There’s a hilarious Staples commercial that never fails to make me laugh. You know, the one with the father dancing in the aisle saying, “You’re going back!” Meanwhile, the children sulk. The commercial captures that end-of-summer mood so pervasive among parents right about now. However, this particular commercial misinterprets the attitude of most children in my community.
Yesterday, for example, a little boy rushed over to me to describe his backpack and school supplies (down to the color of the pencil grips and the size of the erasers).
These children are ready.
I keep asking my daughters if they want to go to the pool, and my oldest says, “Mom, I’m done with summer. I have to sharpen all these pencils and arrange my erasers.”
At this very moment, I’m observing a beautiful mound of pencil shavings on the carpet. I pull out her eraser pack and smell the soft pink rubber. Could someone bottle the smell of new eraser and pencil shavings? Could we market room spray? Potpourri? Yankee Candles called “Back to School”?
I’d buy it all.
My youngest (the one I just brought home from the hospital in that little hat the size of my palm, the one who just started walking, who just slept through the night) has her pencil case ready. Her purple backpack is by the door. She’ll hardly sleep tonight because tomorrow marks the day it all begins. She will learn marvelous and life-changing things in kindergarten.
I want to keep this momentum going all our lives; returning to school–that community of curiosity, wonder, complexity, and beauty–should always be this exciting. The anticipation of learning, amplified a thousand times in the heart of a 5 year old, might challenge us all to greet the day with that same enthusiasm.
We’ll have not one pencil but a dozen in multiple colors. We’ll have our backpacks by the door. We’ll hardly sleep tonight because of how great tomorrow will be.
Living with flair means I’m too excited to sleep because of what I’ll learn and friends I’ll meet tomorrow.