even knowing it, to make me feel better.
I’m still pissed off that I am the only parent who contributes to my kids ‘back to school’ costs every year.
But sometimes, you just have to let those feelings go, and get out of your own way long enough to understand that even when things seem bad, there’s always SOMEONE who can still see the good.
Even if that someone is a little four year old girl, a complete stranger, just wanting to tell you, ‘YUR PREEEETTY!!!’
Thank you, Little One. You really did change my day!
Happy Back To School, Kiddos! I hope everyone has a GREAT year!
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I don’t really enjoy Back To School.