Last week the Princess's coat was stolen, along with her hat, scarf and mittens.
If that weren't bad enough, I allowed the thief to steal my Christmas spirit along with it.
She was at Kingswood for a birthday party. It's a popular destination in the Fredericton area, as it has play structures, a bowling alley, skating rink, AND gymnastics. It's a wonderful place to have a party, and Sweetpea has taken gymnastics there for a couple of terms and loved it. We always enjoy ourselves at Kingswood, so I was happy to drop her off with her friends and a couple of parents. The birthday girl's mom helped her check her coat and get bowling shoes and they were ready for fun.
When Hubby went back to get her, there was no coat. They looked everywhere. The Mom felt terrible. Kingswood employees felt terrible but felt sure there had to be a mix up of some sort. Finally, Hubby left our number and a description of the coat at the front desk, wrapped our Princess in HIS coat to brave the -15 temps (Celsius) and carried her to the car. It was a terrible end to a fun party.
Late that night we did get a call. They had cleaned and found a coat!
It wasn't hers.
The coat found was a size smaller and well-worn. It in no way resembled ours, except that both were blue; one aqua and one navy. The employee who called felt sure that there must have been a mistake, that someone must have grabbed the wrong coat by mistake and would return it once they realized what had happened.
Which is where my bad case of the grumps began. I had been willing to go along with "misplaced" up until this point, but now it was obvious to me that it was time to start using "stolen". I've known a lot of kids in my time, and not one of them would blithely accept something new without a drawn out discussion. You just can't grab the wrong coat and not have its owner raise a fuss. Maybe the kid was asleep, but they still need a coat in those temps, and they're going to wake up when you put it on them. And then they're going to raise a fuss.
I held out a small amount of hope for a couple of days that someone other than the parent had grabbed the coat and that the coats would be sorted out, but nothing happened. Myself and the mom called almost every day, but there was no new coat.
And I was in a foul mood. How could you steal a coat? A child's coat? At Christmas time? We had just bought that coat a couple of weeks earlier! (At Value Village. For $8. If you can go to Kingswood, you can affort $8 for a coat!) Maybe you're reaaaaaaaaally poor. Maybe you can't afford a coat. Guess what? There are a TON of charities in the area JUST FOR YOU! The fire department just finished it's annual "Coats for Kids" drive in fact, and you should be able to get something without resorting to theft. Is your pride more important than your integrity?
I started complaining in my head about Kingswood, about creepy people who steal things, about parties and winter and anything else I could think of. It wasn't pretty.
I was pretty grumbly for most of the week. I had to actively work to get on with our season. Fortunately, it was an incredibly busy week. We had our Ward Christmas party. We had our Cantata. We had our Christmas concert, parties, baking, and lots of fun. Slowly, bit by bit, I've been able to get happy about Christmas again.
On Thursday I gave in to reality and we bought a new coat. I felt myself getting worked up all over again. We did not have the money to be buying ANOTHER new coat so soon after the last one (and this time I couldn't find one in any of the second hand stores and had to buy an ACTUAL new coat). I had to talk myself down and remind myself to let it go. It's out of my hands. It happened, time to move on.
So we are. Slowly but surely. But it still eats at me a bit, so I'm blogging it. Because apparently that's how I REALLY get things out of my system. Once they're blogged, they're over. So thanks for indulging me.
And may I just say that one of the greatest things that has restored my Christmas spirit has been witnessing so many kind and heroic acts in my community. We've had some bad weather, a lot of people going in the ditch in many ways, and they're immediately pulled out. People reaching out to people, often strangers. Not because it's Christmas. Not because anyone is watching. Because they are good people. And they make the world better.
So if you're one of the good people, thank you. Thank you for carrying on day after day and setting the example. Thanks for reminding me after a bad incident that we need to hold our heads up and just keep doing what's right.
Thank you for being Christmas and reminding me what it's all about.