The Mystery Bag.

By Wednesday of this week I had realized I was not going to win the mother of the year award.

We forgot the mystery bag. When I say “we” I mean “I”. I left it at the front door and when we were half way to school the 4th little traveller shouted from the back seat “The Mystery bag!” and without thinking I muttered “shit” under my breath. The first little traveller, who see’s her role as second in charge, shot me her best tut tut look.

The Mystery bag involves bringing something from home, it remains a secret in the bag while the other children in the class try and guess what it is from the clues you provide. There would be no mystery bag today- and it would be my fault.

As we sat at the lights I began envisaging myself fessing up to the Kindergarten teacher. The shame of the excuses, the look in her eye. Would I tell the truth? That we forgot the mystery bag because the 4th little traveller had his hands full carrying his breakfast to the car, and yes, that breakfast may very well have been nutella on toast. Mother. Of. The.Year.
“What did you pack in the mystery bag?” asked the Second Little Traveller. 
“Da Boomerang – I was going to to tell them about da Australian Aborigines”
All of The Little Travellers nodded in nostalgic agreement. The boomerang was always a winner. It was a leaving gift from Aunty Bianca and has had a special place in every house that we have lived in. The boomerang has been to every school The Little Travellers have attended. It has travelled in the form of show and tell, it’s a popular choice for Australia Day and a regular accompaniment for International Week. It would be remiss of me to not point out that at all of these events the Boomerang has always come back.
“Don’t feel bad Hotdog” says the Third Little Traveller “I was going to sing Advance Australia Fair today but Mum can’t get the printer to work so I don’t have all the words”
Bang – there it was – my second dose of mothers guilt and we were only half way to school.

The First Little Traveller raised a judgmental eyebrow in my direction “Don’t worry I’ll print it in my first break and bring it to your class”. At this point I could no longer see her in the front seat as the high horse that she was sitting on had elevated her position. 

“It’s Wednesday Mum – do you have 10 riyals”said a voice from the back seat.

Cue the sound of crickets. I blinked and kept staring ahead while thinking of my empty wallet.

“I’ve got money” sighed an exasperated Second Little Traveller  “I’ll cover it this week.

“Where are you getting all of the money from?”

“It’s my tooth fairy money, remember when she forgot to come but then came the next week”

Bang bang – 2 more shots of mothers guilt.

As I dropped them at the gate we had our usual strategic afternoon discussion. I feel like Churchill hunched over a map while we co-ordinate someone being collected at gate 5 at 3 o’clock, some else will be there at 4, some one else will need to be at gate 10. I notice a homework folder sticking out from under the seat on the floor of car and tuck it into its owners backpack.

“Thanks Mummy – you’re a lifesaver” says the Third Traveller.

As the First Little Traveller departs the car I call out “Is this the pencil case you HAD to have today?” As I wave it in my hand, she blushes and mumbles “Thanks Mum” with a half smile.

A couple of minor wins amongst a few soon to be forgotten failures. It’s a mixed bag. A mystery bag.

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  1. I love the realness of what you write.  Whenever I read it I sit wherever I am nodding my head away (even though I only had one and very seldom took her to school !!!) but I can imagine how things would pan out for someone with 4 children taking them to school herslef !!
    Have a fantastic day !

  2. Lesley Hubczenko says

    Oh yes – with three 7 and under – I am right there. Missing library bags, forgotten recorders and the time I had to borrow the tooth fairy money so Mr 6 could have tuckshop 😉 which if course he reminds me about all the time.

  3. Oh, yes, remember those days well! Sadly, with only one child left in school and NO job (living the life of leisure as the expat wife…ha), we still have those incidents taking place.  Let me point out, however, that  the fact that your children were compassionate and helpful to each other is the best testimony  that you ARE, indeed, doing a great job! 

  4. yesterday, when I was driving my daughter home from a birthday party at 8pm in the evening (after 3 hours of loud shouting children, speaking in a foreign language to the other parents (spanish), she said, ‘mummy, why were you late picking me up from school today?’ I wouldn’t mind, but I was waiting for her when she came out of school…bah! I wasn’t late. Motherhood Guild is a terrible thing…

  5. oops, guilt! (still tired from the party)

  6. I’ve got a little tear in my eye thinking that you’ve carried that boomerang with you. I keep waiting for you all to come back just like boomerangs do xx

  7. ahh yes the mothering guilt …. I know this 🙂 best le 

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