I was a nerdy little kid. I loved going to school. So much so that I’d want to go back-to-school shopping as soon as school let out for the summer. I loved school supplies. Picking out new pens and crayons and binders and notebooks. I yearned for new pencils–the mechanical ones, the sparkly ones, anything but the standard yellow #2s I was always bullied into choosing by my practical mother. To this day I love these supplies. I collect pens as if they are treasure, picking up freebies anywhere I can find them. I have an absurd number of paperclips for someone who almost never uses a paperclip, and everytime I see a cute little notebook or journal I think “I have to have that!”
This time of year, with the back to school sales and tax-free shopping weeks, always gets me a little nostalgic. Until I remember my love for school faded and I’m really okay never going back.
Elementary through high school school interested me, was easy for me–taught me the things I needed to know and some things I probably didn’t. It really wasn’t until college, where my major required an insanely packed course load free of electives, that I deemed myself over school. And where summers, filled with a job required to foot the tuition bill, just didn’t seem long or relaxing enough.
These days, not being in school myself or having kids in school, summers still don’t seem long or relaxing enough. I still eagerly look forward to summer. I don’t get them off, I have a full-time, year round job, but I’m a beach person, a warm-weather lover and look forward to annual family vacations that always occur this time of year. It seems, years ago, we had three glorious months off that stretched before us like a sun-filled oasis. Today, it’s barely two full months that schools are out. I can’t help but wonder (again, having no real tangible relation) if that’s enough. Do kids still like school? Do they look forward to preparing for the next year, cataloging and packing their gear with glee–or have the school-aged years become a drudgery?
Adulting is hard. Should childhood be too?
I was incredibly fortunate to have a carefree childhood. School was fun. Summers were more so. My family was great. I had a small but good group of friends and plenty of hobbies and interests to keep me active and entertained. And while adulthood definitely poses its challenges I’ve had it pretty easy too, all things considered. Now, as I am about to have a child of my own (my first), I can’t help but wonder if he’ll have it as easy. I hope for a carefree childhood full of amazing memories and experiences. But the world is a different place with things parents can’t always control. Even something as seemingly unsubstantial as the length of summer break.
Maybe these thoughts are too deep to be provoked by a back to school ad, but it struck a chord. It seems way too early for kids to be packing up and heading back into a new year. It seems summer just started and and now it’s almost over. And even though I find this sad, I still want to buy a new pencil pouch.