A missing wagon is not the end of the world but it is enough to break a child's heart (and mine)

Friday, April 29, 2016

I have been trying to be optimistic lately, to be one of those people who sees the world as a generally good place. You know, a ‘glass half full’ kind of person. Then, today, I had to explain to my 3 year old that someone stole her wagon because, sometimes, people take things that don’t belong to them.

The Easter Bunny gifted the kids with a wagon, the wagon to end all wagons. Don’t worry, I hear he got a decent deal on it. They were so excited Easter morning that there were multiple rides down the hallway with both kids strapped in and all the toys that could be stuffed in (and then some more, for good measure).

Our countdown until Spring was a little different this year because it was centered around that wagon. “When the snow is gone, we can ride in the wagon, right mom?” “yes hunny”.

That brand new wagon sat in the garage building a thin layer of dust and waiting for its time to shine.
The snow finally melted and the weather warmed enough where full snow suits were no longer required.

That first beautiful weekend the wagon started accumulating miles as soon as possible, much to the delight of both of our children. I missed it because I was away but I marveled at the pictures sent by my husband because who knew a 9 month old could enjoy a wagon ride so much?

I returned home from my trip and it was my turn to wait for warmer weather to get them out in the wagon.

First, was a trip to the park during a playdate. Only this time Oliver got the boot because Annabelle insisted and she and her 3 year old pal HAD to ride in the wagon. There was no negotiating. The babies got the double stroller and the ‘big kids’ rode in the wagon. The ‘big kids’ who always want to walk ‘by themselves’ happily rode in the wagon. No walking required (the moms were grateful to say the least).

Then it was a long walk with mom and grandma. It wasn’t as warm as we would have liked but the kids were just happy to be out (plus they had drinks and snacks so why wouldn’t they be happy?). As we strolled the neighborhood a few people commented “what a nice wagon” and Annabelle proudly claimed ownership. The kids were happy, I was happy. In my mind I was already planning all the walks and outings to come while we enjoyed my last few months of maternity leave before my return to work.

We arrived home and in a rush to get Oliver down for his nap (and not wanting to open the garage door while he slept) I left the wagon against the garage. The last time we’d see it.

I didn’t realize right away. In fact, we took the wagon out Wednesday and I didn’t realize until Friday afternoon. On Friday, both kids were on good behavior, likely because I promised to take them to the park in the wagon. We hurried through lunch and Annabelle was so excited she gobbled her food and got herself dress (shoes on the wrong feet and everything).

I went into the garage and didn’t see the wagon. My first thought was “shoot, I left it outside” but didn’t think too much of that. I mean, I’ve left the stroller out before. Then I went outside and it wasn’t there. Must have missed it in the garage. Nope. Not in the garage for sure. The wagon was gone. Someone had taken our wagon.

I assumed my husband arrived home and put the wagon in the garage but the wagon was gone before he got home. On Wednesday afternoon someone walked up our driveway, in between two vehicles, and took MY kids’ wagon while we played inside, oblivious.

When I realized what happened I had to tell her because she was ready to go and I had promised a wagon ride. I had to come in the house and explain to my 3 year old daughter that sometimes people take things that don’t belong to them. What shattered me the most was the immediacy with which she understood. She knew it was gone and that we didn’t have a wagon anymore. She understood, mostly because of Swiper the fox (thank you, Dora the Explorer) that someone has ‘swiped’ the wagon. Unfortunately, she also thought that it was, in fact, Swiper, that had taken the wagon and that she could negotiate it’s return in exchange for the gummies I had given her (yes, I gave her candy, she was heartbroken). She was less than impressed when I explained it wasn’t Swiper, but like Swiper, someone had taken the wagon, only they very likely would not be returning it.

don't worry, this was post-huge-meltdown and she got lots of cuddles (and popsicles, which apparently cure-all, or most anyways)

No, I didn’t tell her it was “lost” because it wasn’t “lost”. I didn’t haphazardly let go of the handle while I wandered around only realizing after it was too late. I left the wagon in OUR yard while I tended to my kids, mistakenly thinking it would be safe for a few hours. 

My daughter, my sweet, newly turned 3 year old, had her heart broken today because there are people in the world who simply do not care about other people.

Nevermind my feelings of being violated. The sense of injustice that I can’t leave my own property in my own yard but my God, someone took that wagon knowing, knowing that there were children, or at least one child, that would miss it, that would be devastated that it was gone. Someone took the wagon knowing it would hurt a child.

What happened to the days of kids carelessly throwing their bicycles on the front lawn as they ran off to do something, anything, else? When we come home from our walks do I have time to rush inside, throw the kids on the floor, hope they’re safe while I hustle out to put away our stroller/bikes/wagon before someone comes and claims them for their own?  How long do I have before it’s fair game for someone?

A missing wagon is not the end of the world but it changes my perception of the world just enough. Just enough to make me more “glass half empty” because it reminds me of the people that are out there, the people to be weary of, the people who care not who they hurt or who is impacted by their actions.

At the end of the day, we’re fortunate that we’re doing okay, that we owned a wagon in the first place and that we can own another; however, that doesn’t make it okay or permissible for someone to take what is ours, what is my children’s.  

There are all kinds of horrible things happening all over the world and this if this is the worst my child has to experience than I would say we are doing pretty well, but that doesn’t make it right, it certainly doesn’t make my child less heart-broken and it definitely doesn’t make me less angry.