What’s in your backpack? by Sarah Reinhard


I had forgotten, in the years between toddlers, about the backpack.

It was an easy oversight. I had an infant who was keeping me busy and a preschooler who was active, to say the least. When the ever-present backpack stopped coming everywhere with us, I didn’t notice it.

Until it showed up again, that is.

It happened quietly enough. I was traveling out-of-state, with a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a fellow adult (not my husband) who needed some assistance. We had two major airports to conquer. The backpack seemed like a good idea.

And it was.

The problem, if you could call it a problem, is that the backpack, or “packpack,” as she calls it, has never left. It comes with us wherever we go, whether we take a vehicle or a wagon or simply step outside to the back yard. In it, you might find a favorite blankie (properly seasoned with dirt, spit, and smell), a herd of small horses, a baby doll, seven pink Legos, a few markers, and a coloring book. You might find, additionally, kitchen utensils, an old container of we-don’t-know-anymore, and an unmated sock.

My five-year-old just rediscovered her backpack on a recent trip. I can see the glint forming in her eyes, and I wonder if it means we will begin hauling everything precious and important with us to the dentist, the grocery, and the sandbox. I had only just convinced her that we are not, in fact, transient people, that the large white structure where we sleep, also known as a house, will keep her valuables safe and sound.

The truth is, I see a bit of myself in my girls. In their obsession with keeping their most important possessions always within reach, I see a reflection of my own need to have my phone and my iPod in my pockets at all times. I have to wonder what God thinks, seeing me lug my worries and my cares around, despite His promise to take care of me better than I can imagine.

What’s in that backpack I’m carrying around? What’s in the bag that I’m carting from place to place, thinking I have to bear its weight all on my own? What’s keeping me from letting go, from letting Him?

Copyright 2010 Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Triple Take, from Our Sunday Visitor.

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