If you read the strawberry picking post from Sunday, you'll see my little Paul carrying around his Yellow Car.
Yellow Car was an "un-birthday" gift from Luke's 5th birthday. My parents thoughtfully gave Paul a present, and he loved it. Yellow Car hasn't left Paul's hand for the last month, and follows him in the car, to bed, in the bath, the grocery store and library, and even traveling on the weekends.
Yesterday was 90 degrees outside; too hot to do anything. I called Mark and we agreed to meet at a local beach after he was off from work.
In central/northern Minnesota the lakes are plentiful, and with the rare exception we don't go to beaches. Many family and friends live on the lakes surrounding us and we've always enjoyed the water with them. Here, in the Great White North we don't know many people, and so, to the beach we went.
I was a sight to behold as I unloaded a car of three kids, a stroller, cooler, towels, sand shovels, beach blanket and a thermos of juice. "Wow, this is hard," I thought as I tried to keep the sun out of the baby's eyes as I slathered sunscreen on the big boys and clipped life jackets into place. Mark hadn't arrived yet, but the kids were anxious to get into the water. Each boy grabbed a bucket, shovel, and a few toys and headed to the sand.
Intent on watching the boys closely at a public beach, I took off my shoes and rummaged through my bag looking for baby's hat. No sooner had I put on baby's hat and stood up to closely supervise the sand activities did Paul start screaming.
A little boy of about four had snatched Yellow Car right from Paul's hands. I was only a few feet away, but it was already too late. The little boy threw Yellow Car as far as he could into the water. Then, he bent down and picked up another car and brought his hand back to throw when I raced and caught his hand just in time. The boy argued with me about playing with the toys, while I, as a "bully mom" (or as Sarah Palin would say, Mama Grizzly), had to explain to the boy that he wasn't allowed to throw our toys.
Rolling my shorts up with a baby in hand and screaming two year old on the beach, I braved the waters and searched for Yellow Car. Mark came a few minutes later and continued the search unsuccessfully.
We left the beach without Yellow Car. If it were any other toy it wouldn't have been a big deal. The beach toys were expendable, and we happily shared our shovels and buckets with the other children at the beach. But the loss of the Yellow Car broke my heart, because to Paul it was like a beloved blanket or stuffed animal, not just a car.
I realize that we shouldn't bring things to the beach that we can't afford losing or being damaged, but I had long since given up the battle of trying to pry Yellow Car out of Paul's hands. And for the boy, I can't really blame him. He had done numerous other irritating things during our trip to the beach, and we honestly couldn't figure out who his caretakers were. He didn't leave Mark's side when he was playing with our boys in the water, and he argued with me again as I collected our belongings to go, wanting to take them for himself. I prayed for this little one, knowing that while he might have wanted our things, his needs were much deeper.
Today we're hoping that Paul can soon attach himself to a new car, although making an emergency trip to Target isn't out of the question.