For years I chortled at all the lamenting Facebook posts at the beginning of school year. From my cosy little spot, I could feel the resentment of other parents being played out on social media. You see, I have never, in all six years of my eldest son's schooling, nor in four years of my middle son's, ever had to cover a book. Not a single, solitary one.
You could say I am missing that part of my parenting DNA. If I was supposed to cover any, I missed the memo. If I should have covered any, well it certainly never occurred to me to do so.
As a child I relished covering my own books. I was a stationery addict and adored all the different papers, pencils, textas and designs I could adorn my books with. Once grown up with a family of my own, and with the addition of a third little boy almost four years ago, well that task I loved so long ago, had fallen right to the bottom of my priority list.
It's not to say I don't have standards. I'm a little bit house proud, love design and architecture and try to encourage my sons to be reasonably neat, clean and tidy when it matters, whilst encouraging them to be messy and dirty just as kids should be at times. I'm far from a perfectionist but prefer everything in its place (while ignoring the paper pile on my kitchen bench).
Now my day of reckoning has come with my eldest son starting high school this month. Not only has he brought home about 15 kilos of books, we actually have to cover them all. The paper covers provided don't seem to fit the allocated books - they're either too big or too small. I either have to chop off the top of the design on the front, or the name fields at the bottom. I'm dazed, confused and truly bewildered.
I decided to fess up in a post on our Year 7 parent Facebook page; that I actually didn't have a clue with what to do with these paper covers that don't fit the books. There are some seasoned parents in there and this is not their first time around the high school block - as it turns out, we have to cut the page in half and glue the two pieces on front and back. Okay then, that's done. I think it looks messy and odd, but I'm letting it go.
Apparently we then have to cover them in adhesive plastic - what I used to know as Contact - and to make things worse, every shop has now sold out. There are parents having suspicious-sounding hushed conversations... "So do you know anyone who has some? My supplier has run out." People are publicly claiming to have none at home while showing their closest friend their stash; on the downlow of course. I'll be buying that good stuff in November this year just so I can be the one with the secret stash.
I know I should make my kid do it, but I'm overcome with needing to control the wrinkles and air bubbles. And besides, I need to re-learn it myself before teaching him the tips, tricks and agonies of book covering. He'd be scarred for life if we both cluelessly went ahead and ruined all his brand new books.
Wish me well as I surrender to a task I mistakenly and most arrogantly thought I had escaped for good. Maybe I'd even understand if you threw some snark my way for being so smug. That's just karma.