In Defense of Too Much ‘Stuff’ for Kids

I had the old Peter, Paul, and Mary song about leaving on a jet plane running through my head as I surveyed my daughter’s bags.

They were packed, alright, and she was ready to go. Only there would be no plane. We were taking my car.

And this was no lengthy adventure worthy of a folk song. She was going to a house just two towns over.

For one night.

It looked more like she was moving out. There was the hooded blanket she can’t sleep without (it’s top, with a unicorn horn and mane, doubling as an instant portal to fantasy land). Her pillow pet (also a unicorn, naturally). Beside them was a bag overflowing with the currency of 7-year-old girls everywhere: Littlest Pet Shops.

Not familiar? Count yourself lucky, er, I mean, imagine cartoonish animal figures cast in plastic and dosed in pastels. Then multiply that image by 1,000. Now you get a sense of what was in that bag.
Notice I haven’t even gotten to the necessities? They were there too, a bag with jammies and undies and her toothbrush. 

I wasn’t sure which I should worry about more: that my 7-year-old was already flying the coop or that the sleepover mom would take one look at the invading army at her doorstep and run.

I need not have worked myself up. Sleepover mom got it. She is, after all, mother of her own 7-year-old. Hence the sleepover.

She looked at me, laden down with more purple and sparkles than I’ve ever worn in my life, and laughed. I did too. I looked ridiculous.

But as I handed over my daughter’s bags, I couldn’t help but ruminate on the “stuff” we accumulate in our lives.

It’s easy to dismiss it all as the trappings of materialism. But when a 7-year-old packs her “valuables” for a sleepover, suddenly “stuff” becomes something else. It’s her life, packed up in little bags.

What’s your view on kids and STUFF?

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