Do you ever wonder how some traditions start? You don’t exactly set out to create one, but before long, you find yourself doing the behavior so often that it becomes a ritual.
One day my daughter and I were at the ATM. I punched in my passcode and waited for my money to pop out. On this particular day, the ATM was rather slow. Slow enough for me to look down on the ground and see something glinting in the sun. I bent down to investigate and found…a paperclip!
An out of place paperclip isn’t particularly exotic, at least to an adult. In the eyes of my 9 year old daughter, finding that paperclip was as exciting as finding a precious gem.
Why was that paperclip there? Did someone drop it? Could we keep it? The questions spilled out of her mouth faster than I could answer them. To be clear, my daughter has seen plenty of paperclips before and we own several hundred (or is it several thousand?) at home…but this paperclip found out in the wild, with nary a piece of paper in sight, was something special.
Being a sport, I let her keep the paperclip. She held onto her prized possession like she had won the lottery. As she was chattering away, my next question stopped her cold, “Do you think there are any more paper clips to be found?”
Oh my! The prospect of MORE paperclips was overwhelming. We spent the next several minutes searching the sidewalk in front of the ATM. My daughter raced back and forth on her hands and knees like a prospector searching for gold. By the time we left, we had found FOUR more paperclips. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a happier kid that morning.
Fast forward a week or so until I was in need of more cash. As I often do when I’m trying to remember various errands, I said to my daughter, “Remind me to stop at the ATM.” Her reply, “Ooh! We get to go paperclip hunting. How many do you think we’re going to find today?”
It’s hard to predict how many paper clips we might happen on. Some days there are a few, other days none at all. Our all-time record was 17 paper clips & we turned our haul into matching bracelets.
On more than one occasion, a passerby has asked what we lost. If only the person understood that what I lost is an errand I used to dislike & instead found a special time hunting paperclips with my best girl.