Here is a post that I wrote about a month ago, but held in draft form to await the creation of this new blog...
On our last day in Portree on the Isle of Skye, during our seven years delayed honeymoon, we made a sudden stop at a gift shop before heading to the next town of our Scottish tour. It was September 2013 and back home awaited one year old Crosby and three year old Norah who we missed fervently and thus felt compelled to spoil with souvenirs and legit Scottish swag. This particular merchant was on the fancier side and the dollar of that day was weak, but we were travel drunk on the epic beauty of our surroundings and happily parted with our pounds for one fuzzy highland cow and one shaggy sheep.
For no express reason, the cow was given to Norah and the sheep to Crosby, and our new furry friends joined the ranks of stuffed creatures adorning our children's beds. The fuzzy highland cow came to be called Heather after the main character in a children's book we also brought back, but the sheep took on no name as 14-month-old Crosby had yet to say many words. Time passed, and the sheep took up residence in Crosby's crib, sleeping somewhere close to him for every nap and night, and then eventually began to leave the crib when Crosby did. As he formed his attachment to the sheep he also formed his toddler lexicon, and eventually the sheep was named Sheepy.
Sheepy became our baby boy's security blanket—integral contributor to his feeling peace and balance. Before falling asleep, he would rub the tag between his fingers, a soothing, rhythmic habit of comfort that made even us parents who watched feel relaxed and at ease. And ever since Sheepy was firmly established in this fundamental role, he has been by Crosby's side for every bout of sleep, every tear, every long car ride, every moment of fear, anxiety, tension, or stress, and all sorts of other occasions on which our son required the presence of his floppy, fuzzy Scottish bestie.
Isn't that adorable, sweet and heart-warmingly lovely? Indeed. Do you know what's none of those things and in fact quite the opposite? When Sheepy goes missing. More specifically when he does so at 9 PM when every other task of the bedtime routine has been successfully completed and your growing sense of giddy anticipation over the moments ahead when you can crawl under the covers and space out before you pass out is spreading through you like the warmth of your second (cough, fourth) glass of rosé. Worse yet? When you and your spouse have taken extra steps to ensure an early bedtime because maybe you had a rough day and just need the quiet to descend that much sooner, or maybe you know that tomorrow morning the household must arise earlier than normal to guarantee a timely departure for a train you have to catch to kickoff a couple days of carefully planned family adventuring during your first every proper spring break with a school age child. Maybe that second example is pretty damn specific because it happened two nights ago and looked a little something like this...
8:35-ish: Jammies on? Check. Teeth brushed, flossed, rinsed? Check. One last potty? Check. Sip of water? Check. Books read? Check. One more last potty? Check. Parents feeling pretty damn proud of themselves for achieving above mentioned tasks before 9 PM? Check. Norah has blankie and Snowball? Check. Crosby has Sheepy?... Crosby, where's Sheepy? Norah where's Sheepy? Anyone know where Sheepy is? Shit. Everyone help look for Sheepy, please. Pete, it's not helpful for you to look in the same place as me, please go look somewhere else. Crosby where did you last have Sheepy? 'I know where he is! (C)' Yay, where! 'Um, maybe in the bathroom? (C)' Okay, we just looked in the bathroom and he's not there.
8:40-ish Damnit. We've looked everywhere. Norah why aren't you helping? You always find him, please help. 'I'm tired. (N)' Sigh, grrrrrr. 'Crosby you should retrace your steps! (N)' Great idea, Crosby stop following me, it's not helping, go retrace your steps. 'Um, I think he's in the kitchen! (C)' Great go find him in the kitchen. 'No he's not in there. (C)' Text to Molly: Any chance you saw Crosby's Sheepy while you were here? We can't find it anywhere. Molly didn't see him. 'Crosby you're just going to have to sleep with a different buddy tonight. (P)' 'NOOOOO! I WANT SHEEPY! (C)' Crosby, I know you want him but we have looked EVERYWHERE and Sheepy is lost and I need you to please go pick a different buddy to sleep with. 'Nooooo, I need Sheepy, I know where he is! (C).' I don't believe you.
8:50-ish Fuck fuck fuck. I don't understand. This doesn't make sense. He has to be somewhere. He was here earlier. 'I'm going to check the car (P).' Um, cool thanks, but he's not going to be there. Crosby do you have any idea where Sheepy is? No? Okay, I really need you to go pick a different buddy because if you don't go to sleep we can't go on our special adventure tomorrow so please please please accept that Sheepy is lost and we'll find him eventually, but right now YOU HAVE TO GO TO SLEEP. 'He wasn't in the car (P).' (Resting bitch face)
9:00-ish FuckingshitdamnitARGGGHHHHH. SO MUCH FOR GOING TO SLEEP EARLY! (Texts Molly: This is insane. We have looked in every drawer, corner, closet cabinet. It's going to be a rough trip.) I give up. This is ridiculous. He can't just be gone. 'He's going to sleep with Heather. It's going to be fine. (P)' Fine. (Kisses, hugs, tucked in, good night, sweet dreams, we love you, get some good sleep, tomorrow is going to be epic!) I need to go to the Brouwers and walk Zoe. Pete, can you please do one more thorough check of your closet? I remember Crosby being in there when he was trying on my heels.
9:08: Walking Zoe, text from Pete: Found it in my closet behind the coats. (Ginormous shoulder loosening, heart rate slowing, brow unfurrowing exhale) Text back: Oh thank god. And WTF.
I'd like to note here that through all of that Crosby was either following me from place to place saying I think he's in here! Or playfully rolling around on my bed, calmly asking if I found him yet. Which is to say that even though he released a few loud exclamations of panic over not having Sheepy, he was quite a bit less affected by his bestie's game of hide and seek than I was. I'll add that when Pete went upstairs to bring the freshly found Sheepy to the recently tucked in Crosby, the latter was nearly out with Heather on his face. Regardless, I was less anxious about that night than I was about the ensuing 48 hours away from home, and was largely less stressed about the trip knowing he had been located. In the very back of our walk-in closet. Behind a bunch of coats. Is it crazy to think that Crosby, who had been there just thirty minutes prior playing with my heels and hiding from us, knew exactly where Sheepy was the whole time? Sometimes I wonder about the enjoyment our offspring surely get from watching the ludicrous behavior of their flustered parents. Sometimes we can laugh at ourselves when looking back on such, and perhaps if we were able to remember that feeling of hysterical hindsight when approaching a moment of anxiety, we might never let it get to ludicrous to begin with.