Up at 5am, run, run, run all day, trying to make good choices, trying to teach, trying to run a house, be a mom, and finally it’s 6:15 and it’s time to workout. By 7pm, I’m tired, sweaty, and ready for bed (well, a shower at least). Sitting feels like sin because face it, I have a million other things to do on that never-ending to do list I refuse to write.
On the counter, I spot a guilty pleasure, my People magazine, which was Christmas gift. Who am I waste a gift? Grabbing the remote, my phone, and the magazine, I sit with the family and we all read. It’s quiet and lovely. Once the kids leave the room, I turn on the tv for the first time in ages, setting the remote down.
The kids take dog outside, come inside and fill our house with noise again. I don’t care, I can read through anything after over 14 hours of constant movement. Kids join me, a dog gets dressed in sweaters, mindless activities consume the house. All of a sudden, the tv is loud, and it needs to go off, it’s getting in the way of this time with my kids.
I reach beside me for the remote and it’s gone.
“Where is it?”
“The remote. It was RIGHT here.”
We search and search.
“Found it!” says a 6-year-old voice. We pause, we smile, “Oh, wait, that’s one that doesn’t work.”
“Grrrrr,” we all grumble
We keep searching. In the basket sits the four other remotes that I’ve purchased since August. I keep buying them because during the dark week, the real remote disappeared into the black hole of our house, only to surface months later and no longer works. I’ve been buying remotes every few months, although for years and years we never needed a new one. It has started to stand for the new frustrations of this new, unasked for life.
We tear the couch apart. Cushions are all over the floor. The sectional is spread out throughout the room. It’s surprisingly clean under there. We sweep up the mess of life as we search. We put the couch together, and tear it apart again.
Twenty minutes later, the troops are tired and begging for bed.
“It was right here! Where is it???” I exclaim in frustration.
We search, we pray. We look in places it’s not, we search in places we know it won’t be.
“Have I officially gone mad? “ I wonder. “Why do I care? I hate the TV. I only need the remote to workout and I can figure it out for a day.”
Finally, I notice the kids are in bed and I should go too. I’m exhausted, but instead of doing what I should, I sit and cry. I pray. I pray for something to be simple. I pray for guidance and answers. I pray and pray. Then I look some more and pray while I search for that stupid tool that I can live without, but makes life slightly easier. “It was just right there. Where did it go?”
It’s a remote and isn’t important. However, once upon a happy family, we never lost the remote for more than a few minutes. We never searched for hours and hours because one of us always knew where it might be, or two adults find things much faster than one. Life was not perfect, but certainly was easier with two grownup brains. Two minds to help problem solve. Two bodies to run errands, pay bills, make breakfast, manage lunches, and keep everyone going. Now there’s one and it’s so MUCH HARDER than two.
I can’t find it. It’s gone and will be forever. I will deal with it. I can’t change it. I don’t know what I could have done differently for a better outcome. I’m well aware that I’m no longer thinking about the remote. It’s not about the tool that I hardly ever use; my tears and frustrations go so much deeper than that.
I sit, tired and ready for bed. The dog and I head outside. We enter the room again. I sit on the couch, knowing that’s just gone, for no reason, just dumb luck and gone. As I prepare for bed, the dog scratches at the couch. Just past her reach, under the couch, sits her bone, right next to the remote. In a spot we looked a million times tonight. There it is, next to her bone. It shouldn’t be there, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s found.
“Thank you,” I whisper in prayer. “Just thank you.” A gentle reminder that I’m not actually alone. There’s always God. He will carry me through, even when my husband teases me from beyond.