Mission: Impossible

Over the past few weeks, I have been on a mission.  This mission has taken me places I never thought I’d go, and it has had me asking questions I never thought I’d ask.  I’ve had to be braver than I ever imagined, I’ve needed skills I never thought I’d have to hone, and I’ve had to summon strength from the very depths of my being not to absolutely lose my stuff in the middle of public places.

I’m new to the whole school supply game, so I’m going to have to learn a better way to do this than I did it this year, but OH. MY. GOODNESS!  That business is INSANE!

The Kindergarten list I got felt like it was six miles long and included a very EXACT set of requests that I can only pray I interpreted correctly.  Coming from a family of educators, I felt compelled to follow the rules perfectly, so I think I have given myself a whole head full of gray hair searching for blunt tip FISKARS brand scissors, WHITE glue sticks (not purple, not clear, not polka-dotted or liquid or any other iteration) and packages of markers with EXACTLY EIGHT Crayola brand markers in them.

Item Description


KinderMat (4 fold if possible)


9 x 12 Construction Paper (pack – assorted colors)


Crayons 8 count (box)


Crayons 16 count (box)


Washable Crayola Markers (8-count pack)Classic Colors


21 oz. White Glue Sticks


#2 Pencils


Watercolor Paints


Fiskars Scissors (round tip)


2-Pack Play Dough


Composition Book


Kleenex (1 BOX ONLY)


Paper Towels (1 ROLL ONLY)


Pencil Box (optional)


I looked at 5 stores before I finally decided, packages of EIGHT markers simply do not exist.  One may purchase packages of TEN markers, packages of TWELVE markers, packages of SIXTEEN markers, etc… quite readily, but packages of EIGHT markers in classic colors simply DO NOT EXIST.  I had all but given up on finding this item on the list.  I was ready to pull a George Banks from Father of the Bride and start pulling the two unwanted markers out of the ten packs and scratch out the number “10” on the front of the package and write in the desired “8” myself.

I met all kinds of people on my journey who are being required to reach deep into their energy reserves to accomplish the same mission.  Some of us bonded and worked together in solidarity to accomplish what seemed like a nearly impossible goal.  Others of us did not fare so well as we locked eyes with one another across the vast expanse of an aisle at Wal-Mart, each of us spying the same thing: the last eight-pack of Crayola crayons on the shelf.  I’m usually fairly easy-going, and I almost always avoid conflict at all costs, but when it comes to school supplies, apparently I am a beast on the inside with a smile on the outside.

Each of us was exhausted, battle weary, absolutely sick of dragging our small children to every blinking store in town in search of the elusive items on an impossible list of school supplies, so when we saw that pack of colors, it was like one of those slow motion scenes out of a war movie.  Buggies began moving toward one another.  My kids were laughing gleefully, squealing with delight and saying, “wheeeee, Mommy! This is fun!  Let’s go faster!  Is this a race?” and I was thinking, “You bet your buns it is, honey!  I am not leaving here without those crayons, so sister girl over there better just turn that buggy right on around and find the 16-packs, because I am SO DONE searching for packages of Crayolas with only EIGHT colors in them!”  Luckily, I was racing against a girl who had the misfortune to dress up for the occasion, so her (really cute) heels slowed her down just enough to allow me (the girl who was too lazy to change out of her gym gear) to snag the crayons and smile sweetly as I narrowly avoided crashing into Sister Super Cute and drop them into my buggy with the rest of the supplies on the list.  Except for the markers.  I never did find that magic number of markers to a set, so we ended up with the dreaded ten instead of eight in each of our two packages of washable Crayola markers.  I hope my poor angel doesn’t get in trouble on her first day of Kindergarten because her mama couldn’t find the right number on the outside of a package.

I do have to say I completely understand the need for uniformity in school supplies, and I most certainly do not want the teachers to have to supply my children with crayons or any other tools for use in the classroom.  I’m happy to purchase whatever my kids need to be sure they are able to participate in their respective educational institutions, but could someone please, please, please make sure the things that are requested actually exist before making people traipse all over creation searching for a unicorn?


  1. Debbie Brewster

    You are absolutely right!I did the shopping for my 3 grandchildren a 7th grader and 2 ,2nd graders,2nd grade was hugh,they asked for a 2.5 binder,went to Office Depot .they had every size imaginable but 2.5.asked manager about this size,he stayed it was a specialty order and would be 35$ to order.this was times 2.we just went with the 3 inch binder.I know that makes me a bad grandmother.I really enjoyed your blog,I thought it was just me and I was to old to shop for school supplies.?

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