This morning, Elizabeth's friend Amy came over to play. There really is nothing better than two little girls playing happily together - dressing up, feeding dollies, having tea parties, reading books together. It's just plain adorable. Amy has a love of Elizabeth's shoes & coats, and every Monday morning when we take care of her, she invariably wears E's shoes or coat when we leave for our playgroup. This morning, she needed to wear Elizabeth's new silver shoes that Grandma Susan gave Elizabeth for her birthday. Elizabeth is either a really good sharer (aka oblivious) or a really, really bad sharer ("That's MINE!!"). This morning: good sharer! So off we went to our playgroup in Amy's double pram, all dressed up and walking in the sunshine.
And we had a great time at the community center. Amy dressed up, Elizabeth dressed up, everyone squished into the boat and they rowed it, there was a white board and they all had to colour at the same time -- in other words, it was great for me, because I didn't have to do much 'parenting'. I had a cup of tea and chatted with the other Mums. Ideal.
What a delightful morning!!
When she woke up, I had just finished all the prep for dinner (scalloped potatoes, roasted vegetables and sausages - mmmmm) and packed the diaper bag to jet off to the library. Truth: I am totally sucked into the Game of Thrones series, and when I pick up book x, I put book x+1 on hold then and there. That way the next book is waiting for me as soon as I finish whichever one I'm on. Addicted much? Elizabeth said she wanted to wear her silver shoes - no problem, they are right there in the bask--- what the what??? Cue Georgina Meltdown.
Immediate thought process: "There is only ONE shoe??? No, this can't be right, I know I put both in the basket. Maybe it's here, under the blanket - nope. Maybe it's under the rain cover? No. (Ahem, the rain cover is clear plastic...) Maybe Elizabeth took it out and was playing with it. Maybe she put it in my high heel - nope. Maybe it's in Matthew's running shoe - nope. (Repeat with each shoe that we own - ie a lot of shoes). Oh SHOOT!!! Maybe it's in the living room..." I went to look in the living room, and it was like the toy box had thrown up all over the floor. I started randomly picking items up - like I wouldn't have seen a silver shoe poking out from underneath Buzz Lightyear?? And then, obviously, it began to rain.
I went from a very content woman to a completely distraught basketcase in 0.2 seconds, and it was all over a child's shoe. I managed to convince Elizabeth to wear her boots, and got her on the bike seat. This whole time she had been wandering behind me, eating crackers and saying, "Shoooooo-ooo, where are yoooouuuu???" Then the whole time we were on the bike, we had this conversation:
Eliz: "Mummy, what you doing?"
Me: "Cycling to the library."
Eliz: "No liberry. Playground?"
Me: "First library, then we're going to look for your shoe, and then playground."
Eliz: "Shoo-ooo, where are yoouuu?"
Me: "Yes, your shoe is lost. I need to find it."
. . .
Eliz: "Mummy, what you doing?"
etc etc etc
So we cycled back the way we had walked that afternoon, and I couldn't see the shoe anywhere! I was so upset - I became completely irrational. I told Matthew about it, and seriously contemplated making him come home from work early. I started hating living in England, because obviously someone had stolen the shoe, and seriously, who steals ONE shoe??? I started looking at all British people like they were both thieves and idiots. I started mentally designing the "Lost: One Shoe" poster that I would then plaster all over the neighbourhood. I considered offering a reward. I started composing the email I would send to all the women I know in the neighbourhood, asking them to keep an eye out.
Then I did what all other irrational people do: I asked the internet and tried to fix this problem by throwing money at it. First I called the shop we bought them from: they were,of course, sold out. I called the other branch of the store (in another city) and they were sold out too. The shoe is a Primigi brand, and the box said its name is Yvette. I defy any of you to find a silver Yvette Primigi shoe on the internet. And you should also try to do it split-screened with Peter Pan on the other half of the screen, because Elizabeth is now in love with Tinkerbell. Yeah, I'm pretty sure we have the only pair of silver Yvette Primigi shoes on the planet. I started feeling immense guilt: Elizabeth has had these shoes for less than a month, and worn them only a handful of times since she only just grew into them, and I lost one?? I couldn't even blame the toddler - this was all my fault. The shoe became a symbol of all the other things I have ever done wrong as a Mum and a Person, and I was convinced I was never going to amount to anything, since, honestly, who can be successful if they can't even keep a pair of shoes together??
Seriously, what is wrong with me??
Matthew came home, talked me down, and then after dinner, I walked back to the community centre again, by myself. He and Elizabeth were going to come with me, but then we passed a playground, and she was no longer interested in the walk, and doubly uninterested in the stroller. The whole walk I was thinking, "It's going to be okay. It was probably picked up by another Mum. You're a Mum now. Where would you put a shoe that you found on the sidewalk?? Come on, think like a Mum." And then I was like a bobbing-chicken-head: down at the ground, up to the fence, down to the gutter, up to the bus bench, down to the ground, beside the rubbish bins...
British houses don't often have fences - instead they have these brick demi-walls. At one house, I actually stopped at their wall, and thought, "What if another Mum put it on the wall, and then the wind blew it down??" So I looked on the other side of the wall. . . no shoe, but I did find a stuffed rabbit-blankie thing that had fallen behind the rose bush on the inside of the wall!!! I put him back up on top, patted myself on the back and carried on. I thought that was going to be the silver lining to this situation: I wouldn't find Elizabeth's shoe, but tomorrow morning, some small child would find their dirty, wet, rabbit-blankie and feel complete again. Even if I lost, some little kid would win.
I was just about losing hope and prepared to cry over losing a shoe, when gasp!!! There it was!! Threaded through the bars of the school fence!!! I swear, I ran across the street, grabbed it, and yelled, "Yessssssssss!!!" It was, quite honestly, one of the best moments ever. Such relief!! Such a flood of happiness!! Oh, endorphins!! Oh, hormones!! I found it! I can do anything!! I am a superhero!! I found a lost shoe!!!!
Even though I walked home pretty quickly in the rain and wind, inside I felt like this:
No more missing shoe-gaps!! All shoes present and accounted for! Life is good!