It started innocently with a trip to Target for the remaining items needed for our mini vacation this past weekend. We brought Harold, and if you aren't acquainted, he's the watchful hovering eye over the the island of Sodor, home to Thomas and his tank engine friends. He's a helicopter, and at that, W's favorite helicopter.
That being said, he travels with us quite often on shopping cart ventures, and this particular day was no different. Long story short, he didn't make it home. We were both distracted while unloading the cart into the car and getting The Sheriff buckled in just right, and he didn't make it. I realized this the minute I walked into the door.
(We pause this story to alert you to the upcoming Rookie Mom Mistake!)
Stupidly, so very stupidly, I ask W, "Did we leave Harold in the cart?" And oh the tears started which in turn broke my heard which in turn led to a panicked train of thought. Should we go get him? Would the cart still be in the return a cart section? Should I try to find another one? What to do?
And I knew there was not one at Target where I originally found this random heli as we passed through the Thomas section on the trip itself.
In the meantime, I distracted The Sheriff but I could not let it go. I let him down. Technically it was my fault. He doesn't understand the responsibility of looking after one's things. It's a lesson he will one day have to learn. Today was not that day.
Thanks to this Tim McGraw song I heard on my way to an appointment that evening, I thought that if I died tomorrow, I would want to go having W know that I went to hell and back trying to find that damn helicopter. I would want him to know that there will be days of loss in his lifetime. He will lose toys. He will lose soccer games. He will lose his cool.
And he will lose friends and family members.
And there will time for feeling the heartbreak at whatever level that comes with loss. If I can protect him from this particular one, from asking about Harold when he wakes up or sometimes to hold him to fall asleep and having to hear that we don't have him, I will. And I did.
Some of you will laugh at me. You'll think, such a first-timer. Just wait until she has another one. When I was little, my parents would have never. I would have told the kid to get over it. Wow, she's spoiling him.
Heck, some of my own family members will surely call me out for doing this wrong somehow, but when I found Harold (after looking online earlier that evening) at Walmart on my way home, I sped (just a little) to get home in time to hand him over and kiss W goodnight. And I knew that it was $6.99 well spent.
"Harold's back!" he said, and he still says it. You see, he did learn (or start to) that we have to take care of things. We talked about leaving it there. But he also knows that he's got a Momma that loves him enough to fix it when she can. There'll be times when I have to let him go and let him grow. He'll make mistakes, and he'll confront life in ways that I can't fix. He's not there yet, my friends, not there yet.
And in the meantime, Harold's back!