You Need WHAT? - MetroFamily Magazine
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You Need WHAT?

by Heather Davis

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Every single year, we barely have the Christmas tree put away and my daughters are busy breaking, um … I mean playing with their new toys when I announce, with exhaustion in my voice, that it’s only two more wake-ups until they return to school. This scene plays out each year:

“Well,” one of them will announce as if she is talking about the weather, “we’d better get me some new tennis shoes.”

I’ll stare at her in disbelief, mentally calculating how much I spent on those new tennis shoes just four months earlier. “Why do you need new shoes?”

“See?” she’ll say and hold up a tennis shoe that looks like it’s been sewn together with silly string. “And there’s a hole under my toes.”

“How?” I’ll question her as I physically feel my hair turning grey, “How does a child who is dropped off at the front door every morning and picked up every afternoon rub a hole under her toes?”

Then she’ll shrug her shoulders and mutter something about being the playground four-square champion. Her little chest will burst with pride… Which is probably how her backpack straps broke.

“Sometimes when I walk home, I like to swing my backpack around,” she’ll explain. 

“But you don’t walk home,” you’ll explain right back, thinking of the endless entertainment and simultaneous headache the drop-off and pick-up lanes provide.

“Yeah, what I meant was, when I’m walking out to the minivan, I like to swing it.” She’ll nod as if she’s trying to convince herself as well.

Her middle school sister will step in at this point and brag, “My backpack is not torn up, and I walk a whole lot more than you do.”

“That’s because you lost your backpack the second day of school.”

Both little faces will turn to see my expression. The younger face will be full of pride at her keeping a secret for her sister for so long. The older face will be full of frantic-ness trying to think of an excuse. My face will be full of contemplation as I wonder how we went a whole semester without my checking my daughter’s backpack.

“Plus,” my younger daughter will add, “You traded it with your friend.”

What? She traded it? We spent no less than four days and three tanks of gas running all over town trying to find the perfect school bag with matching lunch box. (We finally ended up ordering it online, if you must know.) And now it had been traded and lost …  or had it been lost and traded?

“Also,” my younger daughter will say, “I left my lunch box outside during recess and when I went back to get it three weeks later it was gone.”

“Did you check the lost and found?” I’ll sigh.

“Oh, I don’t think our school has a lost and found.”

At this, her older sister will sigh and roll her eyes. “Every school has a lost and found,” she’ll say. “That’s where I found my lunch box from last year.”

At this revelation, I glance over on the kitchen counter and realize that she is using last year’s lunch box. “Where’s your lunch box for this year?”

Shrugging, she’ll say, “All I know is that it’s not in the lost and found.”

Shaking my head, I’ll turn to her younger sister and say, “Could you use your old lunch bag?”

“Sure,” she’ll announce, “If I knew where it was. I left it in the cafeteria before I went to recess last year and when I went back after Fall Break, it was gone.”

I’ll get dressed (it is Christmas break, after all, and why in the world would I change from my pajamas unless I really had to), grab my purse and pull out my notebook.

“Okay,” I plop into the easy chair wishing it really did make things easier, “Let’s get this figured out before we head out.”

As I jot my shopping notes down, the girls will look at me intently as waiting to see their maimed and missing school supplies appear right before their eyes.

“Two backpacks, right?”

I’ll see two heads nodding in agreement.

“One lunch box.”

“Momma!” will come a protest that is silenced by my reminder that she has an older lunch box she’s been successfully using.

“One pair of tennis shoes.” 

“And a pair of slip ons.”


“Because I just want a new pair.”

I quickly veto the wants so that we can take care of the needs. 

“Okay,” I start to conclude my list by lifting my pen just above my paper. “Do you need any pencils? Paper? Notebooks? Erasers?”

“For what, Momma?”

“For school!” 

“Oh, no. We haven’t really used all of those up since the summer.”

Every single semester break: this, my friends, is how we celebrate the halfway point of the school year. 

Heather Davis is a momma, a writer and is raising a couple of daughters who like to shop. She and her family live in Oklahoma, where she blogs about her antics at

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