By Nichole Giles
Most mothers absolutely dread back to school shopping. Okay, I admit I could do without dragging my kids through the mall for shirts, pants, shoes, and underwear. But about mid-July when the school-supply ads come out, I am there. Well, maybe not right there, but I want to be there.
There is something comforting about being surrounded by notebooks and pens, pencil sharpeners and scented erasers. It must be the writer in me that is addicted to binders and folders and note-cards. I find myself walking through the aisles—before ever receiving lists of what the teachers are requiring—filling a cart full of all the things we can’t live without.
I convince myself that we really do need four packages of markers, six to eight boxes of colored pencils, and no less than twenty glue sticks. I find myself buying packages of pens—one in every color—and four different kinds of pencils. Did I mention notebooks? I can’t walk away with less than twenty or thirty. They’re a bargain at ten cents each. And paperclips. A box in every size.
Before I’ve finished the second aisle, I’ve practically filled my cart with back-to-school bargains. And then, when I think I’ve seen everything, I walk around the corner and see the backpacks, desk sitters, and locker organizers.
Once I get home, I cram it all in a basket in the linen closet—next to the leftovers from last year’s shopping binge—while I promise myself that someday, I’ll have a real office. Someday, I’ll have a desk with room to spread my notes out on, a row of filing cabinets to hold all my writing files, and a bookshelf that goes from floor to ceiling. I’ll fill my bookshelf with all the novels I’ve written, leaving a little room for the works of my author friends.
When I have my own office, I will have drawers and shelves for all the office supplies I buy at back-to-school. For now, all those pens and notebooks and binders will have to live in the basket in my closet. And my office will continue to double as the place where I sleep at night. But someday….
Today, I buy office supplies. Tomorrow, or next month or next year, I’ll have an office to put them in. And in two weeks, my kids will have everything they need—more than they need—to go back to school. Again.