Countdown to College: Dorm Shopping! …with Mom.

The mere thought of shopping for college fills me with a great deal of excitement. I picture myself hopping from Bed, Bath and Beyond to Target to Harmon Beauty Supply, loading up a shopping cart with the essentials, some indulgences, and those must-have cutesy items to make my dorm room feel like home. My mother and I are all smiles and giggles as we go from aisle to aisle, looking like we walked straight out of The Donna Reed Show (except with up-to-date outfits, of course).

And then we actually go shopping.

You see, my mother is the Jewish mother. She makes all other Jewish mothers look negligent. Although it is purely out of the kindness of her heart, when we go shopping, she seems to be stocking up for an underground bomb shelter. She goes for the ultra-massive-enormous bulk pack instead of the three or four I’ll actually use during the school year. She does not seem to understand that I’m not going away forever; there will be times during the year when I’ll come home with an empty suitcase, only to fill it up with more supplies for my room. Plus, every store I could possibly need is within walking distance from campus.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my mother and appreciate all that she does for me. But the words “restraint” and “reasonable” are not part of her vocabulary when we go shopping. For example, an exchange in the middle of Harmon Beauty Supply on the subject of Q-Tips:

Me: Picks up 375 count box
Mom: Get two more boxes.
Me: …but I won’t need that many.
Mom: You don’t want to have to come back here and buy more to bring up after Thanksgiving.
Me: Wonders how anyone can go through 375+ Q-Tips in three months
Me: If I really need more, I can buy them up at school.
Mom: Long-winded speech about being over-prepared and not underestimating one’s needs, followed by “Now, let’s get four or five big pumps of Purell for your room.”
Me: Dumbfounded

This may seem like a very trivial conversation, but it’s just one of the many that I was forced to endure as we strolled through the aisles at Harmon. Now, like many, I subscribe to the belief that it’s better to be safe than sorry, but there is a difference between caution and irrationality. Whenever I try to steer my mother away from toeing the line between the two (or, rather, completely crossing it), I always end up with three boxes of 375 count Q-Tips and four pumps of Purell. Jewish mother-y-ness wins.

I guess this is just my mother’s last mothery hurrah, since I’ll be leaving soon and she won’t have a child at home anymore (unless you count my dog, whom we’ve spoiled for years). I try to look at it as an annoying yet endearing habit, proof that my mother cares deeply for my welfare at school and doesn’t just see this as shipping me off in September and severing all ties and responsibilities to me. But, really, three boxes of 375 Q-Tips? I love you, Mom, but how dirty do you think my inner-ears really are?

Cut Those Cocktail Calories in Half!
Cut Those Cocktail Calories in Half!
  • 10614935101348454