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Back to school roller derby


Who will be the next School Supply Roller Derby Queen?

Lace up your skates, moms. It’s time to hit the aisles and go for the gold. If you’re fast and tough, you might actually secure that Justice League lunch box and water bottle your kid’s been pining for all year. Show no mercy. It’s back to school time.

God help me I hate school supply shopping. I hate everything associated with school supply shopping. I hate hordes of people fighting over number 2 pencils, I hate trying to find wide-ruled notebook paper amidst piles and piles of college lined loose leaf. I hate having to buy 4 large glue sticks when they always come 3 to a pack. I hate that despite the fact that every school in the world insists on kids bringing ziploc baggies and disinfectant wipes, they never put that stuff with the school supplies and you have to traipse through the entire store with a million other people to get to the cleaning supply and home storage areas before they run out of the items you need to complete your list.

Argh!!!! It’s awful. It was better this year because I took each boy separately. Trying to navigate two supply lists while maneuvering a shopping cart and corralling two young tykes was nearly impossible last year. At least I wised up a bit.

But the whole process is so utterly angst producing. I’m not even sure why. I love shopping, for almost everything. But this is…just…not fun. I spent over $300 for both boys. That sounds like a lot to me. I mean, that doesn’t even include text books or any real type of learning material.

I saw this one woman, who looked equally distraught, and she said that at her school you can pay extra money and they’ll do your school supply shopping for you. Unfortunately, she had flaked and missed the deadline this year. “Rest assured,” she bemoaned, “that wont happen again.” For a moment I wished our school did that.

But then, in some weird masochistic side of my brain, I heard a voice saying, “but you’d miss such a meaningful mom-son experience if you didn’t go school supply shopping each year.” The fact is, given the choice to abdicate all school related shopping excursions, I probably wouldn’t take it. Because even if I tell myself that instead of the crowded Target aisles, we could go to the water park or the movies or somewhere equally fun and carefree, something else would come up and we’d miss that time together and then it would feel just like every other missed moment I feel guilty and forlorn over.

So, I’ll keep body-checking 12 year-olds to get the last package of yellow highlighters and pushing distracted moms’ carts out of the way to retrieve that one Yoda pencil box that my son simply cannot live without. I will do this year after year after year. Because I’m a mom. And that’s just what we do.

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

3 responses to “Back to school roller derby

  1. next year, why don’t you just shop on-line. Save the gas and wear and tear on your psyche.

  2. Li’l D’s a few years out from school (although sending him off to his grammas’ house with his “baby backpack” gave me a sense of the pains that will involve, the first time!) at this point, but it’s interesting to imagine what it will be like when it is our turn. I wonder if I’ll be able to muster any of my latter-day love of school supply shopping? Fingers crossed! I’m in it regardless, of course. That’s just what we do. 😉

  3. Mack Burly ⋅

    I know how you feel. The liquor store delivers now but I would miss navigating through the littered parking lot, stepping over the guy passed out in the doorway, paying way too much for a sixer I could get on sale at Safeway for almost half the price and being berated in a language I do not understand for paying with a bill too large for the store owner to make change from. I’m a guy. That’s just how we roll.

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