Without being the least bit sarcastic, we have long called Brayden “our little bag lady” due to her pack-rat tendencies. Since she was big enough to walk, she has always – ALWAYS – dragged around a purse. Or backpack. Or gym bag. Or pillow case. Or lunch box. Or paper sack. Or whatever else she could find to carry her “treasures” in. When she was younger she would sleep with her bags, and often carry more than one at a time. I even did a scrapbook layout about it. It was cute, and we laughed ….. and then as she got older, it got a little bit annoying.
Still, to this day, we're always waiting on her to gather her stuff, and she schleps all her crap around in purses or bags. In a pinch, she’ll even use a plastic Target sack … or whatever she needs to fit all her junk in. Totally unnecessary junk, I might add. This years 4th of July parade? She carried twenty (no exaggeration) stuffed animals with her. Why? Can anyone tell me??? Her book-bag from school is crammed so full of un-needed school supplies and extra books and graded papers --that she refuses to throw away -- that she can barely lift it. When we get in the car, for a ten-minute ride, she’ll bring two or three library books, a doll, a stuffed animal or two, a pen and paper, and a tie-a-knot blanket project, or bracelet making kit, or whatever, INSISTING that she NEEDS all of it. Also as she’s gotten older, the items in her purses have gotten more valuable. Now she has an ipod and a Nintendo DS that she insists on taking everywhere.
You’ve probably guessed where this story is going --- about two weeks ago, she lost one of her purses. Couldn’t remember *exactly* where the last place she had it was, but could remember pretty much everything that was in it: her Nintendo, all her Nintendo games, cash, all the tags and id codes for her Webkinz, and jewelry that her grandmother had given her. When I asked her why she was even carrying that stuff around, instead of leaving it in her bedroom where it belonged, she couldn’t really say. Just that you never know when or where you might NEED it. And now it was lost, and she was devastated. And somehow it was all my fault, although I’m still not really sure how.
Blaine and I did everything we could think of to help her remember where she might have lost it. We searched the house and the van high and low. We checked grandma's house. We mentally back-tracked our steps the past two weeks, and called every restaurant we had eaten at. Brayden was very upset that it hadn’t been turned in to the lost and found anywhere …. I asked her, “Brayden, if you found a purse with no personal identification, with cash and a Nintendo in it, do you really think most people are going to turn it in to lost and found? And even if they did, what was to stop a restaurant or store employee from taking it??”
She was very upset, to say the least. And I’ll admit, I felt bad for her. The Nintendo DS and games she had purchased with her own money and a Christmas gift card. The cash was hers, and the jewelry was obviously personal. And as annoyed as I was with her, and as much as I wanted to say a big ole’ “I told you so!” for all the times I had told her not to carry all her stuff around, that she was going to lose it eventually ….. I still hated to see her without. Anytime Kellen and Kendrie would race one another on their DS’s this past week, I felt sad about the look on Brayden’s face.
And yeah, I’ll admit, I was tempted to go buy her another one. She was so genuinely distressed, and no parent wants their kid to be unhappy or do without. But Blaine and I knew replacing the stuff she had lost wasn’t the answer, nor was that the lesson we wanted her to learn. So as much as I hated it, I told her she was going to have to save up the money to buy her own replacement. Oh, the drama and tears that ensued …..
Saturday night, Kendrie had a friend spend the night. Yesterday, Kellen had a friend over to play, and last night, Brayden has a friend spending the night. You can about imagine the state of the girls’ bedroom upstairs. As I was helping set up the extra mattress on the floor and getting blankets for our guest, Brayden made some comment about the room was so messy she couldn’t even sleep in it and wanted to pick up some. Now, you have to realize she’s one of the biggest slobs on the planet, so she was TOTALLY only trying to get Kellen and Kendrie in trouble, by clearly pointing out to me how the room had been trashed. I told her if she wanted to pick up that would be fine, and if not, I’d make everyone do it in the morning. Then I came downstairs and (shocker!) got on the computer.
I few minutes later I heard a shriek, and someone running down the stairs. Brayden bust into my office, holding a cardboard box, and announced to me in a jubilant voice, “Mom, I found my stuff!!” Apparently she had put the purse, along with another purse, a necklace, a tin full of pencils, more costume jewelry, and a journal, into a cardboard box and put it in the corner of her room, where it had promptly been covered up by her dolls. When she was cleaning up tonight she straightened the dolls and discovered the box. To say she was overjoyed would be an understatement. **WHY** all that stuff was in a cardboard box in the corner is still not clear to me, but it's pretty par for the course for her. I was just thrilled that she finally found it.
I gave her a big hug and told her how happy I was for her. Then I tried to turn it into an educational moment with comments like, “This has been a good lesson to all of us about putting things where they belong, right?” and “Now that you know how it feels to lose something, I’m sure you’ll be more careful in the future.” And Brayden agreed, and exuded relief and glee, and smiled happily, and kittens and rainbows and blahblahblah, all was right with the world again.
So then I said, “In a weird way, we can even be grateful to Kendrie for messing up your side of the room since otherwise you wouldn’t have found it.”
And she looked me square in the eye and replied with, “I wouldn’t go that far.”