It felt like we had become stick figures living out a chapter from Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Tween rode his bike home from his first day of 6th grade – his first day ever of middle school. He beat me home from work by just a few minutes, long enough to dump his bike on the front lawn and hit the bathroom. When he’d put away his bike, we flopped on the couch together to chat through the day: how were his teachers, classes, friends, new friends? Anything exciting or interesting?
He wanted to show me my homework, the first day of school papers parents have to sign, so he needed his backpack, the brand-spanking-new backpack with the brand new binder, notebooks, and school supplies. He couldn’t find his backpack.
Commence extensive search. We searched the living room. We searched the garage. We searched the front and side and back yards. He called the friends most likely to have seen his backpack at the end of the school day. We drove to school, where we checked the bike rack. We checked his last period class, where his very kind teacher said it had not been left behind. We talked with the custodian who promised to keep an eye out for it. We searched the bushes. We checked with the front office, where someone made a note in case it turned up. We checked the lost and found in the gym; the gym was locked as there was no lost and found on Day 1 of the school year.
We returned home and double-checked yard, garage, bedroom, and bathroom. Baffled and about to droop into the couch, we gasped: there on the other side of the coffee table, a mere few feet from where we began our search, sat the backpack.
Think someone feels overwhelmed at this transition? That’s right, and he does, too. Yes, I’m joking, but truthfully the kiddo hasn’t slept well in at least three nights. Last night we had tears. My normally cool-as-a-cucumber kid is showing me his soft seeds.
Fortunately, I kept my cool throughout the Great Backpack Search. I couldn’t imagine where it had gone, nor what we might have to do to replace it by tomorrow, yet I also knew that any sign of stress on my part would only amplify his frustration.
All’s well that ends well, and I think we’re going to be laughing about this one for a while. In fact, I suspect it might become a metaphor for the belly flops we’ll endure over the next few years:
But, Mom, I tried…! (whine, shuffle, sniff)
Yes, and keep trying. Remember the backpack? I’m sure the answer is right in front of your feet.
It always helps to keep a sense of humor. Thank God for the Wimpy Kid forging a path for this Confused Kid (and his mom).