Barely five minutes into our trip to the mall and panicked tears erupted from the car seat behind me. I couldn’t see her face but I could imagine her hands pressing hard against her eyes as she tried to hold the floodgates back from releasing the waterworks welling up within.
“Pinky! I forgot her at home!”
Pinky is a dog purse with a zipper in its back that we had just named a few nights before when she decided to take it to bed with her. Now my daughter was imagining her friend home alone, which caused her to plead that we turn around. I wasn’t going to at first, but my wife agreed with Ella that since we were so close to home we should go back and get her. In the meantime, I retrieved my cell phone from my pocket and pretended to dial before handing the phone behind me.
“We’re coming to get you, Pinky” she whispered through the phone.
A few days later, this time twenty minutes from home, the same realization struck. We all tried to convince her that Pinky was fine, that she was probably eating dinner or sleeping on the couch but even after another phone call home to confirm our suspicions, Ella remained unconvinced that Pinky was not in as much distress as she was over their separation. Pax even chipped in with the suggestion maybe Pinky was playing with Roxy, our miniature dachshund.
She has since learned to be more careful. On Sunday, she stood at the back door with Pinky in her arms as we headed out for church. Knowing the rules about taking toys to church, she preempted my responses by starting with, “Can I take Pinky to church, because she’s not a toy. She’s my friend and she’s already dressed” as if I were clever enough to argue Pinky wouldn’t be ready in time. It got better though because I heard, “Ruff ruff ruff ruff RUFF! And she says she wants to come to church!” It seemed my hands were tied. Pinky came with us that morning, and Pax got to bring a train…