Has this ever happened to you?  It is about to make me lose my religion!  Why is it (other than the obvious reason) that we get so upset when this happens?  I think it’s about more than ‘keys’…it’s about…“I can’t drive my car”“I can’t go where I want to go”“I will have to stay in my house forever”“If I get locked out, I’ll have to live on the patio for the rest of my life.”  All these things and more.  Which, when you continue boiling it down, adds up to a loss of independence.  And, I am independent, if I am anything at all. And, it’s also because I have had the same key chain since I was in high school.  I found this large brass clothespin long,long ago.  And, I bought 2 of them.  I gave Joy one and I kept one.  It is basically the only thing we have ever used.  She, being a pianist, she doesn’t like to play with her rings on.  So, she always hooks her rings on the clothespin to keep them safe.  I, working with children and art and craft projects, have had a safe place to keep my rings.  And, when I was working in nursing, I could keep my jewelry pinned and safe also.  And, it’s perfect to clip your keys onto those little rings they now have in most purses, or onto the straps.  Well, perhaps that’s reading more into the ‘key’ situation than necessary, so, I’ll go on with my story.

My housekeeper was here and Don was here and Levi was here…and me.   Levi was here for the day and we were all having breakfast.  My housekeeper was ironing in the laundry room and she called me.  I went to see what she needed.  My iron had chosen that moment to die.  And, it died a quick and immediate death.  No hanging on long enough to iron my favorite linen shirt or Don’s work pants…nope.  It was over in a second.  So, since Don was still here, I decided to run up to our local T*rget store and get a new one and get right back. ( Well…I wan’t going to ‘run’…I was going to drive! ) Put on some lipstick, put on some shoes, pick up my phone and purse, pick up my keys…NOooooooooooo!  Where are my keys?  Who moved my keys?

Now, friends, when I say I went into search mode…it’s a true story.  My houskeeper helped me, while Don entertained Levi.  At first we blamed Levi.  We looked IN every toy, UNDER every toy, everything that had a place for a set of keys to be…we checked! Every toy was touched and looked at.  I actually asked Levi so many times, “What did you do with my keys?”  He actually began echoing me “Keys?  Keys?”.  Then we checked everywhere he usually runs to when he knows he not suppossed to.  No keys.

Of course, Don had a word of wisdom,  “Tonja, you cannot keep up with anything.  I’m going to get you one of those beepers that helps you when you lose your keys!”  So he, obviously, was going to be of zero help in this crisis.  Anyway…I did not lose my keys.  See I always put them on the round foyer table when I come in.  It is a habit I made myself get into because…I tend to lose things.  But not my keys!

Next we thought Levi may have thrown them into the garbage can.  He likes to do that.  I have found one of his shoes, a hard backed book, a sippy cup,  unopened cans of food, a few clean diapers…all in the garbage at one time or another.  So, Otelida, my housekeeper, went through the garbage.  Which had already been collected for tomorrow’s pickup.  And was already at the street.  In the big can that holds a weeks worth of garbage.  Bless her heart, she went through every piece.  Twice.  No keys.

Into the closet.  Check the pockets of every pair of pants I’ve worn lately.  Looked all over the floor.  No keys.

So, I decided to sit down and pray.  And think.  Do you have to just sit quietly, sometimes, and let your thoughts have room to run from here to there and back again in hopes of running up on the information you are looking for?  Well, I do. So, I did.  And I prayed.  I prayed for the keys to turn up.  I prayed for us to run across the keys while we were searching.  I prayed Levi would bring them to me.  I prayed they would magically appear in my purse…when I looked in there…for the fourteenth time.   None of those things happened.  But, I did think about the people who had been in the house since I last drove.  The only others…Adam and Suzanne.

So, I texted them both.  Adam texted back “Nope, don’t see them anywhere.”  I texted Suzanne, “Do you, by any chance, have my keys?”  Almost immediately she texted back “No.”  Otelida said, “She didn’t even look…that was too quick!”   But, I knew Suze would look if I asked her to, especially since I never asked her that before and she knew it must be important or I would never have bothered her at work.  So, that was another dead end.

I didn’t have anybody else to ask.  We had looked over and under and around everything in the house.  So, I took my extra key and went on to T*rget and bought an iron and another hundred dollars worth of junk I didn’t need (except the eggs).  I was so bummed about my keys and it is not safe for me to go shopping when I’m bummed about anything.

Levi is in the midst of swimming lessons (post coming about that…amazing)…and they are giving a class for 6 at our pool.  Usually Levi and I go out and sit on the screened porch when the lessons start about 3:00.  He likes to watch the other children while they swim and he can’t reach the door handle to get out of the porch, so I can relax, too.  We wait there for Suzanne to come from school and then she has about 20 minutes to rest and visit and then they get ready for Levi’s lesson at 4:10.

She asked me about my keys…did I ever find them.  I told her I didn’t.  She then said, “Why would you think I had them?”  “I didn’t really think you did, but I was just asking in case you had picked them up by mistake,” I said.  “Well, yeah, I didn’t even bother looking…I knew I didn’t have them, “ she replied.  I laughed and said, “Otelida said you didn’t even bother to look.”   Then she offered, “Well, you sit out here with Levi and I’ll go in and look around and see if I see them.  Maybe a different set of eyes can spot them,” she said.

And she went in the house.

Less than 30 seconds later, I felt her presence next to me at the French door.  I turned to look.

There she stood, with a guilty, impish grin.  She was swinging my keys in her hand!

I jumped up and opened the door and she came outside and said, “I’m not even going to tell you where I found them.  You just really don’t even want to know.”  First,  I thought for sure I had them in some obvious place and that Otelida and I and Don and Levi had all overlooked them.  Then I was afraid that perhaps I had put them in the freezer or something and this was going to be the first clue that I was, in fact, getting senile.  Which my boys accuse me of quite often.  I just knew I was going to feel so dumb if she told me.  But, the mystery got the better of me.  “You have to tell me.  I can’t stand it”, I begged.  Then she said……

“They were in my purse.  I thought I’d just humor you and look there first.  I must have picked them up by mistake and thought they were mine ’cause they were right where I keep my keys.”

I really didn’t hear much after she said, “They were in my purse.”  I thought of how I had searched all morning and all afternoon.  I thought of how my mind was coming unglued because I was so afraid I had put them in a crazy place.  I thought of how my very soul was at unrest.  I took my phone and looked at it and told Suze  “I sent you that text at 11:55…it is now 4:00.”  She hung her head…in shame.  She was guilty…and she knew it.  It is only because I am the kind and gracious, loving mother-in-law that I am, that I didn’t heap more guilt on her.  “Please forgive me,” she said.  And, I did.  Because the only thing that really mattered in the situation was that I was not senile I had my keys back.

Oh, and another good thing that came out of the whole situation…Levi can now say “KEY?”!