Those few words incited panic tonight as Sam and I were driving home from school. We had stopped at the grocery before heading home, and it was a madhouse – I work in a college town and why it didn’t occur to me that going to the store there on the first night the kids were back after winter break might not be a great plan is beyond me. In any case, I remembered Sam and me making the decision that he could bring Baby – his beloved teddy bear – into the store, but after the chaos that was shopping, that’s the last I could remember.
We were 20 minutes from there, and another 20 minutes from home, when Sam realized Baby was missing. I immediately pulled over and searched for him – stopping on the side of a two-lane highway in the dark was also a brilliant idea, I was full of them tonight – to no avail. I got back on the road and drove a little further until I came to a place where I could safely stop, and where I could turn around, if necessary.
It was necessary. Baby was nowhere to be found. I called Andy and told him we were headed back to Oxford on a Baby rescue mission. He wished me well and started praying to Saint… um…. whichever one is the patron saint of lost things.
I tried not to panic.
It sounds perfectly ridiculous, I know – a little teddy bear that is old and worn out and probably carrying at least three strains of the flu virus – but my heart was racing.
Sam kept saying things like “I don’t love any of my other stuffed animals the way I love Baby.” He asked me what we were going to do if we couldn’t find him.
When Sam started singing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” I had to hold back tears.
We finally got back to the grocery store and pulled in the same parking spot we had been in before. Baby wasn’t there, so our next stop was the cart corral.
*cue the Hallelujah chorus*
There, laying on the ground beside the carts, was Baby, just as we’d left him. (No really. That’s what he looked like when Sam dropped him. He was already that dirty.)
Can’t you just see the relief and joy in Sam’s face?
I looked the same way, I’m sure. We were both so happy.
This was the closest call in three-plus years of close Baby-losing calls.
He’s is “just” a teddy bear, but Sam would have been so devastated to have lost him, and I would have been so devastated for Sam.