I want to hide all of my eleven year old’s shoes. Every last pair.
I went out of town a few weekends ago, but as I drove away from my house on the way to the airport wearing my very favorite outfit I thought to myself (because who else would I think to?), “Really, Brittany? Is this what it’s come to? You can’t even put on real clothes to leave the state?”
To which I meekly replied, “I changed sweatshirts.”
But I couldn’t fool Myself. “That sweatshirt came with pajamas,” she kindly pointed out. “So technically it is sleepwear. Which means you are about to cross the line to become one of those I-couldn’t-bother-to-get-dressed-today-so-I’m-wearing-my-p.j.’s-in-public people. You need to step back, girlfriend.”
And so I did. I turned the car around, went home, changed clothes, and left my flip flops–my favorite pair–at the bottom of the stairs.
I returned home three days later as excited to be reunited with my flip flops as I was to see my family again. And more excited to see them than I was to see the dog. I’d been going through some serious flip flop withdrawal (I’m sure Mitt can relate, except with a different kind of flip flop).* My pedi needed some air time and my soles longed for the feel of soft rubber beneath them. I’d missed their comforting whispers of thwak thwak when I slipped them on to walk across my dirty kitchen floor. They’re more than a pair of sandals. They’re a trusted friend and protector, always there for me in times of need.
Except now they were missing.
I searched for them, thinking maybe I was misremembering where I put them or perhaps dear husband had put them away somewhere for me.
“Has anyone seen my flip flops?” I asked.
“Not me,” came the all too familiar reply from three little girls.
“Girl 1, did you wear my flip flops? The ones I asked you not to wear.”
A very definitive answer, so surely it must be believed.
But as day passed into night with still no sign of my favored flip flops, I began to worry. Morning came and I asked again. “Girl 1, are you sure you haven’t seen my flip flops?”
“Which ones,” was her innocent reply.
“The black ones with the little jewel,” I said, hoping my description would jog her memory.
She thought carefully, but her confused look left me little hope of recollection.
“The ones I told you not to wear ever again. Three times.”
Now she remembered. “No, I haven’t seen them.”
Her answer seemed a little cagey, but I let it go. Even if she had worn them–and I was pretty sure she had–I had little doubt I could find them in one of the usual hiding spots.
But as one flip flopless day faded into the next, I lost my cool.
“Girl 1, do you know where my flip flops are?” I asked with significantly less patience than I had asked the previous one hundred times.
“I don’t know! Okay?!” she yelled.
Which meant I know I should know where they are but I can’t remember and I know you’re going to be really mad at me so I’m going to go ahead and get mad at you first.
“Did you wear them?” I asked while debating whether to start with consequences or go straight to water boarding.
“I don’t remember, okay!” she yelled.
No, not okay.
“Can’t you just wear a different pair?” she asked, I’m sure, with every intention of being helpful. “Why do you have to have those flip flops? It’s not like you don’t have others!”
Well, she asked. So, of course, I had to tell her. “BECAUSE I LIKE THAT PAIR. AND I TOLD YOU NOT TO WEAR THEM. BUT YOU DID. AND NOW THEY ARE LOST. AND YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY PRIVILEGES AT ALL UNTIL THEY ARE FOUND. NONE! GOT IT?”
Maybe I could have told her a little less loudly, but I can’t be held accountable for my actions when I’m in the midst of flip flop withdrawal.
“I think they’re at BFF’s, okay!” she responded in kind before grabbing her backpack and stomping to the door while muttering, “You are so unfair. Why do you care so much about a pair of stupid flip flops anyway?”
The door slammed shut and she stomped her way to school, but I could still see her eyes rolling.
And that’s when I seriously considered ransacking the entire house until I had found every pair of her shoes so that I could hide them. Maybe at my BFF’s house.
But I didn’t. Because then she’d just wear my shoes and we’d be right back where we started. So instead I rolled my eyes and muttered, “When is eleven going to be over?”
Then I longed for the days that I thought would never end when I couldn’t get her to wear matching clothes, let alone shoes.
*Seriously, it’s a post about flip flops. You had to know there’d be a Romney jab somewhere, right?