The Search


Children lose things. A lot.

Since our children first learnt to talk, an evening hasn’t gone by where we haven’t found ourselves tearing the house apart in search of a lost toy. The toy is almost always the most obscure, under-played with one you can imagine and the search almost always coincides with that (would-be) blissful time of the day where we can finally collapse with a glass of wine on the sofa.

The lost items seem to be getting smaller and smaller as time goes by. Just this last week I have found myself searching for the following: a missing Elsa figure (the tiny one measuring 1.2 cm), the hair from a female LEGO figure, the missing half of a Playmobil fairy dress, Princess Jasmine’s other shoe and that pink thing, you know, the thing that goes on the thing and does that thing…

I’m sure my patience for such games would stretch much further were it not for the ridiculous time of day or, indeed, the ridiculous amount of energy required to sift through pile upon pile upon pile upon pile of stuff. I dream that one day I will be able to distract the kids with an alternative toy, one that is within easy sight and easy reach and that gives us all an easy evening. Alas, for now the fallout from failing to find the correct toy / piece of toy is beyond catastrophic.

You may wonder how all of this relates to MS. Quite simply the answer is: Stress. It is stressful. And we all know that the relationship between stress and MS can be pretty rocky. The resulting exacerbation of symptoms along with the physical demands and the numb fingers (particularly where LEGO is concerned) make The Search all the more testing.

Last Tuesday the stress of The Search was taken to a whole new level when my son decided that he absolutely, completely, totally and utterly couldn’t leave the house without his gloves – the ones that we bought last year and put away somewhere safe for the summer. Unlike our usual evening search routine, this one coincided with the morning school run and my son’s request (demand) that we commence The Search was made precisely 2 minutes after we should have left the house. My first attempt to convince him that it was too warm for gloves failed abysmally, so I agreed to undertake a quick search. I began scattering all the shoes and pulling out all the boxes of DVDs from under my bed, which is where (I thought) we kept the bags containing winter coats, hats, scarves etc After a fruitless demolition of my previously tidy bedroom and all the contents therein, I slumped onto the floor and desperately tried to visualise where the flippin’ gloves were whilst listening to the despairing cries of my child. It is during these most testing of times that I wonder how this has become my life. Since when did the search for missing gloves become as important as the search for the elixir of life? It would seem that the key to my survival lay entirely in the unearthing of the missing gloves.

With my energy well and truly depleted before the school run had even begun, I summoned all the strength I could to break the news that I could not find the gloves. I would, of course, keep looking while he was at school and if all else failed I would buy some sparkly new ones. That seemed to do the trick and we finally left the house, my son wiping his tears away with his gloveless hands.

I had neither the energy nor the inclination to tidy up the mess I’d created, or even to continue the search for the lost gloves. Instead, I sat down to recharge my failing batteries.

That evening I had totally forgotten about Glove-Gate, and so had my son. That is until I was rummaging around in the bottom of the cupboard under the stairs trying to find a nappy (searching for things has become my life!). I suddenly caught sight of something pink and woolly – a glove! Ok, so not the glove I was searching for, but a glove all the same. This must mean that the others are nearby! Like an excited palaeontologist during the discovery of a rare fossil, I dropped everything and began digging. Please please please let there be more gloves in here! Aha! I’d done it! I’d not only found the missing gloves but also those of my daughter’s, which I knew would be in demand once she’d clocked her brother wearing his.

I went to bed that night in a state of relieved exhaustion. My body was a-buzz with pins and needles and a restless pain shot up and down my legs. Thank goodness we wouldn’t have a repeat of all that drama the next morning!

The next morning…

“Mummy! I can’t find my other glove!” The words were spoken by my daughter and they sent chills down my spine. “What do you mean you can’t find it? You had it right there last night!”

As it turns out, my youngest son had got hold of the gloves and managed to lose one. Did he lose it last night or this morning? Did he lose it upstairs or down? No-one knew. I spent the morning retracing my toddlers steps, searching inside every bin, every cupboard, under every cushion. In fact, I had turned the entire living room upside down and still no flippin’ glove.

Running late as usual I managed to boot my smug, glove-wearing son into the car followed by my tearful daughter, who sat forlornly, as her brother had done just 24 hours earlier, wiping her tears away with her little gloveless hands.

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