Friday, August 16, 2013

When We Just Need a Chance to Redeem Ourselves and Be Supermom

My 13-month-old suddenly has an affinity for babies. She's fascinated by them. She has a book of babies from around the world and suddenly, it's her favorite book. She excitedly points out babies everywhere we go (even some older than her, which leads me to wonder if she realizes she, too, is a "baby"). When we spent a week in Michigan last month, she developed an attachment to a baby doll in the toy box at her grandma's, so after we got home to Virginia, my sister-in-law and I went to Target to get her one of her own. I'll never forget the moment we turned down that all-pink doll aisle in the store. Her eyes grew wide, then wider. She held out her arms, took a deep breath, and exclaimed in a tone of complete awe, "baaaaaaabieeeeeees!"

We found some that were just the right size for her. There were so many options - a bath time version, a potty training version, one with a stroller, one with a car seat. She insisted on two - one for each hand. She would have nothing less. And while I don't usually just indulge her every whim, we were facing potential real tears, here. She was so overcome by the babies. Auntie Jen quickly suggested she get one to keep at her house. What a relief! Thank goodness for the understanding, generous love of aunties!


We took the bathtub version home with us, and she hasn't left my girl's side since.

Until yesterday, that is, when we briefly lost her.

The weather has suddenly gotten cooler here, so I took my girl along on a run. E packed her and her baby into the jogging stroller (because she wasn't going without baby, no sirree) and we set off. As we did, I thought to myself that I'd better keep an eye out for baby to tumble from the stroller, since my girl is into throwing things these days, too. She loves her baby, but that doesn't mean she hesitates to wing her across the living room if she feels like it.

We got about two thirds of the way through the figure eight-shaped route I'd mapped out, and I paused to check on her, make sure the sun wasn't in her eyes.

Her baby was gone.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I'd been watching! When had she fallen out?

I think all moms must have this moment, the first time you fail to prevent a little one's most precious possession from going missing.

I felt a bit of panic, I won't deny that.

We turned around, and I resumed jogging, my eyes combing the grass edging the sidewalk for a small, pink-and-white clothed baby doll.

I was praying, hard. Yes, over a lost baby doll. What mothers pray for in the course of an ordinary day runs the gamut, I guess.

We got back to the center point of the figure eight - home - and I dropped off my girl all in a flurry, leaving E to extract her from the stroller, explaining that I was going back out in search of her baby before someone snatched it up. And I began my run route all over again, a little faster this time.

The neighborhood across from us, which we'd run through, is full of little kids, and I could easily imagine someone finding baby and making off with her in the time since she'd been dropped. As I ran, my eyes continued to comb the grass, the gutter, the sidewalk ahead.

I failed to mention that in addition to being full of families, the neighborhood across the street is also - well . . . less nice. There's a lot of litter. Wadded up t-shirts in the gutters. Discarded shake cups. Rolled-up newspapers in the grass. All objects that from a hundred feet away look like they just might be a little bitty baby doll.

As I ran that mile, I experienced moment after moment of false hope, and I actually welled up with tears a couple of times. As I got farther and farther along, I began to lose hope. Surely someone had picked her up already. I told myself I was silly to feel so upset by the prospect of not finding her - I could easily return to Target that night and purchase another identical baby doll if need be. Just because I'd missed the moment my toddler tossed her toy out of the stroller, that didn't make me a bad mommy.

I don't know exactly what it was that was going on in my still-kind-of-new-to-mommyhood brain, but I needed to find that baby doll.

And then I saw her for real, lying fifty yards ahead of me on the sidewalk. God's grace.


Filled with relief, I scooped her up and ran the rest of the way home.

When I came through the door with baby in hand, my girl acted like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Me, I felt like Supermom.