I know it's back to school time when the Target parking lot is packed with my fellow Keen wearing, Subaru driving, tea drinking moms who are all leafing through the latest issue of 5280 while waiting for the magic doors to open.
Armed with our school supply list, the girls, the boy and I made a game of it - darting here and there - mesmerized by the cardboard rounders stuffed with crayons and pencils. I happily checked items off the list while three little people flung school supplies into the shopping cart until I hit an impasse: 1 large plastic school box (7" x 11" x 2.5").
I did not bold the dimensions for effect. The same person who makes my overachieving brain apoplectic with 1 box Flair fine-lined felt-tip pens, black, 6 count (black felt tips can be found in packs of two, eight or twelve, but not six!) made this oh-so-subtle accentuation so that all of us size-challenged parents would make sure we got the LARGE school box and not the SMALL school box because, you know, all children need a school box that can hold their pencils, a small furry animal, their lunch and the worldly possessions of a small country. I was a madwoman, borrowing a ruler from this bin to measure the pencil boxes in this bin only to discard boxes: too small, too big, too pink!
We were eventually paroled from Target, but only after depositing a good chunk of money with them. School supplies used to be so cheap, too! I spent $20 in my first year of school supply shopping for Lizzie. Now, with Olie and Lizzie in school, one at a school that requires us to purchase name brand items and the other entering middle school and the land of lockers - and locker accessories* - I spent $100 on notebooks and erasers that will be trashed by the end of the term. But, what can you do? You just spend the money and move on. And, if you're altruistic like me, you help another family buy their child a pencil box the size of a suitcase.
*Lizzie just had to have the magnetic compact mirror, locker shelving, and magnetic wire basket. I bought the basket for her, but she used her own money to purchase the pink glitter embossed "Girls Rock" compact. She has already proclaimed 6th grade as her year of pink.