The kids and I went to visit my parents in Cedar Falls this week. It is a trip we try to make once a month. We do it so often it doesn’t take long to get ready. While the kids are eating breakfast I pack my bag, their bag, and get Audrey’s backpack ready for her. I put in the things I know she’ll want (Giraffe, Minnie, and a blanket), then she fills it with the books and toys she will want in the car. It is a system that works well. She fills the backpack, with help from Elliot, while I put our bags in the car.
We usually drive over nap time, but we left early this week. A winter storm was expected, and I wanted to get ahead of the weather. The roads were clear for the first forty-five minutes. After that we hit snow. I stopped to get a cup of coffee and to give Audrey a chance to use the potty before we headed into an hour-long stretch bereft of public restrooms.
It was snowing pretty heavily when we got back in the car. I quickly loaded up the kids while trying not to scald them with my big cup of coffee. I buckled them in, sent a quick text to John to let him know where we were on our drive, and headed back into the snow.
When we got to Cedar Falls the kids ran into the house to play. It wasn’t until I was getting them ready for a nap when I discovered that Minnie was missing. I searched the car. I looked all around the living room. I had my mom search the car. I had my dad search the living room. No Minnie.
I told Audrey that I couldn’t find Minnie. She was shockingly fine with it and didn’t ask about Minnie for the rest of the trip. I was more upset than her. I called the gas station we stopped at. They did not have Minnie in their lost and found. I held out hope that she would turn up before we stopped there on our trip home.
Today on our drive home we stopped at the same gas station. They still didn’t have Minnie.
That is when Audrey started to realize Minnie was gone. She screamed and cried for her Minnie for the next 45 minutes of our drive. The remaining 15 minutes of our drive were quieter, with occasional cries for Minnie. I tried to bribe her; I told her we could go get her a new Minnie tomorrow. That didn’t help much. It was a loud and sad drive.
When we got home I went in to their room to unpack. There, in the middle of the floor, was Minnie. Audrey pulled her out when filling up the backpack with toys. I spent the past 72 hours freaking out about a stuffed toy that was safe at home.
So now I’m going to make some tea and try to forget about the incredibly loud drive home. Have a lovely evening.