My kids accompanied me to the post office, and they balked at getting out of the car.
I told them they had to come in, and they rolled their eyes.
The post office housed a handful of people who weren’t in the mood, I could tell from their mirthless stares, for small boys. But as a paying customer, I silently recalled my breastfeeding mantra: “Anyplace I have a legal right to be, I have a legal right to do this.” I don’t think the law covers giggling children who want to rearrange postal products, but I tried not to think about such technicalities.
As each person before us in line approached the counter, explained their purpose, and paid, the boys grew more silly, more wiggly, more frustrating. Not their fault. Nobody likes standing in line. But such is life, occasionally, and they were going from play time to more play time, so they needed to learn to occupy themselves when bored.
And then eight-year-old Peanut spotted a coin near the front desk. He lunged across the room and prostrated himself on the low-pile industrial carpet hoping his treasure wasn’t a mirage.
I asked him to please get up.
His brother joined him.
I asked them to please get off the floor.
They wriggled around, quietly. Intently.
I asked them to please, please come stand by me.
The four-year-old grunted a bit, pressed for air as he snuffled along on his belly, covering himself in decades of federal-service filth, “We’re finding money!” I tried not to laugh. They’re so darned delicious and I so need bits of the unusual and ridiculous in my life.
And suddenly the room full of grousers smiled. I looked around. They were happy the little urchins were calm. I hated to admit it, but I was, too. It was disgusting to watch, and it was embarrassing to spend the rest of the day with abhorrently dirty children.
But Peanut made 78 cents, and Butterbean earned 35 cents, just by slithering all over a post office carpet for a few minutes.
At this rate we’re going to have their college funds fully loaded by December.
Look for us at a post office near you.