From left to right we have Max, Blueberry, Milkshake, Emerald, Ducky, Hoppy, and Parakeet. In case you think I am exaggerating the importance of these creatures in my daughter's life, I would like to offer a close-up of her favorite, "Milkshake":
"Milkshake" is enough of an integral part of our family that she has her own seatbelt in the car - it was made by Samantha and sits comfortably in the corner of the car window:
So perhaps this sheds a little light on today's dilemma. When picking up the kids from school I noticed a look of distress in Samantha's demeanor, but she wasn't forthcoming with her reasons why. So I braced myself and asked, knowing that these looks were usually a result of a serious infraction such as, "Drew didn't do everything I told him to on our walk over here." But it was more than that.
"Milkshake" was M.I.A.
The incident occurred while playing a game at recess with her friends where they went to the field (a.k.a. a football-sized-covered-in-two-feet-of-snow-pit-of-despair) and stood with their backs to the snow, threw their "pet shops" in the air and then went searching for them in the two feet of powder. Apparently the game was going well until Samantha's great arm got the best of her and Milkshake flew into oblivion. They searched and searched during both recesses but to no avail.
As I listened to her tale and witnessed the onset of tears, I resisted the urge to say, "That's the risk you take when you play a game like that," and even surprised myself by saying, "Well then, let's go look for it." We slowly made our way to the field over ice and snow and Samantha pointed me to the area where the festivities had taken place. We looked and looked. Samantha and Drew were digging with their hands in random spots and I searched all over. "I prayed like 19 times that I would find it but it didn't work," Samantha lamented. Oh boy. I looked harder. After about twenty minutes I glanced in a separate direction and saw a small depression in the snow that looked promising. I inched closer, then when I reached a position that allowed me to see straight down I saw those bulging eyes staring up at me and reached down to make the rescue. With a triumphant pose I held "Milkshake" in the air and beckoned for my daughter's attention.
"MOOOM!! YOU FOUND HER!!!" She ran toward me with as much lightning speed as you can while wearing boots in knee deep snow. "YOU'RE THE BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WORLD!" She grabbed me around the waist and started sobbing, and continued to sing my praises all the way home...and all afternoon...and continued up until Cory came home at which point she recounted the whole saga.
And I learned something: sometimes you have to surrender the lecture. And with any luck, you could walk away a hero.