I walked into Maddie’s room at daycare, and my eyes quickly scanned the scene. I spotted Maddie at a small table with her friends and headed in that direction. “Maddie, your mom is here,” one of her friends announced. Maddie stood and turned to walk toward me. My smile quickly faded and my brows furrowed.
“Maddie, what’s wrong?” I asked when I saw her tears. “What happened?”
She ran towards me and buried her face in my shoulder. I heard her quick breaths between sobs. I squeezed her tight and looked questioningly at her teacher. The teacher shrugged and looked as confused as I felt.
“Maddie?” I asked gently.
Her words came quick and full of tears. “They’re making leprechaun traps and they’re gonna try to catch the leprechaun so they can find out where his pot of gold is and they’re using tape and they’re setting traps and I don’t want them to catch him and trap him because I really like leprechauns…” She wept into my shoulder.
I didn’t know what to say, so I just listened and tried to nod sympathetically. Surely, something else must have happened. Surely, she must be hungry or tired or worried about something unspoken. Surely, this can’t really be about the injustice of catching a leprechaun.
“Ssshh, it’s okay, Maddie. Take a deep breath. Come on, sweetie,” I took her hand and led her towards her cubby to gather her coat and backpack. “Let’s go get Katie, and we’ll go home and play outside for a bit.”
Maddie wiped her wet face and nodded solemnly.
Was this really about a leprechaun?
I’ll never know. We never spoke of the leprechaun again.