celebrating Here and Now

Back-to-School Jitters

Summer began early this year, but passed by in a flash.  Mornings are crisp.  The Steelers are in camp.  And later this week kids around here will be heading Back to School.

Now, I can acknowledge that there have been a few annual occurrences that have troubled me so far during this Year Without Target.  Notably, summer vacation prep.  The idea of loading up the Subaru without first investing in a fresh stock of  beach towels, sand toys, and sunscreen bottles from Target as I had in years past was just a little scary for me.  But I didn’t do it and it turns out it was much simpler to travel with what we already had and pick a few things up along the way as we needed them.  Not to mention the unprecedented ease with which we were able to maneuver the luggage rack through the hallways of our customary hotel upon arrival.  There you have it… another unnecessary shopping ritual successfully and joyfully eliminated!

With September looming, there’s a lot to be nervous about.  Have I filled out all the necessary forms for my child’s school and activities?  Has she practiced her sight words enough over the summer?  Does she need a haircut?  How the hell and I going to get her up and out of the house an hour earlier than she’s been in the past three months?

Then there’s the Back to School shopping part.  I wasn’t looking forward to it, but about a month ago I familiarized myself with the school’s dress code, checked out some websites that sell uniforms, and ordered the ones that seemed the least unflattering/synthetic/expensive.  In time, a large box of nondescript garments in navy, white, and khaki arrived at our door.  My daughter, miraculously, even seems excited about wearing the uniforms as a rite of Big Girlhood.  To make room for the uniforms, we purged her closet of stuff she’s outgrown, packed it into the same large box, and  sent it off to friends who have three younger girls.  Done and done, easy as pie.  No Target at all.

Truthfully, pie has never really been easy for me.  I do not excel at blending or rolling piecrusts.  So when I checked the school website for the list of supplies needed for first grade, I shouldn’t have been at all surprised to find that the uniform-ordering part was just a simple seasonal fruit filling.  This was going to be tricky after all.

The list was about 20 items long and included items from all over Target’s typical floor plan, everything from Kleenex to gym shorts to cleaning supplies to the traditional pencils, crayons, and notebooks.  In many cases, specific quantities and brands were specified.  I spent the next couple of weeks carrying that list around with me each time I visited the supermarket, office supply, dollar store, or art supply store.  Everything is checked off now except we haven’t been to the shoe store yet.  If I’d gone to Target I could have done it all in an hour.

I wonder whether there will be times, once My Year Without Target is over, that I will decide it is okay to go there for a list like this or if I will continue to avoid Target even if it means I spend two weeks on a one-hour Target list.  I’m going to leave that one alone for now.  I still have Christmas to get through this Year Without Target, for Christ’s sake!

Meanwhile, I have a lot of No. 2 pencils to sharpen.  It’s clear I haven’t quite passed this test.


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One thought on “Back-to-School Jitters

  1. Mr. Valentine on said:

    The difference, Love, is that at Target they put the back to school stuff all over the store so that you buy lots of stuff that are not on the list as you walk the aisles and Target sells more stuff. They got a copy of the list before it was sent to you; they know. By going to ten different places di you spend more or less? Did you buy anything from independently owned stores?

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