I know that mothers are supposed to do things selflessly, even unpleasant things, without a thought as to what’s in it for me, or I don’t get paid enough to do this. And when it comes to the necessities of keeping our children alive, safe, and sound, I’m totally on board with selfless sacrifice. But there are some tasks that are not life-sustaining, and so disgusting, that the thought of performing it selflessly with no expectation of reciprocation goes something like this in my book: procreate with that excrement.
But, this afternoon when Little Miss G came to me in tears to explain that one of her most prized possessions–a jade bracelet that was recently given to her by her best friend, N, who purchased the gift while on vacation in California–was lost, of course I wanted to help her. LMG, she new precisely where she last put it… in the Michael’s bag they used to haul toys to and from Aunt Jennifer’s this weekend. The very same Michael’s bag that I tossed in the garbage yesterday before I hauled it to the big bin in the garage. My thought? Excrement. But I couldn’t look into her face and tell her she was excrement-out-of-luck.
I’ve never understood when television and movies show parents and children picking through garbage trying to find a retainer. Maybe I don’t appreciate how expensive retainers are, but the cost is not the only issue. Why would I want something that had been sitting in garbage to find itself back into my or my child’s mouth? I guess Karen Buckman had a good justification for digging through the garbage for a lost retainer when she pointed out to Gil, “They’re a $200. If you dropped $200 in here you would look, right?” My answer to that question has always been a skeptical, “I dunno… how close is it to payday?”
Maybe I have more money than common sense (I hope not, otherwise my common sense balance is negative) but retainers are replaceable. But I can’t replace or even come near the value of a bracelet that was thoughtfully chosen and given to LMG by a sweet girl who is a very good friend to her. I’m a sucker for sentimental things. You want proof?
So after making LMG thoroughly inspect ALL the toys that were taken to Aunt Jennifer’s to make sure the bracelet wasn’t in/with/stuck to them, I sighed–heavily–and went out to the garage and opened the garbage bin. Let me take a moment to point out that the Midwest has had a heatwave the likes of which makes hell seem like a reasonable place to beat the heat. Heat indicies have been over 100 all week. And as we all know, baking enhances the smell of everything, for better or for worse. So, I open the bin and realize there is no way that I’m going to be able to hold my breath long enough to complete this task. At first whiff: She soooo totally owes me for this.
Here is where I also point out that our city has a trash and recycling program. If she had thrown that bracelet in a cardboard box this would have been no problem whatsoever because out recycling is only “clean” stuff like cardboard, washed soda cans, cereal boxes and paper. And two years ago before we started to recycle, chances are that digging through the trash would have meant encountering mostly “clean,” recyclable stuff. But, no, the suspected whereabouts was in the dirty trash. So, she held a fresh trash bag while I picked through apple cores, yogurt containers, coffee grounds and, ewwgawd, discarded chicken and rice. Yes. I did. So I think I am totally justified as I repeated to myself: She totally owes me for this. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the bracelet.
While scrubbing my hands with hand soap and bleach I remembered that I have an unopened package dish gloves under my sink. Well, excrement, that would have been useful information 10 minutes before, wouldn’t it?
So, as I sat here typing up the second paragraph to this post, LMG came downstairs and happily told me that she found her bracelet under a pile of stuff on her dresser. The same pile of stuff–but I’m tempted to use another word here–that I’ve been after her to get cleaned up for a week now. She totally owes me TWO for this.