We’re in D.C. for a few days, visiting my in-laws during the boys’ week off from school. I had mocked the cries of anguish from the snow-locked Washingtonians till we got here and saw that things really were as desperate as everyone made it out to be. Even after some serious melting, the roads are all narrowed by at least a lane and trucks work all day long to remove it, although heaven knows where they are putting it all.
Schools have been closed of course, but on Sunday we headed out to the school where my mother-in-law works to do a little sledding. We tried to do some bunny slopes, but the snow was so deep that we were afraid we’d lose the boys in the drifts. So, we went around back to the black diamond, which had been nicely packed down by the droves of children who had been sledding there all week.
Benjamin was terrified of the giant hill, and it was only with much coaxing that I convinced him to toboggan down a small slope to one side. Zachary – small, highly sensitive Zachary – jumped on a saucer and zoomed straight down alongside his father, and by the end of the day he had several war wounds to prove his prowess. My boys are a lesson in never assuming anything about children, because husky little Benjamin is often frightened of physical challenges, while his anxious big brother is the one standing in the water, screaming “Come on!” at the California surf. Sledding was no different – Zachary relishes the adrenaline rush while Benjamin is more tentative.
Lucy, chickenshit that she is, did not join us for the sledding.
At the end of the day, none of us could remember if Lucy had come along to the school and watched the sledding from the car. We did know that she had not gone on the only other outing of the day: a trip to the toy store during which the boys convinced their grandmother to buy then knight costumes. We were reasonably sure she was somewhere in the house, although I checked the cars carefully to be sure. Twice.
I gave up on finding her in the house last night, and this morning a new search ensued. No Lucy. My mother-in-law went to the school, just in case Lucy had fallen out of the car onto the parking area. No Lucy. We all feared the worst.
As my mother-in-law and Benjamin were headed out to the grocery, around 4:00 PM, I figured I should call the toy store to cover all our bases.
I didn’t quite know how to begin. It feels a little silly to be calling a toy store about a toy that might have been left there, but I’ve done many worse things in my life. “Hi. I think my son might have left his lovey there.”
“A brown puppet?” the guy replied immediately.
“You have Lucy?!” I exclaimed.
“Hold on a second.” I waited, my father-in-law looking on, as the guy went to check. “Yep. It’s here.”
“A brown dog hand puppet? With no legs?” I asked, afraid to hope.
“Yes, that’s it.”
“You have Lucy!”
“We have Lucy!” he replied, not missing a beat.
Only when calling a toy store can a person get that worked up over locating a hand puppet. I told him we’d be right there to get it, then called my mother-in-law to reroute her onto Rockville Pike, no place for wussies during a snowy rush hour.
As I write this, Lucy is home, tucked into bed with Benjamin and the twelve other babies. My son is Octo-mom.
I thank you all for your good thoughts and positive vibes as we awaited her return. But the question remains – just what was Lucy doing overnight in that toy store? She has a new, knowing gleam in her eye and a bit of a swagger in her (legless) step. She acts all coy and happy to be safely home, but I know those toy store puppets she was hanging out with and I am betting she was up to no good.
From now on, she’ll be staying home. I’ve got my eye on her.