Back-to-School: the best backpacks
When my mother chose the name Melissa for me in 1973, she thought it was a beautiful name and unlike any of the names she’d heard around the neighborhood. She thought it was ‘unique’.
She hadn’t heard of any other babies with my name at least until she arrived at the pediatrician’s office for my one week check up. Four other very unique Melissa’s were also waiting for their appointments.
This trend continued through my school years where I was always Melissa W. because there was a Melissa M., a Melissa O. and a Melissa H too. Over time though I’ve come to appreciate my name in no small part because of the greek origins of my name.
Apparently Melissa was also the name of a mountain nymph who saved Zeus from his father, Cronus. Cronus was attempting to devour his son (probably over a long break where Zeus asked every four minutes what they were going to do next). She fed Zeus milk from a goat and honey from beehives. Cronus was unhappy about this and changed her into a worm. But wait, it gets better. Zeus then saved Melissa from her worm-y fate and turned her into a queen bee.
Melissa’s Buzz Off was one of many suggestions for my column’s name, Sweet Melissa’s Buzz Off was one of those suggestions which were rejected. I like sarcasm as much as the next person but calling me sweet is going way too far.
Melissa’s Buzz Off is a collection of pretty much anything I want to buzz about. It’s some shopping, but with more editorial and more ways for you to join in. Sometimes what I want to buzz about is also what you’d like to buzz about and since The Buzz Off is collaborative, I want your tips. You can email me at email@example.com.
Each summer I carefully plan activities for the kids and I to enjoy together. We visit our local pool and museums. We eat popsicles together on the porch, blow bubbles and sometimes we try to catch fireflies at dusk. It’s fun for the first eight weeks of summer, then August rolls around.
I spend almost the entire month imagining my children as pretzel sticks. Pretzels sticks I could dip in chocolate and roll in multi-colored sprinkles and devour. By August we’re all kind of tired of waking up each morning, looking at one another and saying, “What are we going to do today?” By ‘we’ I actually mean by August I am a little tired of waking up and facing the ‘What are we doing today?’ question.
The end is in sight though, and if your kids have already started school let’s just pretend (for my sake) they didn’t. I have another week because my state’s legislature decided all the public schools needed to start classes after Labor Day. They say this is to help bring tourism dollars to our state and give families one last long weekend to enjoy each other before the end of summer.
I’d like to invite all my state representatives and the tourism board to my house this week because I’m not enjoying my bickering and bored children. In fact I feel like I’m metaphorically gnawing my own leg off trying to escape the trap which is the never ending school break. Thank you, Michigan!
But no, the end is near and I have a supply list from our teachers to prove it. There’s not a lot I love more than the first day of school, it’s like Christmas only with more free time.
This week I’ll be looking at all sorts of school supplies, today: backpacks.
This little Randoseru is a Japanese tradition I wish we’d made our own. It’s pricey, but I’m certainly not one to put a price tag on adorable. I picture my little girl wearing a beret, a plaid pleated skirt and mary janes walking to school down a cobblestone street. Except that my daughter has declared an embargo on any article of clothing without two separate leg openings, a beret would probably get her beaten up on the playground and we don’t live in a particularly picturesque place. It’s just my fantasy.
The more practical part of me is a huge fan of the Lands End line of backpacks. The Collegiate pack is durable, classic and affordable. My daughter thinks it’s boring, but it comes in a lot of colors and even a pattern. You can get it monogrammed, Madison would like, “This Backpack Is Boring” embroidered on hers.
My daughter wants a dog more than anything in the entire world, she’s wanted a dog for over half of her relatively short life. I have a secret though: I don’t really want a dog very much at all and I’m not sure if we’re ever going to actually have a dog. This is why my daughter has a lot of items with dogs on them, so this backpack from Little Pack Rats appeals to me. A nice vinyl backpack
with an adorable pup on the back. No barking, no chewing…not really as fun as a real dog but who’s side are you on anyway?
Of course, we’re more likely to end up with a character backpack because in my son’s world everything is better if it has a character on it. In my world everything with a character is just a little more tacky, but that might be our generation gap talking.
On the other hand, if a character backpack makes you laugh I’m all for it. This Yoda backpack will appeal to your child’s love of the Star Wars films and it will appeal to your desire to laugh just a little bit when you send your kids to school. When I showed it to Max he crinkled his nose and backed away from me slowly saying, “I just really think I want a Power Rangers backpack. Okay?” Maybe your child is a little more adventurous.
Tomorrow we’ll look at lunch boxes, you know that box I fill with food everyday and send off with my daughter, who eats three bites and returns the box to me full at the end of the day? Yes, that one.