Lost Love

Posted: August 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Kate's Friends, Miss Kate | 3 Comments »

Kate does not like lost things. I don’t even mean losing her own stuff, but when anyone loses anything.

A couple months ago on one of our late afternoon Tibetan-monk-like circumnavigations of the block, I made the mistake of reading a sign to Kate.

“Missing Bunny!” it said. And there was a grainy photocopied picture of little Snowflake or Fluffy or whatever its name was, and contact information for the lost thing’s human family.

Just seconds into reading the sign, I realized I shouldn’t have. But by then it was too late. We stood by the sign, Kate stretching to peer up at the picture, then demanding I read and reread it several times. Including the phone number.

“We have to find that bunny, Mama” she said matter-of-factly, then pushed off on her bike, her bulbous helmet bobbing up and down as she peered under bushes and behind parked cars calling out, “Snowflake? SNOWflake! Where aaaaaare you?”

Then, adding another dose of poor parental judgment, I joined in on the game. I mean, her enthusiasm and optimism were so sweet, how couldn’t I?

But by the time we rounded the fourth corner, our house in sight and the late-day wind picking up, we had (unsurprisingly) not found Snowflake. And that (unsurprisingly) was not okay with Kate.

“We CAN’T go inside!” she bellowed, leaning forward from her hips and dangling her arms straight down in her Pose of Utter Dismay. “WE. HAVE. NOT. FOUND. SNOWFLAKE!”

Oh dear. How do you explain the snowball’s-chance-in-hell-we’ll-find-Snowflake concept to a determined animal-loving kid? I mean, I might as well stomp on her good will with golf shoes. And all my previous bad decisions around this issue aside, I knew I had to manage the situation carefully. One wrong move at this point had the potential to turn Kate into a rabid lifelong PETA activist, following Pam Anderson Dead-tour style, and spending years in therapy exorcising the childhood trauma her heartless bunny-hating mother subjected her to.

Somehow I coaxed her inside. Likely through a series of short-sighted lies along the lines of, “Tomorrow’s a brand new day where we can wake up early and spearhead a large Snowflake search party! But right now it’s important that we go inside, eat a good dinner, and fortify ourselves for the work at hand.”

And then, somehow, the next day Little Miss Steel Trap Mind forgot about Snowflake.

But just a couple days ago we were heading out the door to swim class and saw that someone put a stuffed monkey on the wall by our front steps. Assuming, I guess, that it was ours.

“Oh noooooooooo!” Kate squealed. “Look, Mommy! Someone’s lovey! Someone lost their lovey.”

It was quite sad there. One of those monkeys that’s really a kinda long soft monkey-headed blankie. Exactly the kind of possession that could prevent a child from sleeping, weathering an injury, thumbsucking. (Trying to think what the adult equivalent of this is for me. Uh, a glass of wine? Mark? My mom’s old long johns that I wear to watch TV when I’m cold or grumpy?)

But of course, we were late. And so I upped the emotional ante for Kate by scooching her away from the wayward monkey, propping its head up and saying, “If we just put it like this, someone will walk back and find it.”

5:30PM. Home from swim class. Monkey-blankie still there.

Kate? Fully immersed in the missing monkey drama.

“We need to make a sign, Mama! LOST LOVEY. Then someone will see it and find it.”

I loved the idea. I wanted to indulge Kate’s sweet community spirit. But I also needed to make dinner. And I didn’t manage to eke out the few minutes it’d take to get the art supplies down, plus a big piece of paper, and write out the words.

The next day, distracted by unfolding a stroller and trying to prevent Paige from sweeping all the DVDs off the shelf onto the floor, and wondering how it was that the kids ate breakfast but I somehow didn’t, Kate walked onto the front porch.

“The monkey!” she cried out. And I thought, here we go. I’ll be on the local news tonight holding it up and making a plea. We’ll be contacting the milk carton people and Kate’ll build a website and put up play money for any information related to finding the the monkey-blankie’s rightful owner.

But no.

“I want it!” she yelped. “I want to take it inside! Can I have it, Mama?”

And I thought about that poor kid, well, that poor mother really, trying to coax some second-runner-up stuffy onto a bereaved child. But really, at that point, weren’t the odds of a happy reunion slim? So I relented.

And now we have a new, formerly-owned monkey.

I guess we still could prop up the thing outside, refreshed from its tour in our washing machine. We still could make that sign after all. But if we somehow don’t manage to, I hereby vow to try extra hard on our next encounter with someone’s lost love.


3 Comments on “Lost Love”

  1. 1 Jane said at 8:17 pm on August 8th, 2009:

    “the snowball’s-chance-in-hell-we’ll-find-Snowflake”

    Freaking HI-larious.

  2. 2 jenny said at 2:29 pm on August 10th, 2009:

    You should have put up the sign; in fact you still can. Monkey stealer! (how long does it take to boil tortellini any way?)

  3. 3 Dad said at 7:14 pm on August 10th, 2009:

    Lil ole Kate has inherited a huge share of her grandfather’s animal love genes, as well as his mother’s and grandfather’s..a trait that more people should have…don’t change Kate!

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