Monday, March 10, 2014

I never wanted to write this post.

Panda, you are gone. You are missing in action. You are AWOL.

It has been eight days.

It has been one hundred and ninety-two hours.

But who's counting?

I'm not exaggerating the least bit when I tell you that I can barely look at these images that Nikki captured this fall without getting incredibly emotional.


Panda has been with us in every single photo shoot since Ella's arrival into our lives. He's been included in every Christmas card photo.

He has brought her comfort and joy that is beyond all explanation.

And somewhere around 11:00 on Sunday morning, March 2, she put him (or I put him) somewhere in OUR HOUSE, and we have yet to locate that place.
We went through dirty laundry, piece by piece, twice.
I did this in the black of night...

No luck. You can come up with the idea and we have checked it. Losing Panda is not new to us. I mean, who could forget this?

But neither Ella nor Panda left the house on Sunday, which has narrowed our search (thankfully). And our house is NOT that big. Ella's memory of where she last left him is usually razor sharp. Not this time. And it has been all that more frustrating for her.

And sad. Did I mention sad? The heart-wrenching screams and sobs from her were just miserable the first full day and night. She needed him. She spent two nights in bed with one of us - the first night with Larry who would not leave her side, and then the next with me. We could get her to rest peacefully this way. It worked.

We introduced Panda's back-up brothers. She scoffed.

And then she asked to take one of them to school with her.

She put on her big-girl pants, puffy eyes and all, and went off to school. The following school day, she put three of the back-up brothers in her backpack. One is clearly the favored one at this point but the other two seem to give comfort as well.

The incessant, "Mom, I want Baby!!" has stopped. And believe me, she was saying it every 3-4 minutes the first several days. I've never felt so sick over her sadness before. I ought to be awesome when someone breaks her heart...

Just this morning over breakfast she said, "When it is my birthday in May and I get to blow out candles, my wish will be to have my Panda back safe and sound." I told her that was the best wish ever.

She has been unbelievably brave. I'm still 100 kinds of sad. I miss Panda's dirty little self. In the meantime, I keep turning everything upside down while she isn't watching knowing full well that the guy is going to turn up when we least expect it. And when he does, I will commit to my lifelong memory the look on her face when she's face to face with him again.



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