Monday, April 12, 2010

The Wrong Bag

My Kindergartener took a field trip Monday. Four Kindergarten classes made a pilgrimage, aboard two bright yellow school buses, downtown to a large performance theater to see the play Nate The Great. It sounds as if it was a wonderful production. Not seeing it first hand, however, it pales in comparison to our own little post field trip drama.

As I picked Abi up after the trip, she said, "Mommy! Someone else in school, a kid from the afternoon class, has my same backpack!"

"Well, I'm sure it's not EXACTLY the same," I said, skeptically. We're in the middle of Colorado. I didn't imagine many parents online ordered backpacks from LLBean across the country like I did. Though it was possible...

"It WAS!" she said. "RED. LLBEAN... and it even had my name on it!!"

"Really?! It was.... wait, what? Abigail, let me see the bag on your back."

She handed me the bag. Red. LLBean. There was no monogrammed 'Abigail' on the back. It was so surreal that I had to do a personal rewind.
I DID get her backpack monogrammed with her name on it close to a year ago, didn't I? Wait, OF COURSE I did! That's why that other kid's backpack had the name Abigail on it! That's why I'm standing here holding this backpack, rubbing the back of it like a genie lamp, waiting for the monogramming to magically appear. Pull it together, Melis!
I glanced inside the backpack and noted that indeed, the papers inside did not belong to my Abigail.

Well, when you're a kid, new to the whole school scene, I imagine you cling to certain things. For as many times as I holler, "don't forget your backpack!" I think it eventually becomes something of a security blanket. Every morning, the snack goes in. Every snack time, the snack comes out. Every dismissal time, the cubby contents get tucked inside. Every day after school, we get in the car and go through the day's important work and notices before even leaving the parking lot. Then suddenly- it's gone- replaced by this strange impostor, lacking a monogram. Her world shifted on its axis.

We returned the wrong bag to the Kindergarten classroom to await it's afternoon class owner. The darling teachers, seeing Abi so upset, called the owner of the impostor bag, and informed them of the mix up. I assured Abi and the teachers that we would be fine waiting until the following day for the bag. Abi's bag was returned to the school that afternoon, however, and the classroom paraprofessional, who lives around the corner from us, thrilled little Abi by dropping the bag off that very afternoon. Teachers have a knack for understanding kid drama better than the average bear, I think.

So, by day's end, all of the wrongs had been righted, and the snacks would have their proper place for stashing in the morning hours... and I was able to assert a lesson I had taken for granted...

"Abi, if someone is carrying a backpack that is the same color as yours, from the same place as yours, and the backpack has your name on it... chances are, honey, that it's YOUR BACKPACK."

"Yeah," she said. "Especially if it's a BOY carrying it."

"Good thinking, Abi."


  1. Awesome! That's your best in a while, Melissa.
    1. What on earth is a classroom paraprofessional? Is that what they call room moms these days?
    2. I give you 3 years before you are going to target to get your kid's backpacks like the rest of us. On sale.
    Wonderful blog.

  2. Jeff, thanks for the compliment!
    1. A paraprofessional is a certified teaching assistant. With 25 kids in the Kindergarten class, she is INCREDIBLY valuable!
    2. I had an LLBean backpack see me through college. I think I got rid of it a few years into my marriage when the seams were finally tearing. You might be right about the Target sale, but I'd bet not.

  3. I love the ending. Especially if it's a boy. Astute observation Abigail :)