I Have Kids. They Break Stuff. I'm Detached.

I've never considered myself a materialistic person bound by designer names, but I do like to take care of what I own.  While my worth is not tied to my possessions, I experience a sense of well being and pleasure from the good things for which we've worked.  If, however, there ever was a moment where I allowed the American tendency to have my things define my status in life, my children have eradicated this weakness from my being.

Mainly because they ruin every nice thing I have.

Allow me a pictorial representation, please.

We've lived in this house three weeks.  This towel rack was busted after week one.  A small person decided to jungle gym on it.

John's solution to hide the nasty rips the kids have deliberately made in the couch?  Duck tape.  Chic, posh, and swank all rolled into one!  

This is what every single one of my tubes of lipstick has looked like for the past 8 years.  I use a lipstick brush.

One of the kids helped John paint my closet.  When I opened the door last night, I realized someone's overzealous strokes landed on two of my winter coats and a Jones Of New York suit.  Thank you, helper!

I Have Kids. They Break Stuff. I'm Detached. by Colleen Duggan

There may be one piece of functional jewelry in this entire lot.  The rest?  Cut up or pulled off my neck or used for pretend play.  It's been years since I wore coordinated jewlery with an outfit.

Lamps?  I don't buy them anymore.  We like it dark, just like vampires.

This pic is a repeat, but I really liked this statue.  My sister gave it to me.

I've learned to detach from the "unintentionally" destructive ways of my children, but every now and then, something will happen where both John and I realize its probably best if the children don't touch anything.

I scuttled around the kitchen filling cereal bowls and folding towels and stacking the dishwasher one morning recently, when John appeared at my side.

"Have you seen my wallet?" he said.

"No, you told me you were missing it yesterday on the way to Mass.  You haven't found it yet?"

It was a Monday morning, he was late for work and he couldn't find his wallet, the holder of plastic and identification cards necessary for survival in America. 

He looked in his car.

He looked in his pants pocket.

He looked in the basket he keeps next to our bed.

He looked in the bathroom, his brief case, the kitchen drawer.

He looked everywhere there may have been a wallet.

Still, he couldn't find it.

His shoulders sagged and his forehead pinched with worry, when he reappeared in the kitchen.

I wiped my wet hands on a dishtowel and turned to face him.  I was also starting to worry.  I didn't want to panic, but the wallet.  We needed it.

"Have you called the bank to see if there has been any unusual activity?" I asked."Do you think someone could have stolen it?"

John reached for his phone and punched in the bank's telephone number.  He ducked out of the kitchen so he could hear the automated teller over the din of breakfast chaos.

I whispered a prayer to St. Antony and began polling children.

"Has anyone seen Dad's wallet? It's really important we find it.  The wallet contains really important stuff.  Do you think all of you could help look?" I implored.

"I have no idea where it is," said Child One. 

"I haven't seen it!" said Child Two.

"I'll help him look!" sang the chorus gathered around the table feasting.

The older kids jumped out of their seats and took off--

one went to search the van,

one to search the bathroom,

and another to check the laundry.

"No activity on the account," he said when he returned.  "I don't know where my wallet could be..."

He was shaking his head, bewildered, when he stopped and turned to look at me.

"Camille's backpack.  She stuffs all kinds of things in there.  My wallet...I bet it's in the backpack," he said and darted out of the kitchen and up the stairs to her room.

He was back again in a minute, frantically pulling open drawers.

"It wasn't there?" I said.

"I'm not sure," he said.  "She locked the door.  I


my wallet is in her room.  Camille stuffs her backpack full, I bet she put my wallet in it.  I  think she locked me out of her room when she knew I was looking for it. She loves my credit card."



started tearing open drawers in search of a screwdriver.  When we found one, we bound up the stairs to Camille's room.  In a minute, John had unscrewed the doorknob and we pushed open the door and...

there on the ground next to the bed, sat Camille's sunflower book bag


John's wallet.

Once we had found it, John may have made a joke about breaking her hands, but he was just kidding.

He'd have to get her book bag off her first.

Oh, I know.  She looks innocent.  But this little stinker went upstairs and locked her door when she heard her dad was looking for his wallet that she hid.