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OK, parents! It’s time to gear up and take control. The excitement is thriving and the anticipation is going strong — well, for the parents anyway.
That’s right. It’s almost time for school to start for traditional calendar students. The days of asking “Are we going somewhere today?” or “Can I eat something?” are nearing an end as summer break is quickly culminating.
With a house filled with seemingly starved teenagers who can’t appear to get enough to eat and a growing urge to be constantly entertained, the term summer break certainly has other meaning to them than what most parents consider to be a break.
Growth spurts were certainly at an all-time high this summer break, which has created an urgency for this dad to budget in new clothes, shoes and all the essentials needed for a brand-new school year.
For those parents like myself with children required to wear school uniforms, the shopping experience is more of a scavenger hunt than a fun time with the kids. I remember when I was a child and shopping with my mother and father for new school supplies, clothes, shoes and such. It was exciting for me. It was about me. That was my time. A time they focused on me and only me. It was great.
However, in my home, I have four to buy for and my wife and I try to make each kid’s experience special, still, it is difficult for our 13-year-old as she has to have school uniforms. Now, I am not saying I disagree with the policy at all. What I am saying is it’s very clear that we aren’t the only parents looking for the same colored clothing.
Last school year we found great deals and purchased several school-approved shirts for my daughter ahead of time. Well, let me tell you — by the time school started, she had already outgrown all but one outfit. Thanks, puberty.
This year we have decided not to buy ahead of time and to wait until summer break nears an end. To our surprise, we aren’t alone in that thinking. We have been to four stores looking, and wouldn’t you know it, we were able to only find two shirts thus far. It was funny, however, that one of the store associates asked us if our daughter was going to Southern Middle. She had helped other patrons in their quest for that navy and Carolina blue color theme.
Of course, white shirts were everywhere and that still may be our backup plan, although I don’t think white is best for the longevity of teenage responsibility of keeping clothes stain-free.
Maybe shopping for school-related items was stressful for my parents when I was in my younger years. I honestly don’t remember it being this stressful. Thankfully we have a few more weeks before the first day of school starts and I know we will prevail.
Remember this, parents: No matter what stress you are going through, what does help is to be supportive of your youngsters as they are choosing their clothing. On the other hand, be their parents, too. There is no need for little Sally Mae to make you feel bad if you can’t afford the Birkenstock sandals or L L Bean boots. They will do just fine in Reebok, Skechers or even the good old Walmart brand.
Rodney O’Neal is a resident of southern Nash County.