It was a regular Monday. Like any other Monday. Dishes needed to be unloaded from the dishwasher. Children needed to be picked up from school. Groceries needed to be purchased.
There is the perfect amount of time between picking up Abby and picking up Emma to hit the grocery store. Abby is a helpful grocery companion, so I often use this time to pick up our food for the week…and by week, I really mean three days. And by three days, I really mean one day.
As I reached for my purse to get out of the car, I noticed that it felt really light. I had just cleaned it out the day before so we could take our children to a golf tournament for the day, but it felt even lighter than that. I did a quick glance inside and noticed that my wallet was not in it. Because my car is a trash pit, I started looking all around, thinking maybe it had fallen out. It was nowhere.
I called my husband trying not to panic, because we had taken his car to the golf event, so I figured it was in there. Thankfully, he answered his phone, told me he was finishing up a lunch and would call me within five minutes when he got to his car.
By this point, I was driving towards home thinking maybe I had somehow brought it inside and left it there. I was trying to stay calm and chat with Abby as if it were completely normal for Mommy not to have a way to pay for our groceries. Or a license to drive a car.
We got home, and I began to search in earnest through my car. And on my cluttered kitchen counters. And around my *very* cluttered desk. Nothing. It was not there. It was nowhere to be seen.
Right about then my husband called and said that he had looked all over his car. And it was not there.
I felt the heat rush to my face and my heart started to pound. I felt that knee-jerk response to blame. See, I don’t lose stuff. I don’t misplace my things. I don’t forget my keys or set down my glasses somewhere and then not remember them. I told him that it must have been stolen out of my purse from our garage the night before when *he* had been in and out of the house with our garage doors open. He acknowledged that this could be a possibility and immediately asked me how he could start helping me.
I started to cry. I honestly didn’t know how he could help me. At that moment I couldn’t even remember what exactly was in my wallet, other than everything I need to function in daily life. He, of course, stayed calm and understanding, because that is his role. My role is to blame and freak out, and trust me when I say, I am not proud of this trait. Somehow, though, it feels like my default setting.
And then it hit me.
We had stopped there the day before with the kids so Abby could go to the bathroom, and I could get whatever passes for a salted caramel hot chocolate these days (in case you were wondering, those are seasonal, meaning normal people don’t want one the first week of May).
I had grabbed my wallet from my purse before we went inside. I had used it to pay for all our stuff and then had taken it with me into the bathroom. I did remember that.
My husband and I hung up so I could call Starbucks. They were so nice and let me know right away that someone had turned in a wallet. My wallet. They found it in a bathroom stall and had it locked in their safe, and I could retrieve it at my leisure.
So there was no one else to blame even though that was my knee-jerk response.
I called my hubby to let him know that the wallet was found. Groceries could still be purchased. He could still enjoy the ability come in and out of our house during the evening without worrying about ninja like thieves breaking into my car. I was the idiot and the one at fault. I was the one who did the losing.
He assured me that it was not my fault. That I had been out of my routine. That it was an honest mistake and he had understood how I felt in that moment because it is scary to not be able to find your wallet. He ended the call by saying that he was so glad someone had turned in the wallet and how it was nice to know that people were still good out there and that he loved me.
People are good. My husband is kind. And perhaps it is time for me to look at resetting my default switch to one that chooses understanding over blame.