“One pillow. One blanket. One pajama shirt. One Pajama pant.” placing each item inside as I mentally check off my list.
“Honey, what are you doing?” Mom called from the room across the hall.
“I’m packing mommy! You will be so proud of my accomplishments when I finish!” my voice creeping louder as my words continue on. Probably due to my face being stretched wide to fit my prideful smile.
“You don’t need to worry about that dear. I was going to pack your things.” Her voice travels past my room and into the bathroom. “Packing can be very difficult due to limited space; if you do not do it in the right order.”
Hearing her collect objects reminds me I need my batman toothbrush and bubble gum toothpaste. My mother’s body passes by my room again and back into her own. I go collect my bathroom necessities. I add a roll of toilet paper to my case, because daddy always says, “You can never have enough of this lifesaver.” So I’ll pack it for him.
Thinking to myself, “What did Mommy mean about order…my order is working just fine.” So I place the toothpaste and brush on top of my pajamas and the toilet paper too.”Now where was I on my list?” drilling through my brain for that mental list….”Right…underwear!”
“Honey, are you going to say bye to your friends. We won’t be back for about 3 weeks. That can seem like a lifetime in kid years.”
“I did yesterday. I explained to them that it is not for forever. They said they would come say good bye before we leave” my friends are awesome, as I place the three pairs of each superhero & barbie underwear on top of the bathroom stuff.
I can’t believe Mommy gave me this tiny little suitcase to fill up with my most loved things. My new mental list has too much on it and it would have been impossible for me to fit it all inside so I did what Mommy keeps telling me…”Use that creative brain you have and solve problems.” Which is what I did. Making it possible for me to place my teddy bear: Mr. Pinky, coloring book and crayons, Lego, my three favorite books, a package of gram-crackers just in case I get hungry, and my tiny diary which holds my deepest secrets. Mommy told me to always keep my most loved items close to me…Feeling accomplished I close the lid and zip it shut.
I lay on my bed exhausted from my morning…
“Okay honey I am ready…” Mommy stops mid sentence as she enters my room.
I sit up expecting her match my same huge smile, but instead I see fear and contained anger. “Oh no…” I think to myself, ” Mommy’s mad again. “Mommy?”
Her face changes several times until she changes back into my beautiful mommy. “Honey I thought I told you I would pack.”
“I know, but I wanted to help you because you are the best mommy ever and I wanted to give you a break.” I run to her and squeeze her as her knees dig into my chest. I pull her towards my creation.
She stops before the suitcase, “what did you do?” Is all she can muster as she stares at the suitcase.
“Well you always tell me to use my brain before anything else, and I knew before I started packing that what I wanted to pack wouldn’t fit so I tore the bottom of the suitcase off,” which actually took a lot of work, “and taped a sheet to the bottom,” I used that tape that Daddy always uses when something breaks that he doesn’t have time to fix at the moment. That strong stuff; which is tough to rip off the roll. “Its kind of like the Mary Poppins bag, Mommy!”
She stands staring at that suitcase. She moves towards it and lifts the handle. She pulls it off the bed slowly.
I am crossing my fingers hoping that my Mary Poppins bag stays strong. It should because I used the entire roll of that strong Daddy tape. I watch as she begins to lift the case and sheet extension off the ground and…
“It held!” I squeal with excitement. I stand a bit taller proud of my invention.
Mommy places the case back on the floor, and plops on the bed. She opens her arms and I climb inside my castle of warmth and love. Footsteps sounds wander through the house and Daddy’s head pops into view. His face changes just like mommy’s did: from confused to angry to calm again. He sits down right besides us and hugs my Mommy and rubs my back.
“So it seems that our dreamer packed her own things this time.” Daddy says as he messes my hair and smiles a proud smile for me.
“She did. She did it for me. She wanted me to have a break.” Mommy says to him with a sweet smile.
“Did you fit everything in your case?” Daddy stands and lifts the handle and the case and sheet follow. “Oh…” his face changes to confused again…
I caught the smallest of look that Daddy gave Mommy. He looked to her ever so quickly that I almost missed her caring eyes saying something to him. It’s probably and old person thing that I won’t understand for a long time.
Daddy sets the case back down and sits back upon my bed. “So my creative genius used her brilliant mind again!”
“Yeah Daddy, I did.” My smile returning to my face. “Mommy told me to pack the most important things to me, and I knew what I wanted to pack wouldn’t fit in this case so I need it to be bigger.”
“Did you pack everything you need?” He asks as he squeezes the breath out of me.
“Yeah! After I change my first plan of packing; everything fits perfectly.” I squeeze him right back.
“Ellie! We are outside!!” voices flood through my window from outside.
“Can I?” I jump up and stop at the door.
“Go ahead.” They say together.
_12 years later_
“What’s this?” As I pull it out from the back of my closet.
“Oh wow! I haven’t seen that for years.” Mom says as she sits on my bed holding the object. “This was your suitcase when you were 6. We went on that vacation, and you decided to pack all your stuff yourself.”
Drilling into my brain trying to find that memory…”Right, My Mary Poppins bag! I extended it with a sheet to fit my most loved things inside.” I sit holding that suit case/sheet. “Its smaller than I remember. I would have never fit my original plan,” placing that memory on the bedside table.
“What was your original plan? It always made me wonder. But you were so young I didn’t know if you would remember.”
Smiling to myself as I sat down beside my mother. This time I embrace her in a loving hold. “I wanted to pack you and Dad. In my mind I needed a case big enough for you both to be comfortable for the trip; so that’s why I extend the case.”
“I never expected that. Your father would be so happy to know this if he were here.” Her small body falling into my own arms and remembering Dad in this moment I rub her back.
“But then I remembered I needed you to travel with me, and since the case was already extended I filled it with other things I loved.” Remembering opening that bag once we got to where we were going…everything sticking to each other because the toothpaste exploded; the toilet paper winding around everything; the gram-crackers powdered over everything. My poor mother…
“Oh…I’m sorry Mom for ruining your suitcase. I just realized I ruined it for any future use.”
“Oh, its fine dear. The thing is, I gave you that case because my mother gave it to me. She said it had been used as several different things before becoming a case; through our generations it has be changed into whatever someone needed. This is a traveling invention in our family. You are part of its history because do you know why…”
Remembering Dad…”A creative genius with a brilliant brain…” taking up that case again, and embracing it along with Mom.
“Yes, my creative inventor.”