Posted by: ladybughugs | August 25, 2008

A Huge Sigh of Relief and a Valuable Lesson Learned

…I hope!

Last Monday, H called me to let me know, in advance, before I got home, that Scout’s game case (that is, the case that he got for his birthday to hold his Nintendo DS and an assortment of games and accessories) disappeared at camp. He called me so that I’d have time to cool down before coming face-to-face with the child, possibly averting a blow-up of epic proportions. He’s ten. We’ve talked and talked about responsibility and not taking the game out where it could get lost or stolen and not leaving any of his belongings behind (including school books).

I had a lot of questions. ‘How?’ topped the list. For the record: it happened at the ice rink. On Mondays his camp takes them across the parking lot to go skating. There is a reciprocal agreement so the kids at the skating camp can go do gymnastics one afternoon a week. One of Scout’s friends didn’t have warm clothes and they were outside where it was warmer. Scout had gone to the restroom and left everything with his friends. When he came back everything was gone. The friends had gone back inside taking his game with them and leaving the case (with $300+/– worth of games inside) outside. Alone. Unattended. Unsupervised.
I spent the next two hours driving home from work, picking up Lil’bug on the way, taking a long, deep breaths, and thinking about calming myself so that I could resist the urge to strangle him when I got home. I knew he’d be devastated. I knew, ‘I told you so’ would not have been productive. I knew that making the kid feel even worse (if that was even possible) would not have made me feel better.

I have to say, I surprised myself. When I got home the first thing I did was have him to stand up so that I could give him a big hug. In his mind he thought he was in more trouble than he’d ever been in his life. He was, but it was self-inflicted in that he was beating himself up. He was a mess. He’d been crying (like we’d never seen him cry before). I let him know that I’d work with him to figure out how to get it back. His whole body relaxed.

I had him sit down at the computer and start making a list of everything he remembered being in the case. The plan was to make a ‘LOST’ flier, take it to the three camps that were there at the time and have them make copies to give to each parent at drop-off/pick-up. I figured that something like the case would not slip into someone’s home unnoticed by the parental units and if the parents saw the children with games or a case that was not their own they might ask questions, especially if they got a note from their child’s camp about it.

Fortunately, we did not have to take it this far. By the time Scout arrived at camp on Tuesday morning the case was there, with all the contents intact!

Wednesday the game and the case stayed home. The new rule in our house: only take with you what you’re prepared to lose.


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