“We’ll send you a shopping list in August,” they said, and I instantly recalled idling in the pen aisle of the Staples on Connecticut Avenue, balancing stacks of marbled composition books with a bottle of Elmer’s glue and a packet of jelly roll pens, beseeching my mother to buy me new everything even though we had more than enough markers and crayons and folders at home, some of them tattered or dried up, but most of them perfectly functional. While she tended to be stringent with entreaties for excess during her bi-weekly grocery runs, my mother was often pliable during these back-to-school visits, an observation I greedily exploited. I never knew whether it was because she wanted to support anything ancillary to education, or because she was haunted by the memory of shoe shopping with her own mother that she has shared countless times in our life together — the one in which she wanted a pair of high heels so desperately that she anxiously asserted that a pair of too-small shoes fit because they had an inch-high heel she felt her mother had not noticed. That is to say: she understood too well the desire to “fit in” by buying the right things — to the extent that she would endure physical pain in pursuit of their acquisition.
But, so — a school shopping list? For my two year old?
I wonder what will be on it?
Probably practical things like spare underwear and a water bottle, marked with her name. A sweater for unexpectedly cool days?
But part of me hopes that it will include a box of sharpened crayons, a glue stick, one of those big pink erasers you never actually use to completion. Things that are way too advanced for my daughter but that make me deeply, painfully nostalgic for my childhood, for the excitement of covering my textbooks with brown paper (who else did this?) and decorating their covers with Mr. Sketch markers, of gingerly placing my newly-sharpened pencils and fresh-out-the-box thin-tipped markers into my pencil box, of organizing sheets of paper into Lisa Frank folders, of laying everything out the night before school in my Jansport in wild anticipation of the social experiment that is school.
Until we find out what is, in fact, on the list, though — I have already been dog-earing and occasionally ordering back-to-school items for mini. Below, some amazing finds:
SUPERGA VELCRO SNEAKS (SELECT COLORS ON SALE)
PINAFORES (MINI OWNS SEVERAL OF THESE — LOVE!)
MADDIE DRESS (MINI OWNS THIS IN OTHER PRINTS — TOO, TOO CUTE)
P.P.S. I have been thinking, in anticipation of all possible permutations of mini’s adjustment to school, that I might gift her a special bracelet the day before she heads off along with a little pep talk that lets her know that the bracelet is just a reminder of how much I love her.
P.P.P.S. Le diaper bag reboot.