It’s always something during the bedtime routine; if you have kids you know this is true. Last night our eldest daughter Braelyn who is 6 was adamant that we had to set a leprechaun trap before she could go to bed. She was proceeding to tell my wife Kristi that leprechauns are real like elves, and therefore we needed a trap to catch one. 6 year old logic, just go with it. To hurry lovingly encourage the bedtime process I told her I would help build a trap so she and her sister would go to bed. She quickly snatched her younger sister Lillie’s change purse off her nightstand. After some short protests from the younger child Braelyn assured her it was needed for bate. Lillie not to be unreasonable realized that this was indeed a worthy cause and was willing to sacrifice the change purse in exchange for catching said mythical creature. I found a small pink fabric tote, relocated the contents within and set it upside down with the bate underneath. We were looking for a stick to hold the box up until it was triggered by the small green gold hoarding man(not creepy at all). Braelyn suggested a fairy wand but was unable to locate it, then Lillie who is 4 by the way offered up a head band. As she explained it looked like a rainbow and the leprechaun would be sure to be fooled by the loot under the rainbow, which was under the not so suspicious pink box.
The trap was set and the girls were off to bed. Rejoice. Soon after they were in bed I though that I would have to come up with something to put under that box for the morning. I’m for holidays as much as the next guy, but this whole magical surprise for Saint Patrick’s Day is a new one for me. But this is coming from the guy who was exhausted after moving elf on the shelf twice. I delayed the inevitable and set out in our small town to find something like a stuffed leprechaun toy to trigger the trap. By the time I psyched my self up to go, and after my wife told me that laying on the couch wasn’t going to get it done I left after 10PM. At this point my open store options were Wal-Mart, our local grocery store, and the gas station. I visited all in that order.
My suspicions were confirmed that Saint Patrick’s Day is not a child-celebrated holiday with all the trappings like, Easter, Christmas, or Halloween. In fact besides a few green colored cookies at the door there was not a single thing at the store that would work. And yes, I looked for the gold chocolate coins that are usually in the Easter candy. I was only able to locate blue and green coins, and that clearly would not work for leprechaun loot to say the least. I mean come on; I wasn’t that desperate yet. I left the first store defeated and then on to the grocery.
The grocery had even less than the first store. I must have looked great on the security camera’s scouring the grocery store at night. After a thorough store search I finally settled upon a bag of Rolos. They are wrapped in gold, and they are chocolate, win-win. At that moment I decided I would look like a crazy person if I came to the store late at night to only procure a bag of cylinder shaped chocolates filled with caramel goodness. We always need cereal so I grabbed a box of Raisin Bran, yup living large. When I got to the cashier to check out she quickly blew my cover. “So how does this work? You put the Rolos in the Raisin Bran?” She was on to me. After I sarcastically told her yes that how we do in the Henry house I quickly recanted and told her the whole story. She laughed and thought it was awesome. She then asked why I didn’t get the gold chocolate coins from Easter. Ah ha! I already thought of that and proceeded to tell her that blue and green coins would not make a pot of “gold”. I told her, yes we are those crazy parents. She said it was cute and that I would miss doing small crazy things like this when they get older. This grocery has a local bank branch counter by the door. Conveniently it was decorated for this green festive holiday. I’m not going to lie, I thought about “borrowing” a few to stage this awesome display of leprechaun lunacy. I resisted and made my way home.
But before I got home I was feeling low that my hunt resulted in such a lame find, so I stopped at the gas station. It must have been getting late for this to seem like a viable option. Once again the gas station had even less to choose from, a dismal selection of Easter candy, and a few Valentine confections that were clearly not showed love last month. Sorry Cupid. Once again security probably looks great with me walking around the store looking at every shelf as if there will be leprechaun paraphernalia neatly tucked away in between the chips and beef jerky, maybe by the roller dogs or tobacco products! I hesitated and thought I better buy something to make it look like I didn’t come in to commit thievery. Luckily a few other people came in (probably also looking for little green men) so I was able to make a beeline for the door.
I returned home and searched for something to use as a pot. I thought perhaps I could be crafty and whip one up, who am I kidding, I’m no Clayton Eley Martha Stewart. I found a small bowl shaped toy and loaded it with Rolos. I even resisted the urge to eat one, only because I ate a egg shaped peppermint patty (my fav!) before I left to fuel my journey. I found a leftover green clover shaped piece of paper from a craft and wrote a note from the leprechaun. “Dear Braelyn & Lillie, good try but I am too tricky to get caught. Enjoy me pot of Gold” – Mr. Leprechaun I placed them under the box and removed the highly advanced rainbow shaped trigger mechanism. I then crawled into bed, success.
The next morning at 5 AM I heard my wife telling Braelyn that it was 5 AM and that she needed to get back in bed. Braelyn told her she heard noises coming from the box and needed to check the trap. She reluctantly went back to bed but not for long. She soon woke up her younger sister. I mean this was like Christmas morning after all, but in March! They discovered the loot and note and proceeded to come yell in my face about it all as I was still trying to sleep. All morning they were a buzz about it. I mean you would think the really truly believed it all.
Today I couldn’t help but think how ridiculous it all was. I mean after all my 6 year old wanted to trap a leprechaun in her room and in reality ended up sending me on a late night leprechaun hunt. I thought about what the cashier said and the many other people that have told me how fast children grow up. Honestly my wife is usually the one who plays along with the little fantasies like this. Truthfully I blame her and the whole stupid Elf on a Shelf for the entire ordeal. In the end I didn’t find a leprechaun, just some diabetes educing treasure to tuck away. The real treasure was something so much greater. Something seemingly so small was such a big deal for my daughters. I doubt they will remember it years from now, but that’s not the point. The real treasure in life is the small things.
I so easily get so busy in the day to day that if I’m not careful I miss out all the small joys that come from parenting. It is easy to feel like I’m a failure if I don’t provide some over the top family experiences, vacations, or monumental moments. The reality is the small stuff is huge to them. Just taking a few moments out of my long and busy day to do something so silly created a moment that was better than most anything I could have planned for. At the end of the day the small things really are the greatest treasure. I know one day they will be grown and If I were to recount this story they would probably think I was crazy. But for now I’ll be looking for small moments where I can win their heart for that truly is the greatest treasure of all.