Opposites Attract

Posted: November 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Holidays, Husbandry, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | No Comments »

We recently survived a terror-filled evening at Casa McClusky. It was bedtime and we couldn’t find Baba, Paige’s beloved stuffed animal lamb. The one thing that’s essential for getting Paige the f**k to sleep.

Other breeders can no doubt appreciate the world-rocking misery of losing a sleep-critical item like this. The fact is, Baba is irreplaceable. He’s very much like that Busy Bee dog toy in Best in Show. Even if we were to ever find the same stuffed lamby in a store somewhere, it just wouldn’t be Baba.

So that night, what started as Mark casually asking if I’d seen Baba anywhere quickly turned into into a full-bore all-family search. We tore through the house like looters, up-ending tables, dumping out toy boxes, and running our arms through the contents of cupboards, searching every frickin’ inch of the house desperately, frantically. We were like FBI agents on the prowl for a tiny digital chip. Like Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity.

You get the point.

Okay, so we really didn’t swing our arms through all the cupboards (though I would like to do that sometime). But man, we did look everywhere. Mark even went outside and dug through the garbage cans—what a saint! In a less messy but equally-desperate move, Kate and I looked in the fridge.

All this to no avail.

The cleaners had been at the house that day, and I conjured terrifying images of three women making their way across the border with Baba. I pictured them mistakenly grabbing Baba with a rag and using him to scrub the mildew off our shower tiles. The thoughts running through my mind were delirious and frightening. I was one step away from pledging myself to a nunnery if Baba was just returned to us safely.

A shaken, tear-drenched Paige went to bed with some random stuffed sheep I dug out of a toy box. A pathetic, inept imposter. It felt like our three-year-old was having an affair with some other stuffed animal. It was just wrong.

And after getting Paige to sleep—which I have to admit wasn’t all that bad—we continued to toss the house, with no luck. We felt so sad for little Wigs. And at 3AM, when she woke up and called out, “Mama, Dada, did you find Baba?” my heart ached when I bellowed back to her, “No, honey. No yet.”

So the next morning, with renewed fervor, Mark pulled apart everything in Paige’s room. And suddenly, from the depths of the closet he leaned out, holding Baba with an outstretched arm. He said to the girls who were lounging on Paige’s bed with some books, “Look who I have…”

They looked up and both casually said something like “Ah!”

When I high-fived Mark later in the kitchen—our long national tragedy drawn to a close—he reported, “I’ve got to tell you, I was really hoping for a bigger reaction.”

To which I said, “Oh, sure. Story of my life.”

I mean, what turbo people-lovin’ extorvert can’t relate to that sentiment? Especially on the heels of Halloween, the ultimate attention-seeker’s holiday. I’m renowned for obsessively assembling elaborate reaction-gettin’ costumes. Me? I’m all about the big reaction.

But not Mark. Mark is low-key. Mark is mild-mannered. Mark is… Midwestern.

We recently spent a weekend with friends of mine who’d only met Mark once. After knowing me, I think his low-impact, mellow ways surprised them. But, as one of my super-extroverted friends says about her shy husband, “Thank God he’s so quiet. Can you imagine TWO of me in a relationship?”

Word to that, sister.

Yes, Mark does not wrap up his self worth in how many people stop him to admire his costume on Halloween. In fact, he rarely even bothers with a costume. Though this year he did. Well, kinda.

We bumped into some friends at a neighborhood Halloween parade last weekend. They took this picture of us. It does an excellent job of conveying our individual approaches to Halloween.


It says so much about us, really.

I know (and adore) my husband. And does he ever know me. It’s one of the things that blew me away about him when we first met—how after being together for such a short time he knew me better than anyone.

And so we’ve come to laugh at the fact that I go for big drama, and he rolls on the down-low. He’s a little bit country, I’m a little bit rock and roll. And I couldn’t imagine it any other way. (Though some day when I set a homemade lasagna on the table in front of him I wouldn’t mind him setting off a fireworks display to convey his appreciation. Just once.)

Anyway, standing there in the kitchen The Morning Baba Was Found, we had a good laugh and decided I should write a memoir entitled I Was Really Hoping for a Bigger Reaction. That is, unless Joan Rivers gets to it first.

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