I saw a Dad of one of Oscar's classmates in the drugstore the day before the first day of school, searching in vain, I knew, for elusive Flair pens.
I introduced myself, my school-year self, "Oscar's Mom," and shook my head. "They're impossible to find, no one carries them except Staples."
He agreed. "I know. It's always really hard..."
I smiled. "Well, as I see it, it's a way to get readjusted to facing the difficulties of the school year..."
He smiled back in appreciation. "Nice reframe," he said.
I laughed. "Yes, well, it's what I do."
As he waved and walked away, toward the door, likely to Staples, I realized all of a sudden: that is what I do. In the process of talking with other people, I look to reframe situations for them and for myself, to talk out how we might put a more positive spin on things that can sometimes seem just simply annoying. And, oh yeah, for playing along, I give people gold stars. It had been so long, I almost forgot.
I ran after him, Towey's Dad, a.k.a Hugh, and gave him his gold star. For trying, of course, not just trying to find Flair pens but trying to get back into the school-year mindset and all that raises up in us as parents about our abilities or inabilities to help our children be the very best they can be. It is a challenge for sure.
In elementary school, it is the parents who carry the bulk of the responsibility for figuring things, like what exactly a Flair pen is and why they're necessary. Hopefully, in some ways, we can begin the process of handing over some of that responsibility. I sent Eli and Oscar through the CVS in search of some other supplies--baby wipes and liquid soap--but they came back empty-handed. I understood. The search for things in stores is often overwhelming. I myself nearly gave up on the soap. But at least they could then understand my plight, if just a little bit.
In line, finally, fully set (minus the Flair pens), I saw a young teenager buying her own supplies. I sighed.
"Aah, it'll be nice when my kids can buy their own supplies..." I said.
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, yeah, it's so fun having to buy my own..."
I laughed. "Well, I guess it's all who's perspective you look at it from," I said. I gave young Tarah a gold star.
"Hopefully," I said, "It will be the first of many you receive this year!"
She smiled a big genuine smile. "Thanks!" she said.
There is something to be said for new beginnings, for getting ready for the start of something potentially great.
L'Shana Tova to all those who celebrate Rosh Hashana, Happy Fall to everyone!