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.

What I learned from the daily funnies.

There’s always a window that’s lowered by a millimeter, a woman’s hair is slightly shorter, a man’s polka-dotted tie turns to stripes. It’s really not so hard. So why am I blinded to these seemingly obvious differences?

I am obsessed with hocus-focus. No, that’s not a typo. And I’m not talking about magic, or the dark arts, or any kind of voodoo witch doctor stuff. I’m talking about that comic in the daily newspaper. You know, the one with two identical pictures and you’re supposed to pick out the six differences between them. They’re made for like five-year-old kids, so that parents can say something like, “Here you go, Junior, take a look at these,” and buy themselves a few extra minutes of quiet morning java time.

But here’s the thing; I can’t do them. I’m serious. I’m lucky if I can find 2 or 3 differences. But six seems totally unreasonable. I mean, how are children supposed to figure these out? The weird part is that it’s always the same stuff, and I still can’t figure it out. There’s always a window that’s lowered by a millimeter, a woman’s hair is slightly shorter, a man’s polka-dotted tie turns to stripes. It’s really not so hard. So why am I blinded to these seemingly obvious differences?

I think there is something else going on here. Some kind of psychic rebellion, a repressed emotional resistance to noticing the blatant, the conspicuous, the glaring. Perhaps it’s just a trick being played upon my feeble psyche by Maternus, the omniscient goddess of all things maternal. Maybe she is mocking the fact that I meticulously note every out-of-place ringlet upon each of my children’s tossled tops and can’t help but comment on their faintly stained t-shirts and popsicle blue lips.

As a mother, I admit my compulsion to scrutinize every aspect of my kid’s personas. It’s like I’m unable to keep my eye on the bigger picture; my children’s kind hearts, their graceful spirits, their unending curiosities.

Maybe the message is to stop focusing on the minutia altogether. Because even when you do catch that missing bow-tie or slightly tilted picture frame, you still end up missing a whole bunch of other stuff and losing the game.

Hmmm…that’s a pretty lofty lesson coming from the daily funnies.