We’re in the final countdown for our move.  July 5th the moving minions show up to wrap everything in bubble wrap and cardboard.  July 6th they cart all the boxes off to long-term storage and our Big Adventure officially begins.  Each of us is dealing with this impending move in our own delightful way, resulting in a household where everyone is just an itsy-bitsy bit TENSE and maybe just a tad SURLY.  If we don’t all kill each other first, I’m sure we’re going to have a great time exploring Abu Dhabi.

So as part of the pre-move sifting and sorting, I sat with Caleb the other day and helped him go through his desk. We had two boxes: a big one for storage and a small one for treasures he wanted to take with him to Abu Dhabi.

Into the big box went ceramic objects (a bowl, a snake, a plate) he’d made with our friend Nancy, various decorative boxes filled with coins, a Samurai coloring book, a balsa wood pirate.

And a bag of rocks.  “These rocks are not my important rocks,” he said. “My important rocks I sent already to Abu Dhabi. These rocks can stay here.”

Then he rummaged around and held up a small Ziploc baggie. “But these are my most precious rocks. I saved these. I want to get one of those rock polishers for these rocks.”

“These rocks” are foraged primarily from the driveways of people who live in the Easthampton neighborhood where our friends the Horwiches live.  When we visited them last month, Caleb and I went rock hunting (and rescued any number inch worms who would otherwise have died a squashy death in the middle of the road).  Caleb loves sparkly rocks, which I imagine cost a pretty penny per pound. Thank you, Easthampton neighbors. I am now going to be carrying pieces of your driveway around the world to Arabia.

The small bag of rocks went into the “bringing with” box and we continued sorting.  Then Caleb dropped to his knees and started scrabbling behind the desk like some kind of truffle-hunting pig.

Triumphant, he stood up, brandishing a stick. “My favorite stick! I thought I lost it!”

Then he held up his other favorite stick. “This stick is my worm-digger. I love this stick.” (We do not dig for worms in our family, by the way. Never have, probably never will. We are a worm-fearful people.)

I tried, really, I did. I said, “There are probably great sticks in Abu Dhabi.” I said, “We’re going to be in London—there are great sticks in London.” I said, “Why don’t we leave these sticks here, in storage, and they’ll be waiting for you when we get back.” (I was, of course, lying through my teeth, because of course I intended to chuck those sticks into the garbage.)

What I said was utterly irrelevant. His face crumpled, tears rolled, mouth went completely upside down. “I WANT MY STICKS!”

I gave in. We agreed to wrap the sticks in plastic bags and put them in his suitcase.

Which means that, yes, I will be bringing sticks and stones to the Middle East.  I’m sure they will be infinitely superior to any indigenous sticks and stones, but I’m a little unclear about how to declare these priceless treasures on our customs forms.

I think calling them “security sticks” could get us into trouble, considering our destination.  What about “xanax branches?”