I found this cute little blue and white denim tote for $3 at a thrift store. It was a lot of fun finding 50 cent plastic necklaces and 5 cent bracelets for super cheap at S.A.S. - the local warehouse fabric store. If you are up to it, you can have the pleasure of diving into vast, musty piles of yardage, ribbon and whatnot per the dozen or by the pound. They accept only cash. Never enter with children.
I bought one yard of a bright floral polyester and cut it up at home into 4 little scarves. Digging into my costume closet, I selected toddler-sized baseball caps and little girl's frilly hats. A quick pass of needle and thread dressed them up with a cool batman logo or a silk flower. At a Goodwill 50% off everything day, I plucked 3 miniature handbags from a sloppy bin of purses. I found a great Phoenix Suns basketball jersey in a size 4; perfect for quickly "dressing-up" a little boy over his Sunday clothes. I packed everything into the denim bag. Attached to the handle in a smart red ribbon was a laminated tag identifying it as "Our Nursery Dress-up Bag".
If you've ever worked the nearly 2 hour exhausting block of an L.D.S. church nursery catering to x number of little children aged 18 months to 3 years old, you can appreciate what kind of miracle bag o'tricks this could be! I donated it. That was 2 weeks ago.
Today as I entered the church foyer an hour early for choir practice, there on a foyer table was one of my little baseball caps. I felt uneasy in my stomach; what had happened to the Nursery dress-up things? Whenever you donate something, you really don't have the expectation to follow the use of said item or items...but the discarded Batman cap was an ominous beginning to the life of a dress-up bag.
Finally, 2 hours later I was anxiously watching for the nursery leader. The recently cleaned and re-organized nursery was a chaotic mess. Apparently the cabinet had been left un-locked, and the Spanish-speaking ward got into our things. It took a while to excavate the dress-up bag...gutted. All of the plastic jewelry was gone. Every single thing.
Of all the items in the bag, the plastic jewelry was by far the least expensive and represented the least investment of time and preparation. But its theft left me struggling with fluctuating feelings of betrayal and compassion. Of course little hands would gleefully extract those necklaces and consider them a treasured find. I wondered about the mother who would eventually notice a daughter coming home a little more accessorized than when she left - FOR CHURCH. Yeah, that's what was bugging me. It wasn't the first time something had 'disappeared', and others had commented under their breath that it was probably the Spanish ward whodunnit.
I told myself it was ridiculously inconsequential. For $4 or $5 I could replace all the missing jewelry. Most of the other things were still in the bag. It was my gift to give, unsolicited, and I had done so gladly. Tricky business, this - sharing the same worship space and still squaring off in our respective corners of suspicion. I wished I could explain to the Spanish ward how much nicer it is to share things and keep them tidy where they belong so everyone could enjoy them. But then I remembered, the bag was originally tucked away into a cabinet they could not unlock. I am not the nursery leader, and I was only responding to an open donation drive for "the nursery". Honestly, I hadn't really thought about which ward it was supposed to be for.
If I was in the giving mood, maybe I should have made two dress-up bags.
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