Back to school shopping observations

With September only a few sun bleached days away, I’m sure I will soon be seeing the familiar big, yellow school bus...

I wonder whoever decided to paint school buses yellow.

And I wonder if they realized they were colour co-ordinating those same buses with the season’s own crazy, vibrant colour scheme of burnished gold and flamboyant tangerine.

They probably didn’t.

With September only a few sun bleached days away, I’m sure I will soon be seeing the familiar big, yellow school bus that stops outside our front door five days a week. Every time, well, okay, almost every time I see that bus, fleeting, elusive thoughts of my past life flit through my mind. And, for a few quick moments those thoughts steal away the present.

The way they were. The way we were.

Two girls and a boy. Running out of the house. Running to school. Running to the bus.

Two girls and a boy. Finally home. All mine. All safe. School books and running shoes dropped in a careless heap at the front door. Three noisy, laughing kids crowded round a table set for five. Me, bringing supper to the table, tripping over a small black dog.

Two girls and a boy. Running out the door. Again. Breathless. Waving goodbye. Running against time. Running to grow up. And a kitchen clock that relentlessly ticked the minutes and the hours and the days away.

And finally one day they did the unthinkable. They did it, without even asking me, their mother, who only allowed myself to succumb to peaceful slumber after I had seen with my own eyes three pairs of runners at the front door.

They grew up.

Anyway, I often think fleeting, elusive thoughts about those kids who once, so many years ago, were mine when I see that big yellow school bus come to a rolling stop outside my front door.

And then I gently put the thoughts away and move on to living in the now.

For the most part, living in the now is good. And for me it is especially good because of the grandchildren.

I went “back to school” shopping with a couple of these grandchildren last week.

The oldest, who is going into Grade 2, made a list, carried a notebook and a pen and crossed items off his list methodically as soon as they were put in the cart.

I stared at him for a long time. I wanted to make sure he was truly my grandchild.

For most of my entire life, I have wanted to be like that. Organized. Methodical. A planning type person. It has never happened. But now I see those traits in one of my grandchildren and I’m a little shell-shocked.

Mystified, actually.

Apparently, organizational skills must skip generations.

We shopped, but quickly, because really, boys and shopping are like misplaced puzzle pieces. They just don’t fit.

Of course, that all changed, when we hit the shelves of ‘Toys ‘R Us’.

Then shopping became an all consuming, exciting adventure made even more so by the purchase of the skateboard.

I shouldn’t have really bought the skateboard.

“Would your mom want you guys to have this?” I questioned my little fellow shoppers, as I held the thing dubiously in my hand.

“Yes,” they chorused in unison. “She would,” they said, looking at me all sweet and convincing, their huge blue eyes liquid pools of innocence.

Their mom met us later outside the store. She was less than impressed.

“A skateboard! Mom, what were you thinking? They are much too young,” she said in that teacher like voice she gets sometimes, even when she’s not in the classroom.

“Why did you buy them a skateboard? They could really hurt themselves.”

“I dunno,” I said looking down at the floor and scuffing the toe of my sandal on the tiles. “They said they wanted one. They said it would be okay.”

I looked at the two little ragamuffins for support, but they weren’t about to give me any.

“Grandma said we could have it,” they said promptly, innocently.

I have heard since the skateboard is a hit. I even received pictures.

I’m not sure if I will ever be invited on any more ‘back to school’ shopping trips. But, I hope I am.

They are very educational!

Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.


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