St. Patrick’s Day was last week which means that green is the color of the month at preschool and most lessons have revolved around this holiday. This has all been a little confusing for Eliott, who continues to remind me that when they put blue ice cubes and yellow ice cubes in the water “it turned green, but it still tasted like water.” Never mind the fact that when it comes to clothes, this house swims in a sea of pink and purple. Imagine me trying to convince my child that if she didn’t wear any green she would get pinched. (We compromised on a green hair clip.) Never mind that Eliott says “punched” when she means “pinched” and refuses to accept the fact that they are different:
“Kelsey punched me today at school, Mommy. She had to move her owl from green to yellow.”
“She punched you? Why?!”
“Because I wanted the purple scooter. So she came up and just punched my arm, like this.” (Demonstrates a pinch on arm.)
“Oh. Eliott, that’s called a pinch, not a punch. Kelsey pinched you.”
“Well, I call it punched. Don’t worry about it.”
She keeps asking for “that ABC cereal with the marshmallows, but you eat it with no milk.” Should I be concerned that my 4-year-old is ignorant about Lucky Charms? She has also announced at least once a day that she’s going out in the backyard to pick leprechauns, to which I now reply, “If you find one with four leaves, keep it, that’s lucky.”
So here’s the part where I segue into a story all about me and not my daughter. It goes a little something like this. I am lucky. I am not one of those people who says, “I never win anything.” Because I do win things. With some regularity, actually.
I frequently reach underneath my chair at retreats and conferences to find that smiley face sticker denoting I get to take home one of the table decorations. The one and only time I bought a lottery ticket I happened to find a dollar in the gas station parking lot on my way in the door. I bought one ticket and walked out with $5. (I figured I should quit while I’m ahead.) In junior high and high school I had my radio permanently tuned in to the Christian radio station and I was probably one of about two-hundred listeners. Anytime there was a call-in-and-win (I had the downstairs phone speed dial programmed) I called. And I frequently won. I mostly won random cassette tapes (Michael W. Smith and Petra both come to mind), a few CD’s (before we even owned a CD player, so I’m sure many of these remain unopened in some box marked “Claire’s Stuff” in my parent’s basement), books, and the occasional pair of concert tickets. I know that at at least two of these small concerts, my name was drawn out of a fishbowl for tickets to another, bigger concert, one at the Colosseum, one at the Opera House. And I’ve been given free band t-shirts at more shows than I can count (just for asking, usually).
But my luck doesn’t end with free contemporary Christian paraphernalia. At my father’s suggestion, I opened my Roth-IRA the day I turned 20. As a point of reminder and nothing more, I contribute every year on my birthday. Not that it matters to me for this long-term investment (I consider this a savings account that I throw money into and forget about much like my babysitting money), but it turns out that the lowest point on the market every year has been sometime between August and September. My birthday is August 15th. Finally, as a matter of habit only, and by no more prompting at the time I began it than the fact that it was something I recognized and knew I liked, I have been investing exactly half of my yearly contributions directly into gold. Lucky lucky Leprechauns of war, democracy, and the demise of the greenback dollar.
So anyway, about a month ago I couldn’t find the spare set of keys to my car. This didn’t seem like a big deal because we had just moved, things were generally disorganized, and when John drives my car I’m usually in the passenger seat. Nevertheless, he was annoyed. I had checked every single purse, pocket, and diaper bag for a week. Nothing. Then one morning I was running errands with the girls. It was rainy, I recall. A big black lady in a big black SUV was behind me, flashing her lights at me for a couple blocks. Of course I’m thinking, “My lights are ON you crazy…” We came to a red-light and she’s beeping her horn and waving her hands around her face like I left my baby in the car-seat on the roof. So I quickly scan the car trying to figure out exactly what was left on the roof. Coffee mug, nope. Sunglasses, no. Children, no. Was my gas cap open? Was my trunk open? No and no. Finally, she’s motioning me to roll down my window. I do. I very awkwardly crane my head out. She yells (which echos off nearby businesses): “There’s a KEY. IN. Your. TRUNK!”
YES! (Double fist-pumps to the sky.) The missing keys!!
Who knows how long I had been tooling around town with a direct means of car theft readily available to anyone who should so notice it. I mean, don’t just break in and take my GPS. Here. Take my CAR. When I told him, John wasn’t even angry. His response: “That figures. Chalk it up to another one of your lucky life things. Is there any way you can channel this luck into something more productive?”