We've reached quite a momentous crossroads, here at Team WestEnders HQ. In just a few days, Riley will be starting 6th grade, which means that we are officially Done. With. Elementary. School. (Yaaayyyyy!) I think we're all pretty much over the coddling-yet-micro-managing paradigm that characterizes K-5. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I disagree with it at all, just that I'm happy to see it in my rear-view mirror...) So of course Riley had his turn with New Student Orientation--getting the full tour, meeting his team of teachers, fraternizing with some of his classmates, and hearing all about heretofore unfamiliar policies and procedures. (Such as "changing clothes for PE"..."keeping cell phones securely stowed and turned off"...and the very critical "choosing your preferred dining spot...and table companions...for lunch time")
With the approaching academic year uppermost in all of our minds lately, I made my traditional annual joke to the boys, "Have you picked a special outfit to wear on the first day?" After the customary chuckling and snorting had subsided, Derek got serious for a moment. "Mom," he said with a grave expression, "I need..." (I braced myself for something dire, based on the way he looked and sounded. My brain cycled through the possibilities: am I about to hear something difficult...expensive...time-consuming...um, painful? Or (gulp) perhaps all of the above?) He looked me in the eye for emphasis, drew a deep breath, and finished "...a complete...sock overhaul."
Now it was my turn to guffaw (in relief, maybe touched with a tinge of hysteria). You see, as the mother of a couple of sons, I blessedly escape the nightmarish traumas of BTSS (Back to School Shopping). My fashion-indifferent kids want to wear shorts and tee-shirts for as much of the year as possible, anyway...and in terms of brand, they strongly prefer the famous and popular label known as..."Clean Stuff in My Drawer". (THANK GOODNESS) Therefore, we tend to make our runs to Kohl's when they hit a growth spurt, and suddenly feel uncomfortable and exposed...generally because their knees are on display a little more than they'd like.
But this past year, a certain type of footwear became all the rage among adolescent males. Since I find the prices to be somewhat...outrageous...(14-bucks each? I don't care if they're "special basketball socks"...do they actually dunk the ball for you? Pfftt, ridiculous!) the boys use their accumulated allowance to buy a few pairs from time to time. (Naturally selecting the most obnoxious color combinations and the loudest hues possible.) And apparently, they need a fresh supply to replace the ones they've recently worn out. Fair enough.
So for our BTSS retail extravaganza...we'll be taking a brief trip to (drumroll) Dick's Sporting Goods. Nothing to try on, no "latest styles" to explore, no separates to match into coordinating sets...just run in, grab the right sizes in acceptable shades, and vamoose. Whew! I think I'm getting off pretty easy...that is, at least until the next time both of them sprout a few inches again...or wear holes in their shoes...fingers crossed for a few more weeks' grace period...