The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Christmas card instead of First Day of School photo

By: Jenn K
August means the end of summer in Hilo. Staples said it best with “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  Dad is happily shopping for school supplies while his kids look on with discontent.

We’ve all laughed at it, right?  It couldn’t only have been me?

I love buying things and back-to-school shopping was the one time of year, aside from Christmas, when I could spend an insane amount of money on stuff.  Stuff that teachers said were necessary in order for my sons to have successful years in their respective classrooms.  Stuff that provided opportunities for these boys to feel like they got new stuff.  Stuff that I would put off having to label until the day before the first day of school.

When I had only one child in school, it was a time when shopping was either done at Longs or KTA, maybe even Hopaco. (They’re boys so I didn’t have to consider Shiigi Drug or The Most Irresistible Shop for Sanrio items.)  By the time number three entered the picture, Walmart was added to the shopping mix, then Office Max.  With “so many” choices, it was easy to fall into that shopping rut of driving from place to place, scoring the best deals.  After all, I was shopping for three kids.  However, that got tiresome really quick so convenience eventually trumped savings.  Better yet, as the boys got older their lists got shorter.

My eldest was the easiest to shop for.  He didn’t really have a preference for brands (unless specified on the lists).  He used the same backpack from Kindergarten through 6th grade, which is a feat I would never have considered.  He would pack up that green Jansport the nights before his first days of school with the overflow into KTA plastic shopping bags.  He never let on that he was excited about the first day of school, probably because he wasn’t.  We were very much alike in that respect.

My quintessential middle child needed a little more maintenance.  He, like me, absolutely could not use the same backpack every school year.  Like Eldest, he packed his own items except with excitement for the next day’s experience.  He’s very social, also like me, and looked forward to engaging with his peers once again. Naturally, a lot of that excitement subsided by the time he reached high school.

My tiny, little baby boy couldn’t have cared less about any of it.  His backpack may or may not have been new and I would pack his belongings for him on those anxiety-filled last nights.  Summer wasn’t always fun for him because it was just a countdown to the first day of school.  I always worried for him because the first day can bring many challenges mainly due to different classroom settings, different teachers, different rules.  Thankfully, he always managed to work through them a little easier every year.

I never took first day of school photos because I just wasn’t that kind of mom.  My kids probably wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate the first day with photos, anyway, because they were tortured enough annually for Christmas cards.  However, I do enjoy seeing other parents commemorate their childrens’ first days in every grade.  From the obligatory smileys in the classroom and from yards to unfortunate, sad faces in the car.  From current milestones to comparisons of the year(s) before.  Like I did for my own kids, I wish them all nothing but the best. Have a great year!  It may not seem like it but, before you know it, kids will be signing each other’s yearbooks and preparing for another awesome summer. 

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