Red Pens and Condoms.

You know how your brain tries to protect you from things you can’t handle? I think mine has been doing that without my knowledge or consent.

I’ve spent the last month dusting my living room. This may not seem like a remarkable feat, but here:

I not only dusted the shit on top of the bookshelves; I dusted the bookshelves themselves AND all the books on them. Then I rearranged the books by author and favorites.

If I made a list of all the household chores that I despise (that would be all of them) dusting would be Number One.

Now, granted, I spent some of that time sick. Migraines, arms not working, back breaking in two (not really). But seriously. I had real shit to do. Shit that actually NEEDED to be done. Like get my kids ready for school, since it STARTS TODAY.

No big deal, right? Right. Except my oldest is going to college, middle is starting 8th grade, and littlest is entering 2nd grade.

So one would think, since a) I’m freaking the fuck out and b) I love school supplies more than almost anything, that I would be prepared. Backpacks. Notebooks. Lovely, lovely pens. Highlighters.  Folders. Every year since the oldest started school, I have had these things for weeks before school started. Backpacks would be packed with carefully labeled supplies. All binders would have little pencil pouches, just in case they forgot to bring a pencil to class. Paper would be stocked inside each folder, and folders would all be a different color so they would be easy to identify in a hurry.

Ha. This year, I didn’t buy shit. I mean absolutely nothing until yesterday. The day before school. So I assume my stupid asshole of a brain purposely derailed me. Likely because I CAN’T STAND THE THOUGHT OF MY OLDEST LEAVING.

Yesterday we finally went shopping. The boys didn’t give a shit about folders or non-scratchy pens, so they went out to the car. I filled my cart with my favorite things, plus bedding and other dorm shit (sob).

I was getting more and more stressed out the longer I was in the store. The last things I needed were red pens and lunchboxes. THEY WERE COMPLETELY OUT OF RED PENS. This was almost enough to push me over the edge, but I held it together and went to find lunchboxes. Of which the entire fucking store only had two.

I couldn’t take anymore. I stood there, lunchbox in each hand, waving them in the air and cursing like a sailor. An employee saw me and I had to explain (while starting to cry) that I wasn’t cussing at him, I was cussing at life. And lunchboxes. He left, looking a little scared, and I sank to the floor. The lack of choices in lunchboxes was apparently all I could take. I sat there in the middle of the store, just sobbing, with two lunchboxes clutched to my chest.

After finally getting my shit together enough to stand up and get the hell out of there, the checkout guy asked me, “How I was doing.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? MY HEART IS BREAKING AND SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW AND YOU ARE OUT OF RED PENS!

We got home and I sat down in the floor, surrounded by school supplies. This is my happy place. I do realize that my middle child is in 8th grade. I didn’t give a shit. I started filling binders and writing class names on the spines and making sure each one had a pouch of pencils and pens. This lasted approximately 3 minutes before he came out of his room and asked for his supply list and all his stuff.

Sure. YOU’LL REGRET THIS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE COLOR-CODED BINDERS, EACH WITH THE CORRECT RATIO OF PENS TO PENCILS! I’m positive he didn’t sharpen all the pencils. You have no idea how much this hurts.

This morning we took the two youngest to their schools, then I went off with a fully loaded car and child who was not coming home with me. I maintained while we drove (except I got really lost). I was fine as we unloaded. Once again my breakdown happened at Walmart. I may not be allowed back there. This is what I found when I returned to the dorm, loaded with shampoo and soap and condoms. (YES, condoms. Shut up.)

Dorm shenanigans

These kids look like they’ve totally got it together enough to survive on their own. Also, the condoms were possibly a waste of money.

I finally left my baby (yes, the one who is a foot taller than I am). When I got to the parking garage, my car was lost. There were so many levels, I was so tired, I was crying again, my feet were on FIRE…I seriously considered just laying down and rolling until someone ran me over. Then they’d be obligated to give me a ride to my car. Wherever it was.

Do you think I subconsciously blocked out The Big Day? And the directions? Also where I left the car? I’m pretty sure I just pretended none of this was happening until it actually happened. Surely one of you has had a crying fit over lunchboxes? Scared a Walmart employee? I can’t be the ONLY one who has seriously considered rolling down the ramps in a parking garage. Right? 




About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

25 responses to “Red Pens and Condoms.

  • The Hopeful Herbalist

    Never easy when they leave home and act like they have life all together. I almost didn’t do Christmas last year but recovered enough to at least make the meal ! Hang in there kid 😀 x

  • onegirlbreathing

    My oldest is starting Kindergarten on Tuesday….I’m freaking out because I can’t find the right size tracing paper or indoor shoes (whatever those are). I think this is all part of being a mom! *HUGS*

    • Steph

      Omg, I feel for you. The younger grades are so freaking specific about what you can and can’t have. Plus, kindergarten is hard. Especially your oldest and youngest!

  • Michelle

    Oh sweetheart..I love you. Sometimes meltdowns happen. Sometimes in Walmart. It’s all good. xoxo

    • Steph

      Love you too lady. Did you see that thing about a meth lab in Walmart?! So clearly I’m not the craziest they’ve ever seen! (Not that I really thought I was. I mean, I was wearing my underwear UNDER my pants, and I don’t have mullet.)

  • Belladonna Took

    I know it’s slim comfort right now, but … he’ll be back. With laundry. And possibly a dog. (I went back with a cat, then a dog, then a baby. And ALWAYS laundry. When I went back to say goodbye to my Mom last November, I took mending. The point is, kids come BACK.)

    And as for the condoms … I bet he does use them. And it’s entirely possible he’ll cite them as proof that he has the coolest mom ever… 🙂

  • Terri Lee

    Not to worry, Steph! People expect that shit to happen at a Walmart. My friend had a bad reaction to a medication while driving home from work, pulled over and puked in a Walmart parking lot. It’s all good. It’s fucking Walmart! Haha! I know how you feel though. When my goddaughter—whom my husband and I helped raise—graduated from high school and headed off for college, it took three years before I stopped saving the local public school calendars and taping them to my refrigerator. I refused to look at my fridge and not have a ready list of all holidays, early release days, etc. My brain had to ease itself into reality.

  • Jana

    Condoms are a wise move. I work in an OB/GYN office and you would not believe the number of high school girls and young women who have chlamydia. Which means there is just as many boys/young men who have it also. “No glove, no love” — that’s my motto.

  • aviets

    Oh, you poor thing. I’ve been in that very same spot, over and over and over again, every time my babies have left for college. And grad school. Wailing and railing have always been part of the territory for me. It does get a little easier, eventually. Thinking of you.

  • Scott

    I haven’t cried over lunchboxes, but I’m not dead yet so there’s still a chance.

  • weebluebirdie

    Well, I’m feeling for my One who is 14 and got his brace fitted yesterday. Somehow it hadn’t occurred to me that the metal is now welded to his mouth for the next couple of years!! I thought it was removable for sports, eating large cakes etc 😦 At least he sussed it out. Sometimes I wonder who is parenting who!

  • Mandar

    I don’t know why but this year I was not at all prepared, and like you, I’m usually set up and staged by the third week of summer break. This year? I forgot to buy my one kid new shoes, she wore some busted ass gross sandals on her first day. Oh yeah, and it’s her birthday, so happy birthday kid, you only look half homeless. You’re welcome.

    • Steph

      Bahahahaha! At least only half! Also, shit, my son’s birthday always sneaks up on me. So thanks for reminding me it’s in a week. High fives all around!

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