Quite some time ago, (so long that I cannot begin to define it), I was wandering the aisles of one retail chain store or another and come across a most interesting item. At least, it seemed to be a the time. It was a popcorn bucket, you see. It had a round, slotted tray at the bottom, presumably so that all of the extra salt and buttery joy that sloughs off of said kernels would fall through the slots rather than creating a sludge of salty, buttery goodness that encases the dregs of the popcorn. (If there's such a thing as Too Salty or Too Buttery Popcorn dregs...well, that's news to me).
At the time, I thought it was pure genius. (I was also apparently forgetting the fact that Popcorn does not make it onto the snack list at our house very often; nor does it arrive in any other form than in a bag earmarked as Microwavable. Yes, certainly this bucket was made for savvy consumers. Just like me.
I purchased said "treasure" and, needless to say, it has held actual popcorn maybe one time in its partnership with our house. Maybe twice.
This is not to say that the bucket has gone unused. Mais, non. Where there are children, there will always be uses for an empty bucket. Always.
For awhile it was a hat. I wish I could say the girls were really young during that stage, but I would be lying.
Then in a sudden burst of musical genius, it was upturned and carted around as a traveling drum. "Mom! Listen to this" (bang, ba-bang-ba-bang, bang). "What do you think?" Oh. My. Such....sounds.
During one of the girls' rotating recurrences of Chipmunk Mania, it held the whole gang--including the Chippettes, with some roasted peanuts tossed in for good measure.
For the past week it has belonged solely to Caedance. It has sat nearby during our schooling. It's come with us on trips to the store. It even gets tucked into bed with her at night. And this time it carries a precious cargo: a small handful of Littlest Petshop figures; mainly those in the burrowing, nut eating variety.
She walks around with her bucket, quite nonchalantly. "Yes, this is my bucket of Pets. Thank you." Every once in awhile she stands very still and shakes it vigorously, nods, and verbally confirms, "Yes, they're all in there," before walking on her way again. The bucket gets set aside while she engages in some other activity or another, and is picked up and carted away again. Reunited.
It used to be an odd sight. Now it is quite ordinary. Caedance and her popcorn bucket. With Littlest Pet Shop pets inside.
Tonight, when I tuck her into bed with one more kiss and one more hug, I'll have to move the bucket aside. She'll worry that I'm taking it away. I'll reassure her that would not happen. Then I'll put it back once more. She'll smile and turn over, falling asleep quickly.
With a large popcorn bucket by her head. And small woodland creatures inside it.
And I'm completely okay with every bit of that.