In 2005, many first-days-of school ago, I watched my 7-year old son walk into his kindergarten class with tears stinging my eyes. I felt stuck in place, unable to leave, and was surprised to see another kindergarten mother walking quite snappily back to her car. It struck me as somewhat unseemly, her sprightly air. The kindergarten teacher, a wise and, I would come to learn, hilarious woman, looked at my weepy-mommy face and winked. “This isn’t her first rodeo,” she said, smiling.
Now, eight years later, with two sons in high school and one starting 1st grade, this impending school year is no longer my first rodeo. Which is why there are no traces of sentimentality left around one of the critical steps in gearing up for 1st grade: the School Supply List.
Long gone are the days when school supplies held the air of freshly sharpened pencils and sheaves of blank, potential-filled paper. Long vanished is the fantasy of cheerfully picking out pencil cases, notebooks, and new crayons with my sons. And good riddance.