“Here, Mom.” An empty candy wrapper appears in my hand, placed there by my 2 year old. It is quickly joined by another from my 9 year old. Other times, it’s a sucker stick, soda can, or previously chewed bubble gum.
I admit, sometimes this drives me crazy. I want to yell, “Just find a place for it!”
But I know better. I know the “place” they will put it will be on the ground, or stuck into the crack between my car seats. And that would drive me crazy too.
Walking through the park with my kids, I see trash littering the ground. Candy papers and popsicle sticks. I see a little boy, trailing behind his mama, drop his M&M bag on the ground. Mama turns around and tells him to come on, but leaves the candy bag.
My son runs over and picks it up. He looks up at me and asks “Throw trash?” I lift him up so he can reach the trash can and he tosses it in. See, I’m not always a human garbage magnet. The kids will throw things away themselves if they know where a trash can is.
I’m happy they don’t want to throw their trash on the ground, and that they are willing to pick up after others as well.
So, even though I walk around with sticky fingers and trash wadded in my palm; even though I am constantly in search of a trash can so that I can relieve my pockets of the refuse within; I am glad that my children hand me their trash. And when sticky fingers press used chewing gum into my palm, and I want to say, “Eww, go throw that away,” instead, I can smile and say “Thank you.”
Do your children use you as their personal trash collector? What is the yuckiest thing you have ever been handed?