Yesterday we started our back to school shopping. Nope, I’m not kidding. It has been almost ten years and I still haven’t quite made the mental calendar adjustment, especially since I grew up not going back to school after Labor Day (more specifically, the day after the Miss America parade up on the Atlantic City boardwalk, which we attended every year… “Show us your shoes!”). In the South we usually go back to school really early – no later than mid-August, but realize that my kids have been on summer break since before Memorial Day. I may not ready for summer to be over, yet the countdown has begun.
I had to buy a shower curtain the other day, so I bopped on in to a Walmart. (I was able to bop because I was alone. There is never any bopping when you have a constant parade following you around. We are kind of like a traveling circus.) On my way to the shower curtain department I couldn’t help but notice that the back to school supplies were already on sale. And then I calculated that there are only four weeks left until school starts. So I went back home and announced to the kids that they should start going through their clothes and shoes to see what fits and what doesn’t, and we would figure out what everybody needs to be ready for school.
Let me say right now that I am generally not a fan of shopping. It’s just not my thing. If I need something, I go get it. Otherwise, I do not go to stores. I do not browse. If I ever meet the person who invented internet shopping I will make out with him or her. My mom shops like it is her job and I grew up being dragged from store to store to store to store. I have so many childhood memories of hiding under display racks and waiting in checkout lines. I absolutely hated going shopping as a kid. We went to retail stores, outlet malls, discount chains, farmer’s markets, and garage sales. It was nothing short of torture for me.
So shopping with me as an adult is all about the efficiency. It is certainly never an all day event, but even the simplest shopping trip with all five kids can sometimes take a little while. We planned to go to three stores, which are conveniently located in the same shopping center. We had looked at the weather (the forecast was cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms) and decided that yesterday was a good day to go shopping, even though it was hot and sunny when we left the house. We bought some shoes, a bunch of clothes, and most of the school supplies on their lists. The kids were especially well behaved the entire time (which is a critical component of successfully completing a shopping trip of this magnitude) and the weather even cooperated by clearing up (the storms had arrived in full force while Kid B was trying on some new shorts) whenever we left a store to walk down to another one or load bags into our car. Dare I say that shopping on this day did not suck?
In the last store I was paying for our stuff and the kids were behind me off to the side near the entry display. We had quite a haul and check out was taking a while. As she was scanning the giant pile of clothes, the cashier asked me if all of the kids were mine. I responded with what I thought was a very believable, “… all FIVE? No!” Because I have all of these residual icky feelings towards shopping I guess I figured my shopping luck had run out and they had just broken something or were swinging from the rafters or Kid E had removed his pants or something else inappropriate. But they were actually being really quiet and still and posing amongst the mannequins. Kid A even took a picture of them…
Now that was a fun shopping trip.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…