Single in Sandpoint:

The Crayola watercolor paint palette champagne moments of autumn

By Scarlette Quille

I’ve always considered autumn to be the Monday of the season world. Summer vacation has officially ended. School is in session, and that means business. Any morning driver must survive a gauntlet of vehicles hemorrhaging small humans into the streets. These children appear out of nowhere this time of year like an eerie swarm of turtles with their giant backpacks.

Every store in the area has some sort of back to school promotion, luring parents in with a sense that the price of crayons will quadruple overnight if they don’t jump on a sale. A few weeks ago, I gave into the hype and ended up at Walmart with my 5-year-old son. About two minutes into our excursion I was approached by a mother who was frantically searching for the specific “Crayola watercolor paint palette” that is on everyone’s school list. She was livid. If I had a used Crayola palette in my purse, I bet I could have sold it to her for at least $5.

I was confused by her behavior until I heard a tiny screech come out from behind her: “Why, why aren’t there enough paint palettes?” Her daughter, maybe 7 years old, was clutching a Xeroxed school supply list as if her mother’s failure to secure a paint palette was the reason she’ll be sent to get a job at the state line.

Her mother was much more accommodating than I would have thought to be in that moment, soothing her with a promise of using Amazon Prime to deliver them the next day. This was two weeks before school even started.

After witnessing the meltdown, my son stared at the girl, half-expecting Oomopa Loompas to appear and remove her at any moment. When they didn’t show up, I asked him if he’d rather hit the toy aisle and order his supplies on Amazon Prime.

“Yes. Can we go to Starbucks, too?” he replied.

He is an expert at negotiation and recognized that we both needed a drink.

The first day of school is no joke, not at all. You must dress, feed, and wake your children and then take an adorable picture of them to post on Facebook. This must be completed by 8 a.m., or everyone in your feed will recognize your inadequacies. Just when you think it’s over and you’ve got them through the door, they come home that night with at least 57 papers to sign.

This is tough enough with one kid. I have four.

I’ve done the first day of school as a parent for 12 years now. I have witnessed parents crying on the first day, fighting, refusing to leave the classroom and even the few who wait outside for the entire half-day of Kindergarten to be over. This year I witnessed a celebration unlike any I have seen before.

I was walking down the sidewalk with my son, a few cars were parked on the road beside us. I watched a 30-something mother clad in yoga pants and velvet hoodie hop into a green Plymouth minivan. She had a smile that lit up the gray morning. As we walked by her, she cranked up the radio, the bass bumping as she sped away into freedom. I may have even seen a bottle of champagne in the seat next to her.

I will never know what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve never had the experience. However, if dropping off your kid is cause for that kind of celebration, I don’t know if I’m jealous or grateful.

Cheers to you, Minivan Mom. I am guessing your day involved twerking while vacuuming with the unrated version of your favorite rap songs playing on full volume! In my opinion, you owned that first day of school like it was your bitch.

Happy Fall Ya’ll.


Scarlette Quille


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