Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Random Things in Random Places

One of the unexpected things that happens when you have small children is that you find random things in random places and don’t even blink. For example, I find the following objects in my bed on a regular basis: a stone turtle, a battery-powered candle, combs and hairbrushes, shoes (mine or someone else’s), and toy trucks. I have found a toy fire engine in my dishwasher. This morning there was a purple plastic number 3 behind my toilet. I once opened a box of pool supplies my husband had brought down from the attic to find that it also contained several blocks and a stuffed monkey that had been missing for the past eight months. We used to find blocks, stuffed animals, books, and dirty socks in the diaper pail at least once a week. I still never know what I’ll find when I stick my hand into my coat pocket – it could be the car keys I’m looking for or it could be a rock, or a stick, or some petrified raisins, or a plastic spoon.

The first few times it happens, you think, “What on earth??!!??” But you get used to it very quickly, and before long you react to finding, say, a pair of swim goggles in your purse with merely a shrug.

It’s very important not to discard any of the treasures you find, however. What looks to you like a handful of stale pretzels might be a delicious snack that a certain youngster is very much looking forward to. What appears to be a simple, dime-a-dozen rock may be a beautiful and valuable gemstone in the eyes of a little boy. A beat-up plastic spoon could be a piece of trash, or it could be a beloved utensil whose loss will be mourned greatly by its original user. Beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder.

It does teach you to look at things with new eyes. If you look more closely at that grubby rock, you might realize that it does sparkle in the sunshine like a jewel. That old, hardened piece of play-dough really does resemble a tiny robot if you look at it at just the right angle. And raisins are already dried out, so a little extra dryness doesn’t negate their value as an emergency treat.

And so I eagerly await what I may find in my bed every afternoon after my son has visited my bedroom. That may look like a tiny stone turtle and a toy tractor to you, but in my eyes it’s a precious love offering.

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