by Lindsay Gallagher on 03/2/2012
One thing no one prepared me for about motherhood (or adulthood and marriage for that matter), was the endless looking for lost things. I have spent years searching under sofa cushions, running up and down stairs, braving the disgusting underbelly of my car for binkies, blankies, Lego figures, earrings, barretts, remotes, Go-gos, sunglasses, wallets, $20 bills, ribbons, gift cards – keys! It’s endless. If I consolidated all the minutes I spend each day hunting, I would easily have time to earn a doctorate.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Ronan lost his iPhone. I had seen it in his hands during the game, so we figured it had to be inside. Still, we tore apart every inch of the house to no avail. Ronan’s pal said he saw Ronan put it “By the frog,” which is in our inglenook. I looked under the frog, on top of the frog, inside the cabinet that held the frog – nothing.
“Would you mind sending him over tonight?” I broke down and called his mom after two weeks had passed and ATT&T had explained that the 3Gs I’d purchased for $35 would cost $500 to replace.
The pal walked in and he and Ronan found the phone within 30 seconds. (Under the runner under the frog) I hugged the boys. I jumped up and down. I had looked in that spot a hundred times, but I didn’t care about all the wasted hours – I was so relieved that the mystery was solved and that Ronan could once again text me when he rode his bike to school. Joy!
But happiness in my world of lost things was short lived. Three nights ago I looked down at my left hand and saw something I haven’t seen in 18 years – a ring finger wearing only a wedding band. It took me a few seconds to realize what that meant: my engagement ring had slipped off and I had no idea when or where. I tried not to panic, I had just changed into PJs, I had been running and playing with Ronan downstairs, it’s a chunky ring, it should be easy to spot. I hoped to find it as soon as I started to look.
“If you didn’t hear it drop, then it must have fallen on a carpet?” Ronan said.
So I crawled across every area rug in my house, shone my iPhone flashlight into the crevices and corners of every room. Finally, I collapsed even further onto the floor and wept.
“I lost my ring,” I called Joe on the set and cried into the phone.
“What?” What do you mean?”
“It just slipped off. I don’t know where. It’s gone.”
“My mother always wore her wedding band on the outside for that reason,” he said.
“The wedding band is supposed to be closer to the heart,” I sobbed, remembering that I had noticed it was loose a few days before and even considered making the switch. What kind of fool cares about silly traditions like that when there’s a diamond involved? What kind of fool doesn’t do something when she notices the ring is loose? How could it have just slipped off my hand??
It’s been three days. I’ve retraced my steps. I’ve checked though the clothes I was wearing, I’ve looked down all the drains. I’ve made phone calls and sent emails. I’ve sorted through the trash – twice. I rented a metal detector, but there’s just too much metal inside of a house for that to work. I keep telling myself that I would have noticed it missing during the hand-intensive ordeal of cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen. Tess had strep – again – so I had been zealously washing my hands all night. I typed and played the piano – wouldn’t I have noticed that my ring wasn’t there?
While looking for my ring, I’ve turned up two long lost army knives, one which had been at the bottom of a suitcase for over a year, the dental floss that eluded me all last week, and a lovely bar of Hermés soap . But still, no ring.
I am not taking it well. I am not manning up. I have this awful feeling all the time, even the minute I wake up. And I’m constantly reminded by my half-dressed hand. Yesterday morning, Ronan suggested we look in the dining room built-in, so he and Tess and I got back down on our knees. When it wasn’t there, they hugged me while I cried.
“At least you still have Ronan and me,” Tess said, which is of course true. It’s ridiculous that I am so devastated over a ring. But I was 24 when Joe gave it to me and I’ve worn it almost every day ever since. My mother made it for me and I love it so much. It’s only a thing, but what a precious thing. The way it cast rainbows all over a room. I loved to just stare at it, think about how diamonds are forever. It might be shallow of me, but that ring brought me a lot of joy. I miss it and I dread the thought that I might never see it again.
I keep remembering this one time Ronan lost a metal James “collectors” Thomas Train that had been his cousin Sean’s. The red paint was all chipped, the wheels were out of whack, but Ronan adored it. He carried it with him everywhere, even slept with it in his crib. Then one day, when I was unloading him from his car-seat at our old house on Gower Street, we both realized, with genuine horror, that James had not made it home with the groceries.
“I was just there with my little boy and he must have dropped his toy train in the grocery cart, would you please look?” I pleaded to the Trader Joe’s employee who answered the phone. With the receiver pressed to my face, I tried to unload the frozen food before it melted. Ronan sat on the floor crying: “James! James!”
“I found it,” the man said, like an angel. ”It was out in the parking lot.”
“They have it! It’s there,” I squealed, knowing that I had dodged a terrible bullet, that I could restore my baby’s happiness just by driving back to the store.
Now I’m praying to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, for myself and not my kids. I can’t search anymore. It’s too maddening – no matter where I look, it isn’t there. Of course, I will survive. It’s only a ring. I have my family and my health and so much to be thankful for. I know, I know, I know. But I’m so frustrated that I have spent so much time looking for things, that I never put my keys in the same place, that I didn’t move my engagement ring to the inside. As the hours pass, I feel like it’s that much more lost, like the little red train, had I not called that instant, it would never have been found.
Saint Anthony, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find my engagement ring which has been lost. As least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss.