The other day I talked about how sometimes a lesson is learned in the moments where we are losing it. I told you about how Marilyn misplaced/lost Luna the beloved stuffed animal while we were at Target, on a day when all I wanted to do was be at home in sweatpants. (I’d link you to that blog post, but I suck at this whole thing, so just go back a few entries and pretend I linked you, okay?)
But it all ended up okay, right? Marilyn sobbed and heaved and snotted and sniffled, I had a light bulb moment about a temporary replacement and all the world seemed a little more sunshiny because of our positive spin on a crappy turn of events. End scene.
Except I couldn’t let it go.
I am that person who after you say ‘I just can’t find it! I looked everywhere!’ will say ‘Did you look in the car?’ and you’ll give me the death stare and snap out ‘of course I looked in the car.’ and then I’ll reply ‘Okay’, and go look in the car myself. I am the person who will stare at the salad dressing aisle for ten minutes because I am certain that if I just look Hard Enough the specific brand and type I want will appear, even though it’s obvious by the hole where they Should be, that they are out of stock. That’s just me. (I’d call it tenacious, my husband calls it relentless, I’m going to say they are the same thing).
So it’s 10pm now and Marilyn is asleep with her rat-mouse thing that she seems to love. She’s told me about how she’s going to bring it to school the next day, what it likes to eat, where it’s going to sleep in her bed, on and on and on and on (and on and on and on). I swipe open my phone and call Target.
Me: Yes Hi. I was in your store this afternoon with my daughter, and she lost her hamster stuffed animal. Has anyone turned it in?
Customer Service: Hold on while I check.
Me: (Waits long enough that it becomes apparent Customer Service Person has kindly gone to look in the lost and found of a Target in Siberia.)
Customer Service: No I’m sorry. Nothing.
Me: (Dramatic Sigh, flings self over balcony.) Okay Thanks!
The next day Marilyn goes to school. She stomps through the rain with the rat-mouse thing and comes home with pictures drawn of ‘Ratty’ and her holding hands. She asks me if I’ve found Luna, and when I sadly say ‘Not yet’, her chin wobbles. I’ve gone to Target and asked them to look for Luna again. No dice. I thud down the toy aisles a second time, hoping maybe someone found Luna and put her back on a shelf. Nothing. I stare in turn, at each aisle the way I glare at the salad dressings, daring the aisle to not produce Luna. I am certain if I just stand there long enough, we can put this whole ridiculous affair behind us, and I can be the hero. Certainly Marilyn’s world is crashing down around her.
The day after this I decide to make one last go of it. Once more I park in the Target lot. I’m armed with a stock photo of Luna, friends who have prayed to St. Anthony for her return, and pure stubbornness. I am prepared to pitch a tent and hand out leaflets when from the heaven’s a ray of light bears down in the form of a girl with brown hair behind the customer service desk. She has found Luna.
I’m pretty sure I am hysterical at this point. I want to scale the counter and hug her.
Me: Oh my God! That’s it! That’s her! You found her!
Angel from Heaven: Oh I’m glad!
Me: You don’t understand! My daughter, she’s five, she’s going to be so happy! She was so upset! Thank you!
Angel from Heaven: You’re welcome.
Me: Thank you so much! (frantically stuffing Luna into my pocket and buttoning it up. No escape!)
Angel from Heaven: Yep. (looking over my shoulder at the customer behind me)
Me: Really! Thank you! Thank you!
(I’m pretty sure if I had thanked her again she was going to have security escort me to my car.)
Back at home I am clutching Luna. How should I present her to Marilyn? Should I just nonchalantly place Luna on the counter for Marilyn to find? Should I make a big production? Should I tell Marilyn I didn’t find her and then whip her out of my pocket in a great feat of magic? I decide to put her on the counter and let Marilyn find her upon her arrival home. Two hours from then. I start ticking down the minutes so great is my excitement to be the hero to Marilyn.
At 3:50pm Marilyn waltzes in the door and I whisper-shriek at her to come into the kitchen. She takes a step in and spots Luna.
Me: I KNOW! LUNA! OH MY GOD! I FOUND HER!!
Marilyn: I am so happy! I missed her.
Me: HOW HAPPY ARE YOU?!
Marilyn: Luna, you need to meet Ratty.
And that’s it. Literally. Ten minutes later she was on the couch watching My Little Pony, Luna and Ratty forgotten on the table and quickly thereafter scooped up by Judah and probably flung down into the basement where I later had to retrieve them for bedtime. All the guilt and worry, the over the top effort to be the champion, the Luna-finder, for five seconds of lukewarm praise.
The Luna recovery is a good example of how resilient kids are. Seventy-two hours after the waterworks of misplacing Luna and the heavy remorse I felt for being so sharp with Marilyn, and not only was all forgiven, it was 97% forgotten too. So the next time I worry about my kids being upset over something I did that day, instead of lugging it bowling-ball-style around with me all day I am going to remember how quickly she forgot about her grief over the seemingly irrecoverable and beloved Hamster-Guinea Pig hybrid and give myself a freaking break.