My house is always full of kids, and when it’s not it feels pointless to have a house this size. When I was a kid my Grandparents house was “the house” I always dreamed I would have “the house”. Now I do. We live in a rural area and our oldest 2 have moved on and away, but still here, brightening our days as only he could is the Prince. The Prince is 9. The Prince is “the good kid” that everyone wants their child to hang out with. Manners, loving, caring and smart. Every year since kindergarten he has gotten student of the month and Good Citizenship. This year he pulled a Michael Phelps of Elementary proportions, he did 7 events in field day. Then recieved 7 awards at the end of the year. They included but were not limited to; Good Citizenship, A/B Honor Roll, Exemplary Conduct ( seems like good citizenship to me? ), Funniest Guy, Science and Computer Advancement award, and oh yeah, Student of the Year. I have no clue how he balanced Student of the Year and Exemplary Conduct with Funniest Guy, I could never pull that off and always went for the later which excluded me from the former. But he did. He is the proverbial helper child, the hugger. When he was in Kindergarten and 1st grade, they buddied him with the more severe and profound special needs kids that had been mainstreamed. He understood, accepted them and helped to guide them while giving them what they needed most a friend. He is a natural. Maybe it was having an much older brother with issues that gave him this ability I don’t know. He’s a thinker, at 8 and 1/2 years old, he said , ” I think you should marry somone because they are your best friend, not becuase they are pretty, it’s more important to live with your best friend for ever and pretty can go away. ” ( pretty dang profound right? I wish more adults followed his advice maybe the divorce rate would be lower. ) He’s also a sacrificer, more than he should be at his age. When tragedy struck my friend of 10 + years, and it was touch and go. Even though he has no memory of this family because we moved away when he was only 1 year old, it hit him hard. My child said, “Mom, you have to go and help them, I will miss you but they need hugs right now, I have my Mommy all the time and theirs is really sick”. Then when I went back again at Christmas time and money was tight, ” He told me all he wanted for Christmas was for their mommy to be ok, he didn’t need presents.” I have went back several times and each time he cries that he will miss me but celebrates like he just won a trip to Disney for himself when he hears the updates on my friend and her children. He also is a saver. This is the kid that “asks” if he can have our pennies every day. He has a huge water jug he fills with coins, then he rolls them and put’s them in his Treasure Chest. When he was 6 he had saved and rolled enough money to buy his very own Xbox 360. A few months later he bought rock band, so the family could play together. On his 7th birthday his only requested present was coin rollers. He’s not my only remarkable child, his sister is now 21. Well 2 years ago she called from College and said, ” I want to make his Easter basket and I want to do something different for him.” She knew money was tight and she has always adored and included her baby brother in just about everything, but still a college kid thinking about a little brother for Easter, super bonus points in the bestest EVER big sister category. She found this good sized raw plain wood box shaped like a treasure chest. She bought it and turned it into a real Treasure Chest. She painstaking painted it with maps and his name and decorations and then bought hinges and a pad lock for it. It became one of his most prize possessions and with his penchant for saving things and money it was perfect. It became home to the money he rolled, the medals he won in sports, and the gold dollar collection he’s been building for 3 years. 3 Years may not seem like a lot but it’s 1/3rd of his life. He kept the key on a USMC lanyard he had earned by doing chin ups at a convention where the Marines were in attendance, he also saluted said Marines and I watched them soften a bit as they patted his head after he said it was his dream to be a military medic and save people willing to fight for his country.
Well after I have given you enough background to know how lucky I am to be this kids Mom. I have horrible news.
We were attacked by Pirates.
See a few weeks ago when my house was full of kids 11 years old down to 4, something horrible happened. We didn’t realize it until yesterday, Tuesday.
My upstairs was built for the kids, it’s the only part of my house that is carpeted. They have the 2 empty rooms, the rec room, a bath room and Alex’s room. Kids here have free reign of the upstairs. It’s their place to play, have fun, run, be creative, be kids. That’s why I have an upstairs. After being the mom of a really challenging child/teenager I am very laid back. The rules are short and simple and I have NO problem with all the kids that come here for up to 16 hours a day, if not days at a time. Many of them are my great nieces and great nephews. The enjoy craft projects and I enjoy and love all of them.
So a few weeks ago his lanyard and key to his Treasure Chest went missing. Even though he is so responsible it’s hard to believe he is 9. No biggie that’s a kid thing, the key will turn up. Well it didn’t.
He was talking about a canoe / kayak trip in the upcoming month and wanted to make sure he had enough to rent his own canoe and possibly camp on the trip. You see we are those mean parents that make kids buy or pay for extra things. Partly out of necessity and partly out of the fact we want them to know the difference between a want and a need. He had his Christmas Money ( yeah it’s June and yeah he hasn’t spent it, didn’t I say he was thrifty and willing to sacrifice? He also had his birthday money. In a stroke of genius I had his 9th birthday party at the family reunion and he raked in close to $75 bucks at just that, which he had promptly deposited into the beloved Treasure Chest.
So today I took the hinges off his Treasure chest because it’s easier than breaking a master lock and I am all about the easy way. Imagine the horror that blanketed the room when his treasure chest was empty save some loose change and a couple of medals.
I looked at my little boys face, and I wanted to teleport backwards just 1 minute and pretend I couldn’t get it open, I wanted to give him back what was taken at that moment. The moment he realized he had been robbed. He stared in the Treasure chest for a moment and then he took a deep breath and said words that would haunt me. ” It’s all gone mom, somone robbed my treasure chest”, ” Mom it had to be a friend, only my friend knew about my Treasure chest in my bedroom”, ”who would steal from a little kid”, ”who would steal from their friend”. Everything he was processing was coming out his mouth and I sat in silence. Then he said, ” they probably really really needed it, but I would have gave it to them if they asked.” He then kicked me in the gut with, ” I hope they save those gold coins instead of spending them, Paw Paw gave them to me, they are special”.
My mind ran through who was in the house the day the key went missing, we have indoor video surveillance but not in the bedrooms and bathrooms only the common areas. Here’s the kicker. You have to be a thinker to take the key so your not found out THAT day and can possibly return to loot again. We can’t call a neighborhood meeting, or talk to the other parents, because let’s face it although some of the parents on the road are
sane, honest strict, there are a few “couch parents” who would just scream, cuss and feel like we were pointing the finger. We can’t pin down 100% which kid did i. I explained to Alex how much it would hurt if we mistakenly blamed someone and they really didn’t do it. Put yourself in their shoes.
Time literally stood still as my baby lost a peace of his innocence that day. when he realized that someone who was his friend was also a thief. When the he realized the things he hold most dear were gone. I wept for him, but not in front of him.
He has been saving for as long as he can remember.
I took a moment when several of the kids were here, and he told them of the incident, I explained to them in some countries your hand is cut off if you steal so much as an apple. This way everyone who ever met you knew you were a thief and you could never forget. How they would each feel if something they loved, their bike, or their wii was just gone one day, stolen. They could not believe it. I also explained that EVERYONE is always welcome in my house and if they ever needed anything they could come ask, if we could we would help. Then I told them thieves and liars stink, and even finders keepers was a form of stealing, and even if it is something you want, it is just not the right thing to do. They all hugged Alex and then they all went and played on the Xbox he paid for himself.
I just don’t understand if your kid under 11 came home with gold coins and around $100 in folding cash and rolled coins why you wouldn’t notice. Why you wouldn’t be burning up the phones to find out where it came from and to return it, and follow it with lectures and harsh punishment.
So yeah this post doesn’t quite fit here, as this is supposed to be a place to be “peachy”. But I had to write it. Because the last thing he said after everyone was gone was quite Peachy. ” I am glad it was just my Treasures in the chest mom, it could be worse, no one got hurt and I still have my family.” So see he is “Being Peachy” just by the words he said and the way he handled loosing everything.
What a kid.. How lucky can I be? The Prince is totally Being Peachy. Thanks again little man, for bringing a lesson in both forgiving and priorities.