By Paige Tucker

Keeping track of all my stuff has always been a full-time job for me. I’m not the best at organization. At any given time, I’m likely missing at least three things. They usually turn up, but it sure is frustrating.

Add my little Julia Reynolds to the mix, and I’m now responsible for keeping up with her (got that one down thank goodness!) and HER things. You know how that works. When they’re tiny, it’s about five million items out of necessity. And now at age three, it’s her treasures.

To make life interesting, each new day brings a newly minted treasure. Often it’s something obvious, like a new toy or a gift from someone. But it could just as easily be something totally random she hasn’t seen in a while from the bottom of the toy box.

An “Ulsa” (read: Queen Elsa from Frozen) purse is a prized possession right now. Her sweet friend Charlotte gave her the round, sparkly blue accessory after her princess birthday party and months after receiving the party favor, Julia Reynolds is still stuffing it to the gills and taking it everywhere she goes. 

Earlier this summer, Julia Reynolds and I were in Hilton Head with a childhood turned mom friend, Jennifer, and her two children. We arrived to dreary, wet weather and decided to forego the beach and have an early dinner in Harbour Town.

We walked around in the drizzle for a while after dinner, trying to let our children burn off some energy before bedtime. We checked out the toy store, got an ice cream treat and even hopped on the resort trolley to fulfill their Daniel Tiger dreams.

We headed home after a few loops, high-fiving about our successful first evening of a vacation where the kids outnumbered the adults. Just as we walked in the door, Julia Reynolds asked for her Elsa purse. A quick scan of the condo and a sweaty search of the car confirmed my fears it hadn’t made it home with us.

Calls to the toy store and ice cream shop produced no solid information, so it was back in the car for me. I was counting my blessings we hadn’t lost something truly special like her baby pillow or doll Lilly but was admittedly still a little concerned.

  I saw one of the trolleys just as I pulled into the resort. I knew I’d left our dinner leftovers behind by mistake, so I thought maybe the purse was with that! I ran through the rain waving my arms like a crazy lady to flag down the trolley driver. To my surprise, I found the leftovers! Don’t worry; those went straight in the trash but no dice on the princess pouch.

Thankfully, I found a super convenient parking space and continued the wild goose chase. Turning on my reporter skills, I checked my phone and scrolled through the pictures we’d taken throughout the night to see when my daughter last had the purse.

Something told me to go in the first shop along the path. We hadn’t been inside that store, but Jennifer and I had snapped a picture of the children in a little wooden toy boat right out front.

  As I was waiting for the salesclerk to finish with a customer, I spotted it on the counter. Shining like a beacon in the night was Julia Reynolds’ beloved “Ulsa” purse! I couldn’t believe my luck! Someone had found it in the little boat and turned it in. (God bless them!) I thanked him for saving it for us, and then drove back to the condo, relieved and thankful for a toddler-friendly resolution.   

I kid you not; the very next night baby girl was leaving the purse here, there, and everywhere, blissfully unaware of her mommy’s sweat and angst the night before. You’d better believe I wasn’t letting it out of my sight this time around!

As the school break winds down (let’s be honest, it’s still very much summer according to the calendar and the thermometer!), perhaps it’s a good time to minimize and organize to have a better chance of keeping up with ALL THE THINGS. I’ll get that on my To-Do list… as soon as I find it. Happy Back to School!

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After twelve years in local news, most recently as evening anchor of NBC 26, Paige Tucker is now a work-at-home mom and freelance journalist. She produces two series for NBC 26 TV, First Responders and 26 Women Today, and you can see those stories on Tuesday nights. Paige and her husband have one daughter, Julia Reynolds, who is three years old.

This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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