This Mom Got Called Out of Retirement

For the first time in two decades, I’m not experiencing a back-to-school moment. My last child graduated college in the spring and this means August is just another month for me.

There’s no buying of school supplies or dorm necessities. I’m not out shopping with my kids for the perfect backpack or wondering why each of my children need a $100 graphing calculator. There’s no packing up the car to take all of life’s treasures to some far away college. Or fighting with my daughter in the Lululemon dressing room over her desire to buy leggings that cost more than a graphing calculator.

Instead, I was at the pool with nary a thought of composition notebooks or going deep on why a teacher has toilet paper on her school supply list. 

Secretly though I was missing all the school hullabaloo. As much as I complained about it over the years it had become a tradition and quite frankly, I always got a little jazzed buying number two pencils and a two pack of Crayola crayons.

When my kids went to college my school shopping increased exponentially and I felt this was where I really shined. I like to think that I had a talent for transforming a cell block dorm or an apartment that had seen better days into something that was more welcoming.

But now those skills were no longer required, and I considered myself officially retired from anything related to back-to-school. It made me a little sad but what was I going to do about it – encourage one of my kids to go to grad school. 

Then something miraculous happened. A real Tom Brady moment if you will. Just as I had consoled myself that all good things must come to an end and it’s always good to retire at the top of your game. Just as I was easing into a life that was bereft of helping a child get ready for a new beginning, I got a phone call. I was enthusiastically begged to come out of retirement.

What could I do but say yes and then shout “Baby, I’m back!” once I got off the phone.

My daughter, who had just started her first post-college job in California, had been living with a friend until her new apartment was ready. Earlier in the summer she had told me that she wouldn’t need any help moving but now with the pressures of her new job she needed me – big time. As in I would handle everything from the movers to the purchasing of new sheets. 

This called for me to go into what I call Mary Poppins mode. I would buy everything that I could here in Kansas and then transport it to California in a suitcase courtesy of those vacuum storage bags that compress everything.  My husband dared to question why I just wouldn’t buy everything once I got there.

What an amateur. Shopping in Southern California is more expensive, there’s traffic, finding a place to park is a nightmare, and you get charged for requiring the use of a shopping bag. Please give me the sanity of small town U.S.A.

Besides that I could wash everything before I left, fold it, insert lavender scented dryer sheets inside all the linens and then immediately after my daughter’s bed was set up we would be good to go. No wasted time washing and drying and bonus her bed would smell like home.

Because to me that’s what my daughter’s SOS was all about. She probably doesn’t really need my help but she wanted her new place to feel like home and for that she needed her mom. And I’m all kinds of glad she did. 


Another thing that would make me very glad indeed is if you would give my latest book EMPTY a lookie loo 👀 or a listen 🎧. Yes, that’s right the EMPTY audiobook has just been released! So, be a love and give this link a click to discover all things book related. 😘