This past weekend was tax-free shopping in Florida. Typically the weekend when parents wait to purchase all their back-to-school supplies and clothes for their little academicians. Since neither of my kids are in a position to need No. 2 pencils or college rule paper, there was nothing I needed to stock-up on for the coming school year.
Still, I made my way into town, hitting a couple of the local shopping malls and office supply stores. It felt awkward.
Other parents were there, overloaded with reams of paper, binders, and packages of pens. Their school-aged kids pushing carts filled with pocket folders, erasers, crayons, construction paper, pencil boxes, boxes of tissue for their new classrooms, Holstein patterned composition books, Spanish language dictionaries, and Hello Kitty backpacks.
Last year, to compensate for no back-to-school shopping, I bought myself a 64-count box of Crayolas and a couple of coloring books. This year my contribution to the economy was to buy a new pen and thin spiral notebook.
Not that I actually needed either of those, but I couldn’t reconcile with not having anyone with a supply list to check off.
I didn’t have a reason to buy clothes to replace what my kids outgrew over summer. No longer do I have a lanky, legged teen wearing jeans three inches too short, no adolescent in tee-shirts too tight to be decent, no middle schoolers who can’t get their sweaters to fit over their wobber-heads. There were no new sneakers or gym shorts, no winter coat to replace the one outgrown over the summer, no school sweatshirts to buy.
My children are no longer children, and I miss this rite of passage from summer to fall.