When I was growing up, my parents made a big deal about me bringing home a good report card. It caused a celebration, the giving of hugs all-around, and concluded with me getting to pick out any toy I wanted from Wallgreens.
All the hard work of an entire 9-week marking period, including late nights of homework, weekends of intense studying, and calculated focus during class would result in a big payoff for me. Wallgreens had hundreds of toys, aisles full of large boxes of them, shining in the florescent light. And I could have anything I wanted. My 6th grade self was so excited.
And my parents were so surprised. From the entire store inventory, this is what chose:
It was a huge, goofy, rubbery, green bug with floppy, gangly legs. That's all I wanted. I had searched the whole store over and had concluded that nothing would make me happier than this. And so we bought it.
Since then, I'd like to think that I've grown up just a little. But I'd never want to grow up so much that the big green bug wouldn't make me smile. So, throughout my high school and college years, the big green bug became a gag toy. I'd tuck it beneath a pillow on my parents' bed or hide it inside my mother's oven mitt.
My parents would make the bug show up in my stuff, too. I'd find it in my clean laundry, stuffed in the arm of my bath towel, hiding my rain boot, or its leg dangling out a pocket in my handbag.
Sometimes, if one of us helped the bug find a particularly good hiding place, years will go by before the bug would be noticed and resurrected again. For instance, the bug recently spent two years sitting in a lemonade pitcher that I only use on occasion. My dad had stuffed it in there one Summer, and I didn't discover it until recently when I was cleaning out my cupboards.
So, the bug is at it again. I tossed it into my mother's purse recently. And, just last week, the big, friendly bug appeared in my diaper bag.
What a fun little tradition. I think we'll get Liam in on the fun soon. After all, little boys are supposed to have bugs in their pockets. :)