15 December 2017

It’s Not Here

If you are a woman, there is no doubt that in your house or even at work, you will be incredibly familiar with three little words…………….’It’s not here’. Yes, you heard me right. I didn’t say, ‘It’s no fair’ (although that is a fairly popular phrase in my house) I said, ‘It’s not here’.

You can picture the scene: You are in the house trying to get organised to do something totally unimportant like leave for work or get the kids to school. You have overcome the trauma that is called making packed lunches (and I know if you do it the night before and pop it in the fridge, it saves time in the morning but well I don’t always quite manage that!), have doublechecked everyone realises what day it is, discussed the nightmare that is called ‘Pickups from Afternoon Clubs’ and you have proceeded towards the nearest exit when someone suddenly remembers that there is no hoody in their hockey bag or library book in their schoolbag. As time is marching on and you are now in the ‘late’ zone you lose your normal cool, calm and collected demeanour and resort to your fish wife alter ego demanding that the person in question runs up the stairs (even though you spend the rest of your time instructing the same people to walk when on the stairs or they’ll fall) and grab it from the cupboard! You know what happens next don’t you? There is a banging sound as doors are opened and closed frantically and then a voice…..

’It’s not here’. This of course begs the question in return,

‘Well where is it?’

‘I don’t know. I definitely left it here’ and thus begins the hoody hunt. Standard issue questions ensue like ‘When did you have it last? Did you leave it at your nanny’s?’ Or ‘Are you sure it’s not in the washing?’ but all to no avail. Eventually, exasperated, running very late now and imparting such wise advice as, ‘I told you to pack your bag last night!’ you ascend the stairs like Attila the Hun finding said hockey hoody in about two seconds flat right under the nose of your hitherto 20/20 vision child!

The thing about ‘things not being here’, is that it’s a pattern that repeats itself. Time and time again things go missing; dial-a-mum is contacted after a little bit of random searching on the part of the child (or husband) and with the latest technology (known to the female species as eyes) the missing item is recovered.

This routine is followed by everyone in my house, and all sorts of things from clothing, to TV remotes, to braces, turn up unexpectedly a centimetre from the epicentre of the search, or under the searcher’s nose.

Most angst is caused by missing sweets. On a Saturday after visiting their granny my children pick three things each from the sweetie tin. The items are brought home, but then seem to go missing in action. There are unwritten rules about bringing sweets home: Do not, under any circumstances, leave the sweets in the kitchen; Do not expect anyone to maintain a level of self-control around your chocolate; Do not expect understanding, sympathy or loyalty from anyone who wants one of your minstrels and do not, I say, do not think that you have a hiding place that nobody knows about! If you ignore these simple rules you will be sweetless! You will return to your little stash or much longed-for bar of chocolate only to wail, ‘It’s not here!’

Anybody who knows me well knows that I have a passion for chocolate. I’m not particular about the brand – any calorific version will do. I wouldn’t call it an addiction but there are similarities – I go for chocolate when I’m feeling good – to celebrate, and I go for chocolate when I’m feeling stressed or in need of a little boost! I’ve trained my mind not to dwell on the fat content, the carbohydrates or sugar and I’ve blanked out any calculation involving points or % per 100 grams!

There are certain ‘chocolaty’ times of the year when my eyes light up, namely Christmas and Easter. Like everything else in our house, the rules regarding the eating of Easter Eggs run along a line of military precision. I’m not exactly a Sergeant Major, (although I’m sure there are similarities), but without simple rules we’d have Easter eggs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper and snacks in between. You would find chocolate in the fridge, the playroom, the dining room and most likely in everyone’s bedside cabinets! On one fateful occasion it was considered a good idea to hide the candy in the dressing up box located in the hot press!

I particularly like the smaller eggs, you know the ones filled with crème or soft caramel – they taste especially good with a large latté.

You can imagine my frustration then, when only last week, one of my creme eggs went missing. I was heard to wail, ‘It’s not here!’ I don’t mean to sound childish, but I had really been looking forward to it. I had kept it, hidden it, and planned exactly what I was going to do with it!! I fancied a big armchair, a ginormous mug of coffee and peace, sweet peace! (When I say I’d planned it; the chair and coffee were sorted – the peace was more of a ‘work in progress’).

You see we’d been out visiting and each of us had been given a crème egg. The kids of course had devoured theirs instantaneously, but I had grander plans for the annihilation of mine! I hid it in my handbag!

When we got home, three of the kids disappeared to watch a DVD; the fourth had dozed over asleep in the car and I went to enjoy the moment! The kettle was on, the milk was in the cup and then it happened, a moment of crisis – there was no egg!! I searched everywhere for it, ransacked my handbag, accused the kids – generally approached the situation like a chocolate-starved maniac!! It was all to no avail – the egg had vanished, gone without a trace! I retraced my steps, trying to visualise when and where I had last seen this precious object, but it was pointless. I checked and re-checked my bag, every tiny little compartment all the time muttering, ‘it isn’t here’.

As I stormed down the hall, child number four arrived in from the car. As he passed me I realised there was something browny-white and sticky attached to him. I shrieked as I realised it was my precious egg!

When I’d set my bag on the seat, the egg had rolled out. On his race to win the front seat for the journey home, my everobservant son had sat on the egg and incubated it very nicely. Added to this, the seat heater had been on the whole way home and my beautiful egg had been reduced to a glob of muck!! I’ll not even go into the state of the upholstery!

When Mary returned to the garden tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath she was greeted by an empty tomb. She had gone to visit the tomb, heartbroken at the fact of her Saviour having been crucified. Imagine her thoughts when she was spoken to by an angel of the Lord who said, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen just as He said.’

Mary did not go to fetch others to look for Jesus in the place where she knew His body had been placed. She did not try to locate someone else to help her ‘find’ Jesus – she left the tomb filled with joy and went to find the disciples. The experience left her a little afraid but she knew the significance of the empty tomb. The angel said, ‘He is not here’ and it is because Jesus was not there that we have cause to rejoice. We have hope. Jesus was crucified for our sins, but He conquered death, He rose victorious and for that very reason, we no longer need to be afraid of death. If we have Christ in our lives, if we have asked Him to forgive our sins, our future is certain. With that in mind, our task is the same as the disciples when they later met him at Galilee – we have to ‘go’ and ‘tell’ others.

My other children were highly amused when they realised what had become of my precious egg. They laughed their legs off – well the ‘yolk’ was on me, wasn’t it!

Ruth Rave