We go down to the lakefront every year on July the third for the Milwaukee firework tradition. And every year, a man comes by, usually smoking a cigarette and donning some of his horrible wares, pushing a cart full of overpriced garbage. Light up garbage, spinney garbage, cheap garbage hats and glasses, millions of balloons shaped like Dora the Explorer and fake swords, light sabers and other weaponry. And every year in the spirit of the event, we buy our kids one of those pieces of garbage each.
$20 total for some plastic crap that will, I promise you, break extremely soon after purchased.
It's effing awesome.
So this year, Coen got a knock-off $10 light saber for his fifth year running and Lucy and her cousin Sophia picked out these weird light up stick things with very fragile ribbon wrapped around it. They were $7.00 apiece and were clearly going to cause problems later.
We could not wait.
My was elected to hold the girls' wand things while they use the port-a-potty.
Night fell, much to our excitement and we were greeted with just about the lovelies and most well spaced out display of fireworks we'd ever seen, this side of the US Bank Building.
The children enjoyed their light up crap as we packed up and headed back to our cars for the drive home.
Two days later, my niece came to sleep over, bringing along her little wand which had already broken the day before and was actually quite cleverly repaired by my mother. My sister made an extra stop on the way to drop her daughter off just to pick up the ridiculous thing so the girls' new toys could be reunited once more in the dark bedroom of a sleepover.
Overnight, somehow Lucy's wand was crushed by being slept upon or rolled upon--who can tell--and she handled it with quite a lot of calm and grace. Lucy's cousin, wanting to continue to match, snapped hers in half. We packed the pieces in her overnight bag before we brought her home.
So this evening, my daughter, exhausted by two nights of fireworks and then a sleepover, called to me after I'd tucked her in. She was crying.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"I'm upset about my wand!" She cried and then sobbed, huge tears falling down her little rosy red, sunshine-darkened cheeks. I sat next to her and rubbed her back, waiting for her to pull away as she does. My daughter wants nary a kiss nor a look of sympathy when she's hurt or upset, preferring to handle it on her own. I asked (as I always do just in case) if she wanted a hug and she shook her head. I stood to go. "I'll be back in six minutes to check on you." I said.
"Wait." She said as my foot touched the first step. "I want a hug."
So it was with the deepest pleasure that I hugged and soothed my crying daughter, though I was sorry for her loss. "Want me to lay down by you?"I asked, pressing my luck.
So, in some ways, it was thanks to that $7.00 plastic junk toy, I got to cuddle my sad kid tonight. I rubbed her back and felt the curve of her warm body against me and kissed her arm and felt lucky that this time I got to provide the kind of sympathy and love that I'm really good at giving.