Sticks and Stones

We’re in the final countdown for our move.  July 5th the moving minions show up to wrap everything in bubble wrap and cardboard.  July 6th they cart all the boxes off to long-term storage and our Big Adventure officially begins.  Each of us is dealing with this impending move in our own delightful way, resulting in a household where everyone is just an itsy-bitsy bit TENSE and maybe just a tad SURLY.  If we don’t all kill each other first, I’m sure we’re going to have a great time exploring Abu Dhabi.

So as part of the pre-move sifting and sorting, I sat with Caleb the other day and helped him go through his desk. We had two boxes: a big one for storage and a small one for treasures he wanted to take with him to Abu Dhabi.

Into the big box went ceramic objects (a bowl, a snake, a plate) he’d made with our friend Nancy, various decorative boxes filled with coins, a Samurai coloring book, a balsa wood pirate.

And a bag of rocks.  “These rocks are not my important rocks,” he said. “My important rocks I sent already to Abu Dhabi. These rocks can stay here.”

Then he rummaged around and held up a small Ziploc baggie. “But these are my most precious rocks. I saved these. I want to get one of those rock polishers for these rocks.”

“These rocks” are foraged primarily from the driveways of people who live in the Easthampton neighborhood where our friends the Horwiches live.  When we visited them last month, Caleb and I went rock hunting (and rescued any number inch worms who would otherwise have died a squashy death in the middle of the road).  Caleb loves sparkly rocks, which I imagine cost a pretty penny per pound. Thank you, Easthampton neighbors. I am now going to be carrying pieces of your driveway around the world to Arabia.

The small bag of rocks went into the “bringing with” box and we continued sorting.  Then Caleb dropped to his knees and started scrabbling behind the desk like some kind of truffle-hunting pig.

Triumphant, he stood up, brandishing a stick. “My favorite stick! I thought I lost it!”

Then he held up his other favorite stick. “This stick is my worm-digger. I love this stick.” (We do not dig for worms in our family, by the way. Never have, probably never will. We are a worm-fearful people.)

I tried, really, I did. I said, “There are probably great sticks in Abu Dhabi.” I said, “We’re going to be in London—there are great sticks in London.” I said, “Why don’t we leave these sticks here, in storage, and they’ll be waiting for you when we get back.” (I was, of course, lying through my teeth, because of course I intended to chuck those sticks into the garbage.)

What I said was utterly irrelevant. His face crumpled, tears rolled, mouth went completely upside down. “I WANT MY STICKS!”

I gave in. We agreed to wrap the sticks in plastic bags and put them in his suitcase.

Which means that, yes, I will be bringing sticks and stones to the Middle East.  I’m sure they will be infinitely superior to any indigenous sticks and stones, but I’m a little unclear about how to declare these priceless treasures on our customs forms.

I think calling them “security sticks” could get us into trouble, considering our destination.  What about “xanax branches?”

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7 Responses to Sticks and Stones

  1. Poor Princess June 29, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    When you pick up a suitcase and say “Man, this is heavy! It’s like someone put rocks in it!”–it will be true. Bon voyage!!

  2. KSB June 29, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    TSA may save you the trouble of having to figure out how to declare them….. Good luck!

  3. Susan W. June 29, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    As long as the sticks and stones don’t break your bones, you’re ok. I love “These rocks are not my important rocks” — this is exactly why I love children.

  4. anna ~ random handprints July 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    oh how i love this in every way.

    we recently moved (about 20 miles, but still a major move for my kids) and i had to poke air holes in all the boxes that contained stuffed animals. also, had to mark *FRAGILE* even though they were probably the only things that didn’t need to be marked as such.

    have a fantastic adventure, i will be reading it all here!

  5. Dick Horwich July 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Great blog — but sad, too. I know that it will morph into AbudhabiBaby or some such thing, but we won’t actually SEE you for months. Promise to Skype?

    Oh, and thanks for plugging my blog. I’m actually posting to it these days.

  6. Jenni July 8, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    I love this post!! Can’t wait to read about your new adventures, once you get settled.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. food for memory | MaNNaHaTTaMaMMa - November 25, 2012

    […] named ezrapoundcake?)  I figured I could use that space to pack more of Caleb’s important Sticks and Rocks. I did, however, bring my binder.  A binder with recipes in it, not women (thanks Mitt, for an […]

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