Mary Claire turned 14 on New Year’s Eve. Not the eve exactly. The day. But, you know what I mean.
Richard and I decided to splurge and get her an hd video camera. She loves to make movies and her little camera just can’t keep up with her.
We always host a party in her honor on New Year’s Eve. Family. A few friends. This year, no different. Just before everyone was to arrive, we skyped (if that’s even a verb) my mom and dad in Florida. She showed them her camera and a few other gifts. A few minutes later, Cliffy was playing dead. So she recorded him. (It’s hilarious).
When it came time for MC to open her gifts, she was thrilled to receive a case for the camera from my sister. She went to gather the camera and it was no where to be found. We wracked our brains. Did Richard pick it up in a last minute tidy before guests? Did Cliffy get a hold of it? Did MC put it somewhere? It was a mystery. We spent a little time looking, but then went back to our guests.
I admit. I was feeling a bit like a loser. My house isn’t that much of a disaster. I generally know where stuff is. But somehow, in the course of the party, the TV remote went missing, too. Our house was becoming a vortex for battery-operated items. Lithium ion or AAA. There was no prejudice.
We spent the better part of New Year’s day searching for the camcorder and the remote. We stripped beds, emptied drawers. Even went through the garbage. You may remember that my littlest one has a certain affection for the trash can. No luck on either item. Mary Claire suggested a prayer to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things and missing persons. Richard said no. This is not lost. Just misplaced. And Richard has a very specific opinion about praying for material possessions. So we kept looking.
You know that feeling. It’s maddening.
The next day, after church we shared our story with our dear and very tall pastor. He said if St. Anthony doesn’t come through, try St. Expedite. Of course, just the mere fact that there is a St. Expedite was a crack up.
When we got home, we started the process of “one last look” through all the places we’d already looked about 15 times. Finally, I said our prayer to St. Anthony isn’t for the misplaced item, but for my sanity, which at the rate we were going was certain to be lost. A quick prayer.
Two minutes later.
“I turned that chair upside down,” said Richard as I reached behind the cushion for the third or fourth time. Lo and behold, I found the TV remote. It was stuck in the folds of fabric. It’s a recliner. Three cheers! But really. Who actually cares about the stupid remote? I wanted to find that blasted camera.
We devoted another few hours, cleaned the laundry room. Which was good. Went through the linen closet. Also good. But no camera. Found a missing piece to a wooden puzzle. Another bonus. Our labors were definitely bearing some fruit. (That glass is always half full.)
That night, as Richard took out the trash for Monday pickup, he checked it all again. Heads were reeling. Mine the most. MC was occasionally drawn to tears. Who could blame her?
We had to free ourselves. Sat down for dinner. Watched “Despicable Me.: (Cute movie.) Then started the bedtime routine. Defeated.
While in the little kids’ room, MC came in and said, “What’s that saint Fr. Mike said ask for help?”
“Expedia.” I replied. After laughing and being laughed at (which as a parent of two teenagers, is part of the sound track of my life), we remembered it was St. Expedite. We said a prayer. No joke, two minutes later, I’m standing in Lillian and Cliff’s closet, I’d checked all the bins in all of the cubbies, was ready to turn off the light, only to peer over the cubbie unit to see in the maybe 3-inch space between the shelves and the wall, there, in the far corner, was Mary Claire’s camcorder.
“Eureka!” I shouted. Because that’s what normal people shout. And I presented the camera to cheers from Richard and MC. But then I pondered aloud.
“How could Cliff have done this?” It never made sense that the kid even had his hands on the thing. We’re kind of pros at keeping stuff out of his reach – since he throws EVERYTHING.
Lillian said, “I did it.”
And there stood Miss Lil, who promptly put her thumb in her mouth. Hiding, of all things, a smile.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because Daddy threw away my tricycle.” Which, you know. HE DIDN’T. Then she said, “When is it MY birthday?”
For a flash, it felt like Little Women. When Amy burns Jo’s book because Jo is going to the theater and Amy has to stay at home and do school work. Except the fact that Jo DID actually go to the theater. And Amy DID have to stay home and do homework.
So my dear and delightful four-year-old has a vindictive streak that she apparently acts on based on her delusions. Excellent.
Well, St. Anthony couldn’t come through because the camera wasn’t lost. It was stolen. So, special thanks to St. Expedia dot com. But after I realized that Lillian watched us for two days tear apart the house, my next question to our pastor was: NOW which saint do turn to for intercession?