Wednesday, July 31, 2013

OH NO. It's Back to School. Time to Give it Up.

Photo credit: Anankkml
Hello! Lydia here. I'm waving at you like your embarrassing 7th grade friend. HIYEEEE!!!!!

I have to go buy school supplies this weekend and I'm not happy about it. I like this summer and I don't want it to be over. My kids are actually being pretty cool and I'm terrified that it's going to stop and be a big goat rodeo again. When everything starts back up in the fall, it's always a big beehive of activity. There will too many things to do and all the bees in my brain will be buzzing all the time trying to keep track of it all. So I would like the rest of this summer to be slllllooooww and boring. So slow and boring that we are aching to get back to into action in September.

It will not happen. Because this week marks the page turning on the calendar and the need for me to buy school supplies. Where I live (in Virginia), it's a tax free holiday so that people like myself can buy things without paying all those pesky sales taxes. How nice of you, Virginia. Thank you. 

This weekend, while I am buying stuff on a ridiculous school list that makes no sense, I will be thinking of all the other moms who can't afford to do what I'm doing. When I was the age of my youngest kids, I lived in public housing with my wonderful, magical, single mom. We had no money but we were still blazingly awesome.

So I will be thinking of the parents who wish they could buy their kids' back to school stuff this weekend, but they can't. Because they have to wait for their next paycheck, or for their child support to finally show up, or because they have to save a few a dollars each week until they have enough.

I will be thinking of the parents who will wait 'til the very last minute, not out of procrastination, but because they keep hoping they will be able to scrape the money together. When they realize they can't, they will sit down and choose what bills will not get paid this month, so that their child will have what they need to start school.

I'll be thinking about the moms for whom school supplies are the last things on their mind at all because they are not basic needs. And trying to get those basic needs met is all she has time for. Notebooks are not milk. Pencils are not a safe place to sleep. She will worry about school supplies some other time.

I'll be thinking about the moms who have to swallow their pride and ask their families, case managers, churches, schools, or charities for help.

I'll be thinking of the millions of families who make too much money to qualify for any sort of help. Parents who work full time and still can't afford a new backpack for their kids. The parents who would never ask for help, or sympathy, because they know how many others are worse off and they hope things will be better next year.

So this year, I'm showing up early and I'm showing up for them. I'm buying as many cheap, tax free school supplies as I can. There are stores that have things for a penny (Staples, for example). I'm bringing my kids with me. We're going to talk about how lucky we are that we can afford everything on their lists.

We're giving these supplies to a local domestic violence shelter that Mommyland has worked with for the past two years on our Mother's Day project (Give It Up, Mommyland). It's called Duffy House. If you live in northern Virginia, you can donate school supplies to them by checking out their website right here. UPDATE: The drop off for supplies is at Burke United Methodist Church in Burke, VA. There's a sign and a basket in the front lobby. Lobby is open from 9-5 M-F and on Sunday mornings.
If you don't what this is all about, click here.

You can donate school supplies to tons of other places, too:

  • Your kids' school (I bet the front office staff knows exactly who needs it most), 
  • Any public school system (check their website),
  • Any family homeless or domestic violence shelter, 
  • A preschool or child care center serving low income kids, 
  • Churches or business participating in backpack programs.

And of course, if you know a family who is struggling and would never ask for help - just buy a bunch of stuff and drop it off. Ring the doorbell and run away. They don't have to know who did it. Let them think it's the back to school fairy.

If you can't afford to donate anything, please don't let this post make you feel schmidty. Let this post remind you that me, and Guru, and Kate, and all of us in Mommyland are rooting for you and your kids. And that we love you.

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

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