COLUMN: The most wonderful time

I’m having my usual pangs of longing for a little more summer.

It happens every year — by the end of July I’m done with summer. I want fall and all its glorious colors. I want Halloween and sweaters and boots and fires. And yes, I want pumpkin spice everything (thanks to the Sardinhas I can get my pumpkin coffee fix early).

But flash forward two weeks and I’m trying to cram in all the summer I can before school starts. Sneaking in a beach day here and there, a day trip or a three-day getaway to somewhere — anywhere! — before it all ends.

This summer was worse than usual with all the rain we had in July. My daughter started talking about back to school shopping weeks ago. And not just the typical preteen clothing shopping, my girl loves shopping for school supplies.

Online shopping will not do, she wants to feel things in her hands, flip through a fresh notebook to see that the pages turn easily and see which binder could hold all the required folders and papers. Instead of the parents happily tossing supplies into a cart in that Staples “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” commercial, it’s my daughter.

My son is the exact opposite and is happy to let me get his supplies without any input whatsoever.

So, it was a girls’ trip to Staples last week to get a few things. She chose a white binder with a clear plastic cover so she could draw her own design on paper and change it frequently since her tastes change almost weekly. She continued  choosing supplies in shades of white and grey, which she said is this year’s “aesthetic.”

I admit I do tend to indulge her school supply obsession as well as her love of books and art. While most parents I know use the consequence — or threat, you decide – of taking away electronics to get their preteens to do chores, we have found there is no consequence greater than taking away books, markers, beads and embroidery floss.

I also don’t blame her for wanting to get her supplies in person. I still love touching books and paper and all the pretty pens and desk accessories, even as an adult!

Growing up, a trip to Card Gallery gave me the same feeling. The rows of stationary meant at least an hour of browsing, and don’t get me started on the sticker wall!

We often purchased the basics at Conner’s, and sometimes Caldor, KMart or Ames, but I always got to choose something special at Card Gallery to start the new year.

So I continue that tradition today, allowing her to select something beyond basic to make the year feel special: this year it was a grey velvety soft pencil case that cost way more than it should but I tossed the budget aside and purchased it for her.

School supply shopping is generally a mundane task, but for us, it’s a mother-daughter adventure that I hope continues even after she no longer wants to be seen with me in public.

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