I want to tell a little story. I have no pictures, for two reasons. 1) I would actually like to pretend this never happened; and 2) I didn't think anything would happen when I left the house that fateful Monday afternoon.
It went like this. Monday morning I woke up and, as usual, roused Olivia from her slumber so deep, helped her shrug into her clothes and sling on her backpack, and sent her out the door. John, on one oh-so-lucky day, was not expected at clinic until 9:30 (can you believe it?), so he ate breakfast with the rest of us and watched as I headed out the door to my preschool carpooling duties. When I frantically returned inside five minutes later, he asked if I was already back, and I responded (frazzledly) that I hadn't yet left. My keys were lost. (Note: They were left at church, actually. If I don't take my bag into the building, I can not reasonably be expected to leave with my keys. Dresses need more pockets.) He kindly and patiently gave me the van key from his key ring and told me to be careful, since it was nearly our last copy. We have one set of spares in the file box for emergencies.
I took the girls to preschool without incident. I ran several errands, again without incident. I was so very, very careful with that little unattached key. I placed it carefully and thoughtfully in my pocket after each use. I was determined, with all my deserved reputation as a key loser, to keep this key intact until I could return it to John.
At 4:30, as usual, we headed to ballet class. At 5:15, as usual, we left ballet class to go to our van. I felt the little key in my pocket as I said my goodbyes to our ballet class friends, and started buckling everyone into the van. Then I went to start the van, and the key was gone. When I have my full, very large key-chained-and-carabinered set of keys with me, I simply toss the keys onto the driver's seat after unlocking the van, so I figured I must have done the same with the single key. I had not. We took everything out of the van, removed all of the junk. No key. Went back into the building and scoured the waiting room. No key. Removed all the carseats. No key. Removed the captain's chairs and bench. No key, and we've been there for an hour.
A friend walks by, so I borrow her cell phone to call John. He had just arrived at a recruiting dinner, and as I start to tell my story, my calm voice dissolves into tears. I was embarrassed and apologetic. He drove home (10 minutes) and drove to us (10 minutes) with the spare set. I assured him I would immediately go to the store and have 5 extra keys made.
The first store I checked wasn't open. I ran into the second store, leaving my children in the locked van while I went to check if they made keys. They didn't, and when I ran back to the van, I saw a key in the lock of my van. A shock went through my heart, and the first thing I thought was "Someone has unlocked my van to take my kids." Then I realized, IT WAS MY KEY. I had put it in the lock, but when the van was already unlocked, I had forgotten I had ever done that.
Please tell me that some of you do dumb things too.