Back to school shopping looks a little bit different this year. For some, it’s extra cozy clothes to snuggle up in from behind a laptop or tablet. For others, it is lots of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.
And new to the list this year, if you are sending your kiddos to school: masks. And let me tell you something, while I know my kids will be fine wearing them, I also am a realist and realize that my kids’ skill of misplacing stuff is seriously their superpower. In the last school year alone, I am pretty sure we went through 14 pairs of gloves. By the end of winter, I questioned putting mismatched socks on their hands, since I cannot ever find the matches to those anyway.
Attempting to think ahead (just an FYI, this is actually uncommon for me) I could already see where this mask thing would go. I mean, as the old saying goes, they would lose their heads if they weren’t attached. So, I started looking at options to keep their masks on them during their lunch, recess or whatever break they may get from them.
With word of mouth being such a powerful promoter, a work friend suggested someone fairly local who she saw was making lanyards; a simple string with beads that would clip on both sides of the mask so the child could just pull it down and let it hang on their chest until they needed it again. This was exactly what I needed.
After viewing a social media post, I was sold. And let me tell you, I would have paid up for these things! I mean, the more masks they can keep track of, the less masks I would need to buy. While I probably could have easily made these myself, I have neither the patience or the time to put forth that effort. Plus, when I saw the unbelievably cheap price, I knew that this was the route to go.
So I messaged this woman. She quickly responded and asked if I was interested in both masks and lanyards or just lanyards. After she told me the price of the masks, I was flabbergasted. This woman was barely if at all making a profit. And she did good work!
Seriously, I have been all over Etsy and the internet looking for fun masks for the girls to have to match their daily outfits along with extra masks to send for when they talk too much with a little extra saliva or who knows, they may even need to pick a booger (get out of here if you think your kids don’t do it). And this woman was also making masks dirt cheap!
So, I did what any mom sending her kids to school in 2020 and finding a deal would do, I ordered 10 masks and six lanyards. Then, I immediately felt guilty — like I was ripping this entrepreneur off! I mean, the masks I had been searching online were like three times the price! And because I am who I am, I messaged her.
Politely, I told her that I thought she was cheating herself, that I would have happily paid more for all of these. Not only that, but that I would share her work with friends and could even leave out price so she could have the option to raise it at least a bit.
And do you know what she wrote me back? She told me that she was enjoying making these masks and wanted to make sure everyone who needed one got one. Already she had donated to hospitals and the military. All she asks for is enough to cover her cost so she can continue to make them for those who need them. She also donated masks for all the incoming kindergartners at her local school.
There I was living in this world of money and profit and along came a saint to save me from my own stupidity. You see, I actually almost forgot that there were people out there like that; ones who do good just because doing good is the right thing to do.
She saved me that night — from falling deeper into the disastrous debacle that we are currently dealing with. Amid all the chaos, uncertainty and even the expressions we are missing behind the masks, there are still honest, true and kind people out there.
Yeah, back to school shopping has a new look — we are choosing back packs and lunch boxes on Amazon. Heck, we all also have a new look with fabric on our faces. But I am so thankful for the reminder that there are still people out there smiling from behind them.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.