That Old Blue Sleeping Bag is Story #FMF


Telah braid

I sent her off to her first sleepover with my old-ish, blue sleeping bag.

It’s the sleeping bag we bought at Cape Union Mart in Cape Town aeons ago, preparing for my first trip to Germany.

I was 16.

She’s 8 and she’s excited. She’s been preparing for two days for this sleepover. And her friend’s mom asked that we bring a sleeping bag.

So, there it is, bundled into the back of the van, along with her zebra and pink suitcase and pillow pet.

I got to drive her to school this morning. The other four wanted to take the bus, so I was happy for the two of us to have some time by ourselves. I make sure she knows our phone numbers and how to dial. We talk about safety. Again.

Just yesterday I read in a book that we need to tell our children more stories about where they come from. How they belong.

“The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.” –The Secrets of Happy Families

The blue sleeping bag, I think. I need to tell her about the blue sleeping bag.

Did you know that was Mommy’s sleeping bag?

She knew.

I tell her how it traveled with me on my first overseas adventure to Germany.

I tell her how it traveled with me to Taiwan.

It’s made for big adventures!

She laughs.

And then I tell her about the night I packed up my stuff in Taipei and left my boyfriend and piled my backpack and this same blue sleeping bag on the back of my scooter and went to find a safe place to sleep.

I found a bunkbed in in a hostel down near the city center. Me and that blue sleeping bag.

She asks many questions and I wonder, Maybe I said too much, especially right before school?

We talk about how it’s never ok for men to hit women, or women to hit men.

But I want her to know what lines the walls of our family story. How not everything about our story is always rosy or easy or fun. How sometimes you crumble down a set of stairs and then you take what you have and you find a safe place and a blue sleeping bag to sleep in.

And how God can take that moment and turn it into where we are now.

It comforts her. Gives her courage.

I see it on her face.


This is my first time to post a Five-minute Friday creation on my blog. I am new to this and new to the fun prompt created by fellow lioness Lisa-Jo Baker.



  • Schotzy

    What a wonderful post.. It makes me so glad that I did much the same thing with our one and only daughter… share our story with her and how she fits into it. espcially as we adopted her form S Korea when she was 3 months old…. I know your daughter had much to tell you about her sleeping bag adventures when she got back home…. God bless!

    • idelette

      How lovely! I love that it’s good to share these stories and build into our families.

      Btw, we have two students from S Korea visiting us at the moment and every time my heart gets opened anew to this country. I’ve lived in Asia, but sadly have never visited S Korea. Not yet, anyway!

  • Kelley Nikondeha

    *tears* Love that you shared the sleeping bag with her and its storied history. She knows your strong and she will be nourished by your strength, your stories. Your words move my heart, friend.

    • idelette

      Thank you for reading, my friend. And encouraging me here. You, too, embody encouragement for me. xoxo

  • Annie

    I love that you focused on the courage of encouragement! What a beautiful moment with your daughter.

    • idelette

      Thank you for being here, Annie! When I thought about the core of the word, it’s about giving heart strength to another … and this was the story that wanted to be told today.

      So appreciate you reading.

  • Nicole A. Joshua

    You are such a great mama, Idelette. I hope I will be able to follow in your mama bear footsteps when it’s my turn :-)

  • makeda

    You are such a good momma. Love this story and the legacy you are leaving inside your children’s hearts. Hugs to you friend.

  • Richelle Wright

    really powerful story. thank you for sharing it here.

  • Janis Cox

    A great story. I hope her sleep over was great fun. Thanks for coming to visit me at He Cares for Us. Telling kids the truth helps them trust you. (well most of the truth :))

  • Bev Murrill

    Idelette, what a lovely way to share your story with your girl. When you did that, you really did give your heart strength to her. She does not know it now but what you said and how you said it will form the nascent awareness in her own heart that love doesn’t hit, and it will stay with her forever.

    And I’m glad I now know that part of who you are too.

  • Cara Strickland

    Oh Idelette, thank you, dear one, for this.
    When I read the bit about hearing about successfully working families, I wanted to check out. No amount of stories will help me see the success in my family story, but then, your sleeping bag, that helped me. And since we’re family, you and I, I’m going to allow that story to tell me that it’s all right to walk away from abuse.
    Love to you, darling, Idelette. xoxo.

  • Alia_Joy

    My kids always want to hear the stories that make us family, that bind us together through years and experiences. I love that you’ve shared those things with her. I’ve often wondered how much to share about certain things in my past and at different ages, I’ve shared different things but I do believe that and often hope that they’ll learn some of those lessons from my life and not have to learn them on their own. I loved the “I Am From” synchroblog. I want to do one just for each of my children, specific to their lives.

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