Saturday, October 1, 2011

Close Call

Before anyone worries, everything is fine. No accidents, no injuries, no bad news. But we had a huge family scare today. Atleigh’s blankie got left at Target. Now, this might not seem like a huge deal to some (probably those of you who’ve never had kids), but in the Box House... this is a catastrophe on par with Armageddon. You just don’t even know.

My sister and Atleigh ran into Target to get a few things today, while I waited in the car. Blankie, or “Geehee” as Atleigh calls it, goes with her everywhere. EVERY.WHERE. Somehow, today, she managed to lay it down or drop it without noticing (which is rare... it’s like an extra limb to her). We didn’t notice it was gone until we were a half an hour down the road, driving through the HRBT (my fellow Tidewater...ers... know what I mean). There were a few moments of frantic searching, involving Amber practically climbing over the front seat to search the floor. By this time, Atleigh, being the junkie that she is, is starting to whimper for Geehee. And I’ve got the steering wheel in a white knuckled grip, my blood pressure steadily rising, and my stomach getting progressively sicker, saying, “Oh God, oh God, ohGodohGodohGod....” Atleigh’s had this blanket since she was born. Literally, since the day she was born. We couldn’t even turn around to search for it because we had to meet Jeremy somewhere. Amber called Target, trying to explain the situation, detailing the places that she’d been in the store with Atleigh.  Geehee was nowhere to be found. None of the employees had found it, and no one had turned it into to lost and found. They told us, “We’ll check for it when we do clean up tonight at 11pm.” Well, by then, it would be too late.

I had a meltdown. A full on, wailing, fist pounding meltdown, going 60 miles an hour down I-64. Atleigh is melting down, Amber is melting down, Chloe’s in the back telling everyone it will be okay, in a soothing voice. I had my head down on the steering wheel, sobbing and driving. When we finally met up with Jeremy, he and Ashton wore funereal faces, speaking in hushed voices. Ashton crawled into the car next to Atleigh, patting her hair and whispering consoling words. It was awful.

I know, to some people, that this seems extreme. It probably is (and it's easy for me to say that after the fact). I won’t deny that there is a major streak of drama queen in our family. But if you knew Atleigh... you would realize the trauma this would cause. When I say she’s a junkie, I mean it in every sense of the word. She holds the blankie to her nose when she breathes. She wraps it around her shoulders when she walks. She absolutely cannot sleep without it. She cries when it’s in the dryer. She’s Linus Van Pelt on crack.

Well, I thought that was it. The years before me stretched out, void and meaningless. We would always remember The Lost Geehee. Life would never be the same.

Then, I thought of my friend Missy. I knew, that if anyone could find Geehee in Target, Missy could. I knew she wouldn’t give up until she’d found it. I called her in hysterics, begging her to “do me the most enormous favor the world has ever known”... short of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, maybe. Missy tried to calm me down, assuring me she would find it, and everything would be okay. It was probably another 20 or 30 minutes after that before I heard from her... She’d found it!!! In the shoe department: and nearly clobbered an innocent bystander in her hurry to get it. When she called me and told me, I burst into tears again. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. When I told Amber, she just laid her head on my shoulder, and we held each other and cried like someone had come back from the dead.

I’ve just reread this, and laughed quietly to myself. It sounds funny now. But if you think I’m exaggerating the gravity of the situation, you’re wrong. This is exactly how it happened. Our lives were ruined and saved within one hour.  Amber was condemned and redeemed in that same hour. And Atleigh went through a brief detox and is now more addicted than ever. Tonight, our life is good, and we will sleep peacefully.

Atleigh, after a long day of separation from
her beloved Geehee.

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