bobby pins on bathroom counter They're carelessly scattered in obscure places, "crumbs" my children rudely leave behind.  I frown and think mean thoughts whenever I find them.

When they were toddlers, it was a trail of Cheerios or Gold Fish.  And juice box straw cellophane…yes, those, I remember.  For some reason they think it's perfectly acceptable to throw straw wrappers on the floor or on sofa cushions or next to the trashcan.  Perhaps because they're almost invisible they think I won't see them?  

Since I still buy Kool-aid Jammers and Minutemaid Coolers, those blasted wrappers can still be found littering our home.  

If your kid has braces and wears rubberbands, you already know how those show up in cracks and corners.  A friend of mine once informed me I'd be vacuuming them for years after braces were removed.  I believe him.

Those "crumbs" mostly fall from the hands of my boys.  But it's my daughter whose lack of regard surprises me; she's typically so very conscientious.

I find bobby pins all over the floor, all over our house, in places that don't make sense.  There's rarely a laundry load without a pin or two.  I grumble and collect them and wonder why in THE world she can't just take them out in the bathroom or her bedroom.  Sometimes I'll leave a pile for her to find, a passive aggressive move on my end that serves no purpose at all.  She doesn't notice.

She's a water drinker, which is a good thing, right?  But she has this habit of re-filling a glass and moving on, leaving it on the kitchen counter or table–or mercy–sometimes right beside the sink, and I don't know if she plans on drinking it later, or already has another bottled filled and being sipped in hand now.  

So one day I call her out on it.  

It's not a big deal, I don't know why it bugs me for goodness sakes, but that doesn't stop me from asking why she has this need to leave a trail of bobby pins all over the house and water glasses everywhere.  I throw in a comment about the boys and their snack wrappers and rubberbands and probably their over-use of bathroom towels for good measure.

As the words free my lips I hear how stupid and nit-picky they sound; my girl has never been insolent or untrustworthy and THIS is what I have to complain about?!

So she smiles and takes a step toward me, and Lord knows I'm in trouble now.  "One day," she begins, "We'll all be away and at college and you'll miss my water bottles on the counter and all the laundry and…."

Her words find their mark and tears fill my eyes and the bomb is diffused.

And now when I find bobby pins or full water glasses and sometimes even gross rubberbands for braces, I frown but for a different reason.

She leaves for college in five weeks.

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