Show and tell

For show and tell she wanted to take her pink purse.

I hate to admit I cringed a tiny bit at her choice, thinking, Why not the tongue drum? Something more…show and tell-y?

Trying my best to be the interested and supportive mom, “Oh that’s a good idea. Why do you want to take your pink purse?” (Because we are supposed to help the kids think through what they might say before they end up in front of the class in shock.)

“Because I love how it is shiny and sparkles!”

“What else do you want to tell your class about it?”

“I don’t want to tell you.”

Fair enough. I pack up the conversation and focus on the pasta Bolognese we are all enjoying. It is pretty good. I added bacon…because Hormel is a close approximation to pancetta when you live in China. (I know, I know there is pork belly everywhere, but I just don't know if it's the same...)

Later after the kids had read themselves to sleep and Mike went to his office for his nightly hours of meetings with the United States, I actually remembered to pack the pink purse in her bookbag with the umpteen other things I usually forget (I have no idea how anyone expects a tiny child to carry all the things she is supposed to, but she manages somehow) and took a peek inside.

I cringed again. This time at myself for being so judgmental about her choice in the first place.

Inside it was a beautiful collection of little cherished objects that probably no one else would understand why or how they got there or why they are special without a bit of explanation, but I could tell instantly.

The pink crystal rock she picked up on a walk with her Dad close to the time we were leaving Michigan.

A huge collection of hair clips that she absolutely refuses to wear, but apparently keeps them all in this purse because her Nonna gave them to her.

A purple gummy Panda bear that is supposed to go on the ends of some chopsticks Mike and I brought back for her from our first visit to China when she stayed behind.

The shell of a walnut we spent a great deal of time talking about while trying to use the scientific method (which she had just learned about in school) to determine what kind of object it was (a nut), what kind of nut it was (have to open it to find out), how to open it (it was banged on and upon with a wide variety of surfaces and objects until I took the heel of a knife to it while she stood a safe distance), and what it felt and tasted like (freshly shelled nuts taste better).

The purse itself is from her beloved Baki.

To me, it holds important artifacts from the life we left behind. This is not just a pink purse with some sparkle rock and hair clips. And she has just recently started adding things from this new life. The walnut shell! A little rubber Lego piece she found on the ground and wants to return to one of her classmates because he might be missing it! 

This little purse might just be her rock in the storm, and I'm just so glad I kept my mouth shut and did the Supportive Mom thing like all the blogs tell us we should.

And it's all very perfect for show and tell.