Gratitude week 35

  1. Summer, for what is left of it. We are starting to feel some fall weather patterns push through. The A/C is off and the windows are open.
  2. Having a hot and windy day last week on my day off to make for perfect sailing weather with our boat neighbors.
  3. Staying safe this past weekend as a census worker in a really rough neighborhood.
  4. Having the day off today to go school shopping. My daughter starts her last year of high school tomorrow. I usually don’t put off school shopping until the day before but I really was not sure and still am not quite sure what is happening this school year. Yeah, just when I thought I had everything figured out too. (Last child in last year of school).
  5. Being able to meet up with my best friend for lunch over my break from work over the weekend.
  6. Making plans to see my brother and his family up north at the family cabin for the holiday weekend. It will be the first time we got together since COVID.
  7. Seeing my daughter this weekend. It will be less than a month until she moves back home.
  8. School is starting back up again. It’s been over 5 months.
  9. I’m grateful to be able to work hard and earn some extra money by doing a meaningful job.
  10. I’m grateful for the ham in the oven for supper. I’m grateful I will be able to eat before 8 PM since I have the day off. I’m grateful to have the windows open and not having to worry about cooking heating up my house.

Back to school 2

Ok, here is the blog you have been waiting for…. As a follow up to an earlier blog, I tallied up the cost to send my 3 kids back to school. I also realized the benefit of sending my kids off to school this morning as they were fighting on their way out the door. Lol. What does an average middle class American family spend to send their kids back to school? I don’t know, but here is what I came up with. I spent a total of $450 on school supplies. The big time expense this year was a calculator that cost over $100. I really was hesitant on this purchase until the teacher said that all math problems will be shown on this specific calculator. If I buy a cheaper model it will be at the expense of my child. What really sold me was that it could be used on the ACT test assuming that my child doesn’t lose it before then. When asked about getting an extra warranty, I said forget about it. I mean, really? I don’t think that my son will be overusing it. The probability is statistically higher that he will lose it. 

I spent another $230 on school fees. This included laptop warranties, marching band uniform, parking permit, and general class fees. Plus I still need to sell 10 magazines or pay $100 so my daughter can graduate. It was hard to send off my daughter on her first day of her last year of high school and my son to his first day of high school. I know how fast the time flies. Almost as fast as this summer went by. 

I spent another $190 per child on clothing which included shoes. Both my son and youngest daughter graduated from kids clothes into adult clothes this year. My son grew a foot since last year and is taller than me now. My 12 year old daughter went from a kids size to an adult size 12. They all have shoe sizes bigger than mine. I found that adult shoes cost a lot more than kids shoes. 

So, I ended up spending a little more than I thought I would….maybe next year I don’t want to know how much it costs to send my kids back to public school. I will focus on the benefits instead. Sounds good to me. 

A letter written to my only son

Next week my son will be starting high school for the first time. As part of the orientation tonight, parents are strongly encouraged to write a letter to their child to read upon graduation. I wanted to share my letter with you:

To my only son as you graduate, 

I remember the day you were born. Your little cowlicks promised wild curls that would be untamable. You were a mama’s boy, I thought for awhile that you would never grow up, never want to leave. We would sit for hours reading stories of monkeys stealing caps, the adventures of toad and frog, or about the puddle ducks and Peter Rabbit. Then one day we put the kids books away. 

Remember when you used to suck your fingers? We tried everything to get you to stop. We tried putting a mitten on your hand at night and the spicy varnish which you exclaimed to like spicy foods. Then one day, you decided that you were too old to suck your fingers and stopped on your own. 

Then you got older still. You told your dad and I that you no longer believe the things that we believe. You said you needed to figure things out on your own. Even though we worried, we knew that you needed to find your own way in life. I sometimes fear that the road you walk will be rocky, but sometimes even the “Rocky Road” can be sweet. Once you find your place, I know that you will stand up for what you believe even if you are standing alone. That stubbornness and conviction is something I’ve always admired in you. 

Earlier this week, you told me that you really didn’t want to be with me anymore, that you wanted to hang out with your friends. For a minute, I wanted that little boy back. As much as I want to hold you tight, I know that I have to start untying the strings that have you fastened to my heart. I have to start letting you go. I hope and pray that you find the right path to start your journey on. No matter what happens, your dad and I will always love you. 

Love, Mom

Back to school stress

I woke up crabby this morning. Irritable. Stressed. My 3 kids have summer school this week sporadically all day between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM. It really wouldn’t be that big of a deal except that we live 20 miles from the school. I made 2 trips to the school today to pick up and drop off kids, my daughter made one trip to school which equals over 2 hours of combined effort. Plus I fit in a 6 mile run and put in a couple hours at work. I feel downright exhausted. Any stress that was removed over the weekend was put back on the minute I walked back in the door. Mom can I?.. Troubles waking up my son early to go to school. I also faced the prospect of confronting a teacher today as well. I hate confrontation. The teacher was not happy that I was having my teenage kids waiting at school between activities. With drop off times at 8 AM, 9 AM, 11:30 AM, and 4 PM and pick up times at 10 AM, 2:30 PM, and 8 PM I didn’t see how this was going to happen. I was angry and spent some time swearing. I did talk to the teacher and she was understanding. Thank God! I haven’t developed my super mom powers yet of being in 10 places at once. 

I’m also getting the back to school ads in the mail. What a racket that is. When it is all said and done, I will probably spend over a thousand dollars on it. You know what, I am going to keep the receipts this year to tell you how much I spend! Great blog idea. Thanks. The sad part is that I don’t think they need half the crap that I buy on their list. Or they lose it. Or, as was the case last year, some supplies were stolen. Lots of times I just buy the cheap crap. No designer notebooks with puppies, kitties, or football players for my kids. School clothes are a little different, I usually go midline there. Cheap shoes and clothes wear out in a matter of weeks. If I am lucky the shoes and clothes will last long enough for the kids to grow out of them. That is not saying much as my son grew a foot within the last year. 

Talking about supply lists, who creates these things anyway? Your child needs exactly 10 number 2 pencils but 3 need to be yellow, 3 green, and 4 red. Buy dry erase markers, but wait they need to be odor free. Buy 9 glue sticks, but only of a certain brand the others won’t be accepted. Accordion folders only, trapper keepers will be confiscated. Hey, aren’t sciccors considered a weapon now? Paper non perforated made from recycled materials. Highlighters, no fluorescent colors. Permanent markers, non staining narrow tip. Gym shoes, non skid laced only. And the list goes on… I think there is a sadistic teacher out there making these lists because they have to put up with our bratty kids all year. They laugh envisioning us at the 30th store grovelling on the floor because the last pink eraser is sold out. I miss the days when mom sent us off on the first day of school with a couple of folders, pencils, and paper and called it good.