I mentioned on Facebook last week that I ruined H’s backpack as we were leaving the hotel in Sedrun. Well, here’s the whole story.
We always have the boys bring their backpacks along on trips. They are in charge of picking out what they want to bring and also in charge of carrying it and keeping track of it. This time we were supposed to have all our luggage downstairs by 9:30 with all the other luggage from our group, so I got everything packed up and I was in charge of it.
Let me say that luggage for a family of 4 taking a snow holiday is heavy. Those are some serious clothes in there, people. And I was doing this by myself. Mark was long gone to his first game of the tournament. So I had the gigantic duffel bag, E’s backpack, H’s backpack, and the second “things I’m going to need right now skiing” bag of awkwardness. Rather than make 3 trips up and down the stairs I, of course, I decided to use the elevator.
A word about this elevator. It’s like a moving closet. There is a front door, a little platform you stand on, and then a back door. There is nothing separating you from the shaft walls. Nothing. It’s horrifying. And not just because of the pink bathroom tile they are using on the walls of that elevator shaft. OSHA would never allow this. There should be a sign saying “Please keep your eyes shut and your hands inside the ride at all times.” (It’s amazing that more people from Switzerland aren’t up for Darwin Awards, but anyway….)
Against my better judgement I wedged myself, two suitcases, and two backpacks into this 1950’s bathroom tile closet and shut the door. As soon as I push the lobby button the elevator lurches downward and H’s backpack shoots up in the air. And I stand there, staring in open-mouthed horror at his black backpack wedged halfway between the ceiling and the wall of the elevator shaft with the pink tile whooshing by, making this whump! whump! whump! sound as we careen down. I kept waiting for it to whisk up into the no-man’s-land of the elevator shaft like some evil minion in a sci-fi movie getting sucked out of the airlock and into deep space.
And then I remembered that H had packed Bear into that backpack.
You all remember Bear, right? The stuffed animal that H has slept with since he was born? The boon companion that H tries to take with him wherever he goes and can’t fall asleep without? The inanimate object that I (Heaven help me) made a birthday cake for when H informed me Bear was turning 2 in October? Yeah. That Bear. And he was one whump! away from disappearing into a black hole never to be seen again.
There was no way I was leaving that elevator and telling my son that Mommy had lost Bear in an I Love Lucy pink bathroom tile elevator shaft. Because then Mommy would be finding a way to break into that horrible I Love Lucy pink bathroom tile elevator shaft or face finding a therapist that specializes in 5-year-olds. So I held my breath, reached up, and yanked that backpack back from the brink of the abyss.
It all came out, except for one strap, which had been ripped right out of the seam of the pack, leaving a gaping 4-inch hole in the main body of the backpack. I peaked inside and found that Bear was safe and well. That’s when I started hyperventilating.
When the elevator landed I stumbled out of it in the most graceful way imaginable for a woman who had just had a panic attack. And when I had to stack the bags up with the rest of the luggage, I was so paranoid about losing Bear I couldn’t leave him in the ripped backpack or even the giant duffel bag. I moved him into the bag with our ski gear and carried him around with us for the rest of the day.
H has no idea what happened. And thank goodness for that. He’d probably demand another cake for Bear. He was stunned to find that his backpack was broken, but thrilled that I went out and found him a new flashy red and black backpack.
Now E wants me to destroy his backpack. (I can do nothing right.)