Rhonda Cagle

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

School Supplies

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

It’s strange how a season can evoke such strong memories. A familiar scent or sight stirs long-forgotten wisps of yesteryear and I find bits of my past suddenly occupying present-day space in my brain. The past few weeks have been full of these walk-down-memory-lane moments, as I’ve sauntered the aisles of my favorite Target store.

School supplies are everywhere. Entire bins of yellow No. 2 pencils greet me at every turn. I well remember the childhood wonder – the sheer joy – of carefully sharpening pencil after pencil, then holding them all in my hand like a bouquet of learning waiting to bloom.

And the crayons! To this day, I still smile when I get the rare opportunity to open up a brand new box of Crayola 64-count crayons with the built in sharpener. Popping open the top, I find myself sucking in my breath at the beauty of a perfectly formed color spectrum made up of such old favorites as Midnight Blue, Thistle, Spring Green, and Magenta.

When Megan was born, I envisioned the day we would walk the aisles, her little hand in mine, and pick out a perfectly pink lunch box with matching Thermos and fill an oh-so-sweet backpack with pencil bouquets and boxes of crayons to color her years of learning.

Me and Megan on her first day of Kindergarten.

And we did. Aisle after aisle, year after year, we reveled in the rite of passage known as Back-to-School shopping. In the beginning, it was Disney Princess backpacks and Barbie lunch boxes that made her eyes sparkle. All too soon, we walked right past Belle, Ariel, Snow White, and the gaggle of Disney fairytale maidens in search of a “cool” Jantzen backpack in black with white polka dots. Crayons and yellow No. 2 pencils gave way to protractors and calculators that can compute the formulas necessary to launch a space rocket and cost more than my first car.

This year, however, our Back-to-School shopping list was much different. Perfectly pink lunch boxes and 64-count crayons were nowhere on the list. Neither was the “cool” black and white backpack. This year I found my shopping list included a set of dishes, silverware, bedding, a mini-fridge, microwave, a television, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Tomorrow, Megan leaves for college. Tomorrow, we will be driving across town (thank God it’s only across town!) and moving her and her grown up school supplies into a dorm room the size of a coat closet. Tomorrow, we’ll be unpacking boxes that contain toiletries, first aid and medicine cabinet staples, bedding, and linens. Then tomorrow, I’ll come home – and she’ll stay there. It’s another rite of passage. Like the times I rocked her and dreamed of buying pink lunch boxes and pencil bouquets, this moment is one I also envisioned. It just came a lot more quickly than I thought it would.

I feel a lot like I did on her first day of Kindergarten. I’m so proud of her and so happy for the adventure she’s about to take but terrified about dropping her off and driving away. Will she make the right kinds of friends? Will she be happy? Will her teachers understand her inquisitive mind, kind heart, and sensitive spirit the way I do? Did I do a good job of preparing her? Will she have everything she needs to be successful? Who will help her when she gets hurt? Who will be there when she has questions and doesn’t understand? Who will be there to give her a hug when she’s having a bad day?

Suddenly, I find myself looking at all the boxes containing all of her school supplies, wondering if she’s taking what’s really important. How does one pack things like faith, fortitude, perseverance, and common sense? Does one ever really have enough of these supplies? As her mom, I want to continue providing these things for her. But as her mom, I know the time has come for her to take what I’ve given her, get out of the car, and walk toward her future.

She’ll do it, of that I’m sure. As for me? Well… I’m heading back to Target. For old times’ sake, I think I’ll buy myself a handful of yellow No. 2 pencils and a box of 64-count Crayola crayons.

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